The Dallas Mavericks are preparing to kick off the preseason against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 5 in Abu Dhabi. The team is looking to redeem itself after plummeting in the second half of the 2022-23 season and failing to qualify for even the play-in tournament. As the Mavericks eye a turnaround season, their star guard, Luka Doncic, said that rebounding will be key to their success in 2023-24.
“One thing we want to emphasize this year is rebounding. We got to get better on our rebounding,” Doncic told reporters ahead of the preseason opener, according to Sports Illustrated.
Doncic’s Mavericks teammate Tim Hardaway Jr. echoed the sentiment.
“I think defensively we were fine. It was ending the possession. It’s more securing the ball once you get the stops. I think that was one of our big struggles,” he said. “So, I think continuing to work on rebounding, ending the possession, gives us a lot more opportunities on the offensive end to do what we love best.”
Jason Kidd Gets Candid on Mavs’ Upcoming Season
The Mavericks’ situation is peculiar, to put it mildly. While many of the team members acknowledged a rebounding deficiency last season, the front office’s offseason moves did not address the deficiency. It let go of two frontcourt players, 7-footer JaVale McGee and Christian Wood, who averaged 7.3 rebounds per game for the Mavericks last season.
But even with the Mavericks having more size last season, head coach Jason Kidd said his team still struggled noticeably on the boards in 2023. However, he is confident this roster has taken significant strides this offseason to address that.
“When you look at being able to rebound the ball, [that’s] something we’ve always struggled with. Hopefully, some of these adjustments defensively will put us in a better situation to rebound the ball,” Kidd said, according to Sports Illustrated.
“There will be a lot of things that we have changed to adapt to today’s game. We’ll see how it goes in preseason. As coaches, we have all these great ideas. Until we put them out and see that they don’t work, and then we have to make a change. But hopefully, these changes will put us in a better situation defensively.”
Kyrie Issues Challenge to Mavericks Teammates
This Mavericks team has a different identity from the roster that took the franchise to the Western Conference finals in 2022. They have star power with Irving and Doncic, but almost every other area has some uncertainty.
Kyrie, who will embark on his first full season with the Mavs after being traded to the team at last year’s deadline, says that although the Mavericks are blessed to have a plethora of star-level talent, this training camp period will still be pivotal to their success in the regular season.
“We just got to put in our two-a-days and continue to get in better shape. That’s what this preseason is about, with a short amount of days — a lot of work in those short days,” Irving said, according to Sports Illustrated.
“These next two weeks will have its ups and downs. I want to go into these games with a clear mentality that we want to win, and we want to continue to get better and dive deeper into the relationships that will matter for us later down in the season.”