Basketball might be on its way back in Dallas. The Mavericks made a splash last season when they traded for Kristaps Porzingis. He will play his first regular season game as a Maverick tonight against the Washington Wizards.
Porzingis did not play last season because of a torn ACL but his name was in the headlines quite a bit. He forced his way out of New York and ended up in Dallas alongside Luka Doncic. The two are expected to be a dynamic duo for quite sometime.
Washington is in the midst of what is called by some, a rebuild. John Wall most likely will not be seen this season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon. Bradley Beal will carry most of the load for a Wizards’ team that is expected to finish near the bottom of the East.
Wizards vs. Mavericks Preview
Doncic was not only one of the most exciting rookies, but one of the most exciting players in the league last season. He earned Rookie of the Year honors after putting up 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. The Mavs will be without Dirk Nowitzki for the first time since 1998 but the franchise is in good hands.
Dallas also has some solid role players on their bench. They received Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee from New York in the Porzingis deal. Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson are talented, young guards who are mature enough to run the offense.
On the other side, the Wizards are a complete mess and have been for years. Beal signed a two-year extension to remain in Washington in the offseason. The Wizards had no choice but to keep their one proven player happy. Washington has been handcuffed by contracts over recent years, especially Wall’s. The most exciting player this season will be the rookie out of Gonzaga Rui Hachimura. He is one young, bright spot for a team that does not have a lot of young talent.
The East is clearly the weaker of the two conferences but that will not impact the Wizards. They won 32 games last season and that number should go way down this year.
Wizards vs. Mavericks Pick & Prediction
Porzingis is coming off a major knee surgery but he is still one of the most unique players in the league. He is 7’3 and can do things on the basketball court that we have never seen from a player his size. He was viewed as the future for the Knicks but they were unable to keep their franchise player happy.
Dallas enters this game as 8.5-point favorites at home. The Mavericks won just 33 games last season so they were no juggernaut but it is much more difficult playing in the West. Also, they did not have the duo of Doncic and Porzingis last season. Doncic is entering his second season and will be more prepared than last season.
Washington might come into this game with a chip on their shoulder and play hard but in the end, they will come up short because they are not as talented.
PICK: Mavericks -8.5
SCORE PREDICTION: Mavericks 124, Wizards 102