May 17, 2018, 4:28 pm
The 2017-2018 Mavericks’ season was one to forget for fans and fantasy players. A roster loaded with low-upside veterans and injury-prone players resulted in the Mavs’ lowest win total since Dirk was a rookie in 1998. After finishing the season tied for the third-worst record the Mavericks will look to retool on the fly and stock up on young talent to stay competitive as Dirk finishes out the twilight of his career.
The Mavericks came into 2018 returning the majority of their contributors from the previous season where they won 33 games. Looking at the preseason predictions most pundits saw the Mavs slightly regressing while team beat writers highlighted that the Mavs had the possibility to improve thanks to a few factors. Unfortunately, while Dirk played in 77 games after only logging 54 games the year prior the Mavs had other injuries. Unrestricted free agents Seth Curry and Nerlens Noel, who were expected to compete all year for new contracts, never got the chance.
Curry, last year’s leader in win shares for the Mav,s never made it on the court and Nerlens Noel never converted on the opportunity to become a full-time starter. Now heading into the lottery with the 5th pick and 31.8 million in cap space the Mavericks will look to retool on the fly.
The Mavs were expected to compete at about the same level as their 33-win season while developing their young talent. Fortunately, we had a chance to see Dennis Smith Jr. (9th overall) log 69 games while flashing some upside as the floor general the Mavs need. The season started with losses to the Hawks and Kings, an omen in its own right, before facing the Rockets and Warriors. The Mavs finally secured their first win of the season in game No. 5 before embarking on a six-game losing streak. Considering Mark Cuban was fined $600,000 earlier this year for telling his players that “losing is the best option” it’s not surprising. The losses racked up, as did the injuries (and phantom injuries down the stretch) and the Mavs ended up with another high pick. There weren’t tons of ebbs and flows to the season as everyone knew what the deal was in Dallas this year.
Rick Carlisle is one of the NBA’s most consistent coaches and about as close to being an institution as possible given his close bond with his players, the front office and owner Mark Cuban. Don’t expect Carlisle to go anywhere any time soon as he’s repeatedly voted one of the best at in-game adjustments by NBA GMs and might be on track to become the next Pop. While the win total this year was weak by fans’ standards the organization did not want to win this season, and that’s exactly the game plan implemented by Carlisle.
Taking a look at the Mavs’ pace standing, its easy to see that they’re outliers amongst their peers. Among the eight slowest teams in the league, the Mavs were the weakest at rebounding while having the best assist to turnover ratio. Noticeably all eight of these teams have a solid size in their frontcourt to account for a plodding approach, that is except for the Mavs. It’s likely that the Mavs made an organizational decision over the last two years to play half-court basketball while focusing on offensive execution to ensure that they continue to develop their players while ensuring a low win total.
The Mavs have made it clear that next year they will be putting all of their chips in to make a push towards the playoffs. With a year of trust built with rookie Dennis Smith Jr. look for Carlisle to return to a faster paced offense that’s been a hallmark of successful Mavs teams. It’s likely that Carlisle will have a shopping list that includes another shooter to spread the floor as well as a frontcourt weapon that can focus on boards, blocks and alley-oops. Dirk’s ability to spread the floor will also play a key in the Mavs success as he’s going to be a top option in the midrange while stretching the floor beyond the three-point line. Lastly, expect the Mavs to really lock in on defense. Injuries led to changing rotations and relying so heavily on a rookie at a key position didn’t help either, but Dallas should expect some small gains on that end next season with a little more continuity. The previous two years the Mavs allowed their opponents to shoot 46.8 and 46.9 percent respectively. Given defense often comes down to effort expect this to fall closer to 45 percent (middle of the pack) where the Mavs have traditionally held opponents.
The Mavs have had roster continuity over the last couple years that allowed guys like Barnes, Matthews, Powell, and Dirk to get used to playing together — in the system and with one another. This season they welcomed newcomers in 9th overall pick Dennis Smith Jr., 26-year-old German rookie Maxi Kleber and sharpshooter Doug McDermott while saying goodbye to rotational contributors in Devin Harris and Justin Anderson.
