With the 2018-19 NBA season quickly approaching, we're rolling out 30 Teams in 30 Days. Between now and opening night, we're dedicating one day to each team in the league. After beginning our look at the Southwest Division over the weekend with the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, we shift focus to the Dallas Mavericks.
2017-18 season record
24-58 (third-worst record in Western Conference)
Projected 2018-19 season record
34.5 wins (third-lowest total in Western Conference)
• Luka Dončić (draft)
• DeAndre Jordan (free agency)
• Yogi Ferrell (free agency)
• Doug McDermott (free agency)
• Nerlens Noel (free agency)
3 key storylines
Luka Dončić's immediate impact
At just 19 years old, the Mavs' rookie already has a number of professional accolades under his belt, including an MVP season in the EuroLeague that culminated with his leading Real Madrid to a EuroLeague championship.
For Dončić, it isn't a question of if his game will translate to the NBA - it's only a matter of when he gets comfortable. As a 6-foot-8 versatile forward, he has the tools of a generational talent that can propel Dallas to exceed expectations.
The DeAndre Jordan effect
When Dallas inked Jordan to a one-year, $24 million deal this offeason, it received an immediate boost on the interior. Last season, the 10-year vet averaged 12.0 points and 15.2 rebounds over 77 games.
A two-time All-Defensive team member, Jordan is the defender Dallas needs on the inside. Offensively, lobs from Harrison Barnes, Dennis Smith Jr. and Dončić are sure to electrify fans throughout the season.
Don't overlook Harrison Barnes
With the emergence of Dennis Smith Jr., the acquisition of Doncic and Jordan as well as Dirk Nowitzki entering his 21st season, one might forget about Harrison Barnes.
The 26-year-old led Dallas with 18.9 points per game in 2017-18 while averaging a career-high 6.1 rebounds per game. With the increase of talent around him, Barnes could become a 20-ppg scorer for the first time of his career in 2018-19.
5 games to watch
Oct. 17 vs. Phoenix Suns
The NBA debut of two can't-miss prospects.
Leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft, many debated if Phoenix should use the No. 1 overall pick to select Deandre Ayton or Luka Dončić. Of course, Phoenix went with Ayton, who will likely be mentioned in Rookie of the Year conversations with Dončić throughout the year.
Oct. 24 vs. Atlanta Hawks
Dončić and Hawks rookie Trae Young will forever be linked to one another thanks to the draft day trade that landed them with their respective teams. Just one week in the season, both rookies get a chance to show the franchises that traded them what they'll be missing out on.
Oct. 31 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
There's a time when each NBA rookie's idol becomes their rival; for Dončić, that time comes two weeks into the season. The decorated 19-year-old has made it clear that LeBron James is his favourite player, and he'll get a chance to play James and the Lakers when the Mavericks visit the STAPLES Center in late October.
Dec. 20 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
In 10 seasons with the Clippers, DeAndre Jordan made countless highlight plays, six playoff appearances, earned three All-NBA selections and one All-Star selection. Emotions are sure to be running high when the 30-year-old returns to STAPLES Center to face the Clippers for the first time in his career.
April 10 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Dirk Nowitzki has revolutionized the game since making his debut in 1999, and Pau Gasol has made an impact since his rookie season in 2001. Over the past 18 years, the two have met 47 times in the regular season and another eight in the playoffs. On this night - the final night of the NBA season - fans could be witnessing the final matchup between the skilled European bigs.