The news is starting to turnaround for the Dallas Mavericks. After weeks of bad luck the Mavs had a couple of good things happen on Monday. The first was the Mavericks impressive win at the Blazers Monday night, 132-117, (unfortunately followed by a tough loss to Sacramento).
The Portland win was the Mavs’ best game so far with a shorthanded roster, shooting 57.1% from the field and recording 38 assists on their 48 made field goals. Kristaps Porzingis has continued to flew his muscles in a strong season now that he is healthy, scoring 34 points on Monday and 24 on Wednesday.
There are positives there for the Mavericks, even as they await the return of Luka Doncic. But the second bit of good news came from the NBA and could have a more lasting impact on the team.
New NBA COVID Protocols
On Monday the NBA announced that they were reducing the health and safety protocols quarantine period from 10 days to six days for vaccinated players according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. For a player to return after six days the testing must show that they are no longer infectious.
Over the last two weeks, 172 players have had to enter the league’s health and safety protocols, forcing the NBA to broaden its rules regarding signing players to so-called “hardship exemption” contracts, which are 10-day deals.
How the New Protocols Benefit the Mavs
The Mavs roster has been ravaged by COVID-19 over the last two weeks, with as many as five players being out. Now, with the new rules the Mavs could benefit immediately.
Doncic is vaccinated and is past his sixth day in the league’s protocol, meaning he could test out at any point in the coming days, as long as his bothersome ankle is healthy. Tim Hardaway Jr. entered protocols at the same time as Doncic meaning he’s also eligible to return.
Reggie Bullock is also able to return, though he did not play on Wednesday despite it being 10 days in the league’s protocols. Soon, the Mavs roster will be the closest it’s been to full strength in three weeks.
It’s a good time for the Mavs to get back to full strength, the next few games provide a valuable opportunity for the team to rack up some wins. Also with a weaker schedule over the next few games it should allow Dallas to bring the players clearing protocols back slowly to get themselves back into game shape.
The start of this season hasn’t been what the Mavs or their fans were hoping for, so this good news comes at the right time. As it stands, the Mavericks are 16-18 and just trying to grind through this COVID-ravaged part of the season, like most teams around the NBA.
With the way Dallas has played in the last two games with a depleted roster and the news from the NBA maybe there’s reason for optimism going forward with this team. The Mavs proved to be a second half team last season after starting the season 16-16, they went 26-14 down the stretch. Maybe history will repeat itself and this news start the turnaround.