ADP: 63/61 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 71/69 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 97/89 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 77
Harrison Barnes completed his second season in a Mavericks uniform with a similar output to his first, finishing with 77 games played at 34.2 MPG, 18.8 PTS, 1.5 3PM, 6.0 REB, 1.9 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.444 FG% AND 0.827 FT%. As with his previous campaigns Barnes should be viewed as a points specialist with very light auxiliary statistics, mostly focused on boards and triples. Considering his height you’d expect a bit more defensive production but Barnes has short arms despite his tall stature.
While Barnes was the top fantasy producer for the Mavericks it’s not saying a lot considering he fell outside of the top-80 in per-game value in 8/9-cat. Throughout the season multiple bench players had more productive stretches than the Mavs’ top free agent signing from two years back. Barnes is only 25 years old and could continue to improve but it’s far from a guarantee. Look out for any reports on him working on his point-forward skills but ultimately we aren’t expecting much more out of Barnes and it’d be best for the team if he was a second or third option on offense.
ADP: 112/93 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 76/53 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 107/75 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 77
The ageless German was the Mavericks’ second-most productive fantasy option despite playing in his 19th season. Since the year wrapped up we’ve learned that Dirk might be interested in playing more than one more season and that he was significantly slowed down this year due to an injured left ankle despite playing in 77 games. Had the Mavs been competitive this season we could have seen Dirk play 81 games as he sat out the last four games of the season due to an ankle that had bee bothering him the whole year. Fast forward a month and a half after his surgery and Dirk is now out of his walking boot and looks on pace to return for training camp next season.
Considering Dirk produced 24.6 MPG, 12.0 PTS, 1.7 3PM, 5.6 REB, 1.5 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.5 BLK, 0.456 FG% AND 0.898 FT% on a bum wheel, his stat line actually looks impressive. “(The injured ankle) was blocking me from doing certain movements, especially the side-to-side stuff,” Nowitzki said. “Front-to-back, it was OK. Pushing off, that was just a problem there really all season.”
Consider Dirk a possible buy-low candidate if indeed he feels more limber in his 20th season in the league. Based on early reports he’s hoping to be back on the court getting in game shape by August.
ADP: 119/126 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 135/127 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 105/94 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 63
Matthews recently opted into the final year of his contract to be paid a shade over $18 million in 2018-19. The 31-year-old wing has struggled with his shot since dealing with an Achilles injury during his final season in Portland. In the three seasons he’s played with the Mavs Matthews has averaged under 40 percent from the field overall with last season as the only year he eclipsed the mark. One thing that Matthews has had is playing time, with Coach Carlisle giving Wes as many minutes as he can handle on most nights as the Mavs’ premier perimeter defender.
Despite the shooting woes Matthews had been relatively healthy prior to this season, logging an average of 75 games a season as a Maverick. This season his year ended prematurely with a right fibula stress fracture. Matthews, ever the tough-guy, has been cleared for regular basketball activities as of late April. Expect him to come into training camp ready to go as this will likely be his last chance to secure a lucrative long-term contract. Even with the shooting troubles and the injuries, 3-and-D guys are rolling in cash these days.
While clocking in right at about top-100 value on a per-game basis, the real downside of Matthews last season is that he missed 19 games. Only three of these games were before he was shut down indefinitely so he was still an effective option for owners up to that point. At 33.8 MPG, 12.7 PTS, 2.4 3PM, 3.1 REB, 2.7 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.406 FG% AND 0.821 FT%, Wes is a great option for a team punting their field goal percentages. If he’s able to get fully healthy and get his legs under him there could be a bit of upside for Matthews, especially as the Mavericks will be adding some talent around him through free agency and the draft.
Dennis Smith Jr.
ADP: 85/83 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 148/211 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 147/232 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 69
The rookie had a solid but unassuming first season as he started learning his duties as a lead guard in the NBA. Smith ended up averaging 29.6 MPG, 15.1 PTS, 1.5 3PM, 3.7 REB, 5.1 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.2 BLK, 0.394 FG% and 0.694 FT% in his first season and should be in line to see a 3-5 percent increase in his percentages in his second year thanks to a better understanding of how to play in the league. Over his last nine games of the season he was able to increase his threes made to almost a pair a game while shooting over 44 percent from the field.
