• 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.

    Editor’s Note: You can check out the rest of our Post-Mortems here.

    Overview

    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.

    Coaching

    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 Players

    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.

    Harrison Barnes

    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.

    Dirk Nowitzki

    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.

    Wesley Matthews

    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.

    Dwight Powell

    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.

    Seth Curry

    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.

    J.J. Barea

    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.

    Yogi Ferrell

    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.

    Nerlens Noel

    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%.

    Maxi Kleber

    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%.

    Doug McDermott

    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.

    Doctor’s Orders

    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.

Fantasy News

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 28 points in Serbia's 85-80 win over Greece on Sunday.

    Serbia will be a tough team to beat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup thanks to Bogdanovic, Nikola Jokic and Nemanja Bjelica among others. Bjelica put up 18 points and 14 rebounds as well. They were able to beat Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 20 points. This is one of the teams that could sneak up on Team USA and pull out a win.

    Source: Eurohoops

  • Justin Anderson
    SG, Atlanta Hawks

    According to The Athletic, the Wizards and Justin Anderson are trying to work towards a training camp contract.

    Anderson averaged a career-low 9.6 minutes per game with the Hawks last season. The former first-round pick is looking to gain another opportunity on a thin Wizards team. He will likely not have much fantasy value if he manages to make the roster.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Victor Oladipo is still rehabbing from his ruptured quad tendon in January, and is unsure if he will be an active participant at the Pacers' training camp when it opens in September.

    Our last update from Pacers POBO Kevin Pritchard had Oladipo aiming for December or January, and that timetable still seems doable. He is taking his leadership role seriously, connecting with the Pacers' new players this summer, and it seems likely that he will make his presence felt this year at some point. Oladipo had an outstanding campaign two years ago, but even before the injury he was a disappointment last season. Fantasy owners should proceed with caution, we may not see Oladipo's top form this year.

    Source: Indiana Pacers

  • Bol Bol
    C, Denver Nuggets

    Bol Bol stated that he has completely recovered from the left foot fracture that ended his college basketball career, and he is now working out twice a day for his upcoming rookie season with the Nuggets.

    The multi-talented center could put up big numbers if given the opportunity with the Nuggets, but the risk for another injury is real. With that in mind, Bol is not expected to receive a lot of minutes this season. If that somehow changes, it would be exciting to see his rare combination of blocks and 3-pointers in action.

    Source: Jim Slater of AFP

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    The Grizzlies are allowing the Lakers to speak with Dwight Howard.

    The news came out yesterday that the Lakers would seek permission and the fact that they were granted it suggests that Howard will not be on the Grizzlies for long. The aftermath of DeMarcus Cousins tearing his ACL left them in need of another center if they want to remain true to playing Anthony Davis exclusively at power forward. Joakim Noah is the other option on the Lakers' radar and has been a facilitator and role player in the past.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Moritz Wagner
    PF, Washington Wizards

    Moritz Wagner has been cut from Germany’s FIBA World Cup team.

    The move seems somewhat surprising given Wagner’s youth and notoriety, but Germany still has four NBA players on their roster despite cutting Wagner. The Wizards have plenty of depth in the frontcourt and Wagner is probably lower on the totem poll when it comes to receiving minutes.

    Source: Dario Skerletic of Sportando

  • Jonah Bolden
    PF, Philadelphia Sixers

    Jonah Bolden has opted to withdraw from Team Australia in the FIBA World Cup.

    Bolden becomes the fifth NBA player to skip out on playing for Australia in the World Cup, a trend that seems to be prevalent for several countries' national teams. Bodlen could be looking at an increased role as a backup center for Philly's thin bench this upcoming season. He is not expected to be a relevant fantasy option though.

    Source: Fox Sports Australia

  • Jeremy Lin
    PG, Toronto Raptors

    Jeremy Lin is in advanced discussions with the Bejing Ducks according to a report from Chinese journalist Sonx Xiang.

    Lin previosuly turned down a deal to play for CSKA Moscow, and has also discussed his openness to playing in China. The nine year guard still hopes to resmue his NBA career at some point, but a move to China may be the best career option for him at this juncture.

    Source: Sportando

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    The Lakers will soon ask Memphis permission to speak with Dwight Howard according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    Shams goes on to mention that there is mutual interest here and that Joakim Noah could be another veteran of interest for LA. The realistic options for free agents at the five really don't go much further than these two for the Lakers. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Dwight Howard
    C, Memphis Grizzlies

    In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins injury, one name the Lakers are considering is Dwight Howard, according to Rohan Nadkarni of Sports Illustrated.

    Howard is still a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, but it is widely assumed that he will be waived before the season starts. A reunion in LA would certainly be pretty surprising for the Lakers after Howard famously did not resign with them after a miserable season playing with Kobe Bryant. Still, the Lakers need depth at the five and there really aren't any options on the market who compare to Howard's level of productivty, even at this stage of his career. Other center options the Lakers could pursue include Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried and Zaza Pachulia.

    Source: Rohan Nadkarni on Twitter