On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks will take on the Charlotte Hornets in their third preseason contest. With less than 10 days until the start of the NBA regular season, it’s time for the team to start getting fully acquainted and going through their standard lineup rotations.
As such, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is referring to the last two preseason games as ‘dress rehearsals’ for the team.
On Tuesday ahead of the Mavericks’ third press on game, Kidd said he expects 11 players to see playing time. Additionally, he anticipates most of the starters to play close to regular minutes, including some action in the fourth quarter.
Let’s take a look back at Dallas’ first two preseason games and what to expect in their third against Charlotte.
In their first two preseason contests, the Mavericks played the Utah Jazz followed by the LA Clippers. Through those two games, the plan was to play key starters primarily in the first half.
Luka Doncic has led the team thus far in scoring (16.5 points per game) and rebounding (7.0 boards per game). He’s done this in limited action, playing just 16.6 minutes per contest.
Doncic’s co-star Kristaps Porzingis has averaged 11.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game. It’s just the preseason, but what’s been most impressive about the 7-footer is the seven assists he’s produced through two games.
Starting center Dwight Powell has averaged 14.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while Jalen Brunson scored ten points and dished out eight assists in his lone game on the floor.
With each of these four players playing less than 22 minutes per game to this point, there’s a good chance they’ll exceed that in this third preseason game.
As the regular season gets closer, getting in game shape and replicating a true game day is even more important.
What to Expect
Against the Hornets on Wednesday, rotations will look much closer to what they will be when the regular season kicks off.
To put things into perspective, Doncic and Porzingis played 34.3 and 30.9 minutes per game last season respectively. While they likely won’t play the full fourth quarter in Thursday’s matchup, they could see close to 30 minutes each.
One player to keep an eye on against the Hornets is Tim Hardaway Jr., who’s perhaps the team’s third-best player but has played very few minutes to this point in the preseason. He’s seen the floor for a total of 33 minutes through two games, which is eighth on the roster. Against Charlotte, he should see a major jump in minutes played. The same can be said of starting wing Dorian Finney-Smith, who’s played in just one of the two preseason games, totaling 15 minutes.
Although the key players will start to see more minutes in this next game, there should still be plenty of opportunity for the guys fighting for roster spots. Over the next week, the Mavericks’ 15-man roster for the regular season will be finalized.
In terms of available personnel against Charlotte, Reggie Bullock and Tyrell Terry are both out for personal reasons.