Smith should also be in line for more assists thanks to a more talented roster. Over the previously mentioned nine-game stretch he averaged over seven helpers a game and has proven that he knows where to find his guys. If the Mavs acquire a rim-running big expect DSJ to take full advantage. Unfortunately for 9-cat owners DSJ never seemed to get his turnovers under control in his first year, which could have more to do with the lack of motivation by the Mavericks to win games as they tanked. Out of all of his statistics, it will be most crucial to the Mavs’ success that Smith starts to value each possession while taking better care of the ball.
DSJ did struggle to stay on the court at times, missing 13 games in his rookie season. His season started with his left knee causing him to miss the second and third game. In mid-December, he had a hip injury account for six missed games and late in the season he suffered a left ankle sprain that resulted in two missed games. Overall Smith was fairly healthy and some of the rest he received might be attributed to tanking or extra precautions for a prized rookie. That said keep an eye on his left ankle and left knee as he’ll need to strengthen both areas after some pre-NBA issues.
Despite the areas for improvement, DSJ had a few highs during his rookie season including a triple-double with a 21-point, 10 board, 10 assist evening with five triples. He also had a double-double to kick off his season with 16 points and 10 assists. While it won’t count in fantasy DSJ was in the NBA Dunk Contest and for the season he also finished third in assists per game amongst rookies. While he never delivered on his preseason hype, he should be in line for a step forward in year two.
ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 129/98 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 170/138 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 79
Powell was a mid-late season pickup that paid dividends for owners as he finally started to put together a long string of solid games. What the Mavs discovered was Powell could help stretch the floor for them while providing elite shooting percentages over the last two months of the season. During this stretch, he averaged a triple a game while shooting 53 percent. Taking a look at his season-long production you can see that Powell was buried on the depth chart early before becoming a full-time starter on January 31st. He averaged 21.1 MPG, 8.4 PTS, 0.3 3PM, 5.6 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.3 BLK, 0.593 FG% and 0.718 ft%.
Powell won’t ever be insanely valuable in fantasy leagues due to his lack of defensive production but he’s mobile, is able to shoot and doesn’t hurt you in any one category. Keep an eye out on how the Mavs fill out their roster, as Powell might have a shot at season-long value next season if the rotation of bigs doesn’t see many changes. If nothing else, he earned himself a steady role with a career year and fantasy owners saw flashes of how useful he can be.
ADP: 110/119 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: Did not Play (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: Did not Play (8/9 cat), Games Played: Did not Play
Seth Curry had a lost season. He didn’t make it on the court for any games after leading the Mavs in Win Shares the previous year. Now heading into free agency it’s possible that the Mavs let him walk while they chase a marquee free agent. Curry is coming off a strange tibia injury that left him with a timeline of a few weeks for much of the season. Curry was first expected to be back within a month of the season starting, and that timeline continued to slip until he opted for season-ending surgery in early February.
Curry is expected to be healthy by July at the start of free agency. Given he missed the entire season look for early reports during free agency on his health. Curry was a top-90 value two years ago and it’s possible that he continues to improve regardless of if he sticks with the Mavericks or moves on.
ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 138/165 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 137/171 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 69
It seems like every year J.J. Barea goes undrafted and then is productive for a stretch. Last season as a 33-year-old Barea put up his most productive campaign since joining Dallas. While his role is highly dependent on the health of others Barea has always been a thorn in opponent’s sides. Barea is under contract with the Mavs for next season but expect him to return to his regular role as an energy guy off the bench.
Barea suffered some core injuries this season, which is expected when you’re J.J.’s size and continually attack the rim. Barea missed time with groin, oblique and rib injuries. It’s likely that these won’t be an issue next season for Barea as he’ll likely play under 20 minutes a night as a reserve after having a long offseason to recover.
Expect Barea’s season at 23.2 MPG, 11.6 PTS, 1.6 3PM, 2.9 REB, 6.3 AST, 0.5 STL, 0.0 BLK, 0.439 FG% AND 0.784 FT% to go down as the best he’ll have this late in his career while keeping in mind his ability to be this productive during shorter stretches. He was a nice find for assists at the very least, finishing 14th in the NBA in terms of dimes per game. You have to scroll all the way down to spot No. 44 on that list (Trey Burke in his half season) to find someone who played less than JJB. There should be specialist value barring major changes.
ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 140/128 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 192/174 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 82
Yogi Ferrell will be a restricted free agent if the Mavs pick up his option and this will likely come down to their cap situation as they enter the draft and free agency. Ferrell played in all 82 games for the Mavericks and while he wasn’t a great value on a per-game basis he was productive from start to finish. Considering the 6-foot guard even managed a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double with six assists against the Spurs he’ll be on a team come next season. It wasn’t his explosive finish to 2016-17, but Ferrell belongs in a rotation somewhere.
The main value of Ferrell is his availability and lots of guys have built careers on that trait alone. Look for him to continue to work on his craft over the summer, focusing on his 3-point shot and defense. Ferrell finished his 82-game campaign with averages of 27.8 MPG, 10.2 PTS, 1.6 3PM, 3.0 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.1 BLK, 0.425 FG% and 0.796 FT%. One wonders what his season would’ve looked like on a roster that wasn’t jammed with guards.
ADP: 131/73 (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 311/298 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 187/168 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 29
Noel was a massive disappointment for owners as he only managed to make it on the court for 29 games. He was drafted in the top-100 in many leagues as owners expected him to be the perfect defensive stalwart next to Dirk’s spacing. Nerlens quickly learned that Dallas has a system, and you have to buy in to get playing time. His season started on a high note with a 16-point, 11-board, three-block double-double in only 20 minutes but by early November his playing time was constantly below 20 minutes and before the month ended Noel was announced out with an injury to his left thumb. Even before the injury he was on the outskirts of the rotation despite his ever-promising per-minute production at the beginning of the year.
Noel ended up missing three months due to the thumb injury and upon his return in late February the Mavs had little incentive to play the free agent heavy minutes. No one expects Noel to be back next season and where he lands will determine his value. That said, despite his low playing time Noel was still able to flash his defensive prowess. He wrapped up the season with averages of 16.2 MPG, 4.5 PTS, 0.0 3PM, 5.7 REB, 0.6 AST, 1.0 STL, 0.7 BLK, 0.523 FG% and 0.750 FT%.
ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 240/214 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 290/259 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 72
Maxi Kleber was a 26-year-old rookie this season hailing from the same small town in Germany as Dirk. While his season-long numbers are underwhelming he had a few periods of productivity in December and January that highlighted his skillset. During one two-week stretch of December Kleber returned top-90 value in 8-cat leagues while playing 30 mpg.
If the Mavs draft a young talent or are able to acquire a big through free agency consider Kleber a lost cause early in the year. While he was a viable stand-in, Dallas probably won’t want him making as many starts next year as he did this time around (36). He finished the season with averages of 16.7 MPG, 5.3 PTS, 0.5 3PM, 3.2 REB, 0.7 AST, 0.3 STL, 0.6 BLK, 0.488 FG% and 0.745 FT%.
ADP: N/A / N/A (ESPN/Yahoo), Total Value: 233/224 (8/9 cat), Per-Game Value: 308/296 (8/9 cat), Games Played: 81
McDermott came to the Mavs as part of a three-team trade that sent Devin Harris out of town in early February. While his contributions haven’t made a difference for most fantasy teams McDermott showed his offensive abilities in Dallas, increasing his scoring output and field goal percentage once he made it to Dallas.
The Mavs asked McDermott to put on some strength so that he could play some power forward, which is quite a change from the shooting guard and small forward he played in New York. Look for McDermott to continue to develop as a stretch option off the bench for the Mavs. McBuckets didn’t amount to much this year, and even with a possible positional change we’re not too enthused about him going forward.
Focus on free agency ($31.8 million in cap space) and the draft (5th overall). The Mavs have been linked to Dallas product Julius Randle as well as other big free agents like DeMarcus Cousins. Much of their ability to get back into playoff contention will be centered on their ability to land one or two free agents who can move the needle for the squad while securing another generational talent alongside Dennis Smith Jr.
Looking at their roster, the wing position and the frontcourt are their most glaring weaknesses so expect the Mavs to shore both of these up in short order while making a few veteran signings to support their hunt for the postseason. If they somehow strike out in free agency on the biggest names don’t be surprised if they make a few offers to players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or J.J. Reddick who could help fill the need for spacing if they draft a big man.
Expect positive changes for the Mavs as they retool to make one last run at meaningful contests with Dirk around.
December 12, 2019, 1:52 amD'Angelo RussellPG, Golden State Warriors
D'Angelo Russell tried to put the Warriors on his back in Wednesday's 124-122 loss to the Knicks, dropping 32 points on 12-of-27 from the field, including six 3-pointers to go along with six assists and two steals.
Russell sent the game into overtime with a clutch 3-pointer at the end of regulation, but it wasn't enough to drag this Warriors team across the finish line. The opportunity will be there for Russell to produce. He'll have cold spells from time-to-time, but it looks like he's ready to pick it back up.
December 12, 2019, 1:48 amDraymond GreenPF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green earned his second triple-double of the season on Wednesday night, recording 14 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and four steals on 5-of-11 from the field.
Green has the potential to stuff the stat sheet whenever he gets on the court. With injuries this season, and the Warriors likely being cautions of wearing down their vets, these nights might not last long into the season. He could be a strong sell-high candidate after tonight's performance.
December 12, 2019, 1:43 amAlec BurksSG, Golden State Warriors
Alec Burks logged 33 minutes off the bench on Wednesday night, turning them into 18 points, five boards, two dimes and two assists.
Burks was only behind D'Angelo Russell in points for the Warriors tonight. He has upside and can have well-rounded games, but it isn't a given. If you have him, you can hold him, but probably isn't worth running to go pick up.
December 12, 2019, 1:39 amMarquese ChrissPF, Golden State Warriors
Marquese Chriss grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds on Wednesday while tallying an additional 12 points, two dimes, a steal and three blocks.
This was arguably Chriss' best game of the season. Things are trending up for Chriss and he looks to benefit from the Warriors starting to tank. Check if he is still on your waivers, he's worth a flyer after this performance.
December 12, 2019, 1:35 amMarcus MorrisPF, New York Knicks
Marcus Morris dropped a season-high 36 points on Wednesday night, piling it it on with 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and five 3-pointers.
Morris was one point shy of his career-high 37 points. It's important to note this was against the Warriors, but Morris has been a nice pickup this season. With so much uncertainty ahead for the Knicks, it might be a good time to see what you can sell him for, especially since he was probably a pretty cheap acquisition.
December 12, 2019, 1:28 amJulius RandlePF, New York Knicks
Julius Randle finished Wednesday night with another double-double to his name, tallying 24 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
Randle has been a disappointment for owners this season. We all know he can score and rebound, but another night with out any defensive stats continues to hurt his stock. Randle is going to need to pick it up to be standard league relevant again.
December 12, 2019, 1:24 amRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
RJ Barrett secured his first career double-double on Wednesday night, ending with 22 points, 10 boards, three assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers.
Barrett logged over 40 minutes before the game even went into overtime and finished the game seeing 46 minutes. The Knicks aren't afraid to use their first-round pick, however, this hasn't turned into fantasy relevance yet. Games like this will help put him on the radar in standard leagues.
December 12, 2019, 1:20 amElfrid PaytonPG, New York Knicks
Elfrid Payton collected 14 points, four boards, five assists and a steal on Wednesday night against the Warriors.
Payton came off the bench, but was on the court as the Knicks tried to close out the game. It's worth noting that Payton saw the most minutes at the point finishing the game with 29 minutes, and Frank Ntilikina only seeing 13 of action.
December 12, 2019, 12:56 amBuddy HieldSG, Sacramento Kings
Buddy Hield found his shot in the second half of Wednesday's 93-94 victory against the Thunder, ending with 23 points, six boards, six assists, two steals and five 3-pointers on 9-of-24 shooting.
The efficiency isn't pretty in this stat line, but it was largely due to a terrible first half. Hield has been heating up with De'Aaron Fox on the sidelines, sitting just outside the top-20 in the last two weeks.
December 12, 2019, 12:52 amRichaun HolmesPF, Sacramento Kings
Richaun Homles pitched in 10 points, seven boards, two steal and block in 25 minutes on Wednesday night.
The big question was how the return of Marvin Bagley would impact Holmes. It looks like he will still be a valuable fantasy asset and Luke Walton said they could both see the court at the same time. It's a situation to monitor, but so far, so good for fantasy GMs with Holmes on their rosters.