Scoring Without Doncic: A Problem for the Dallas Mavericks

Jason Kidd

Getty Jason Kidd instructs his team against the Phoenix Suns

The Dallas Mavericks are currently on a three-game losing streak, which is their longest of the season. This brings them to an overall record of 9-7, as they slowly slip down the Western Conference standings.

Dallas has struggled mostly because they’ve been without their superstar guard Luka Doncic, who’s recovering from two different left leg injuries. Additionally, these three losses have come against some of the top teams in the NBA. This includes back-to-back losses to the Phoenix Suns and a loss to the LA Clippers.

What continues to be an issue for the Mavs is the ability to score points. Through these three games, they’ve scored just 97.7 points per game, and have a 106.3 offensive rating. Dallas simply isn’t generating enough good looks.

There’s been a couple of players who have stepped up offensively without Doncic on the floor, but the rest of the team has lacked the production needed to win games without their star.

The Rise of Porzingis

During this three-game skid, Kristaps Porzingis has actually be really good. As the team’s best player with Doncic sidelined, the 7-footer has stepped up and looked as good as he has all season.

Over the three games, Porzingis has averaged 23.0 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He’s shot poorly from beyond the arc, but has found ways to get buckets when the Mavs need them most. Porzingis has also been a force defensively, producing five blocks and three steals over the past three contests.

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Following an outstanding performance against the Clippers, Porzingis’ teammates gave him the recognition he deserved. Despite the team losing, he did everything in his power to help Dallas.

“He [Porzingis] was a force. He was able to get to the sweet spots, looked really good. I mean, he was great,” said Jalen Brunson following Sunday’s matchup with the Clippers. “I just wish that myself and us as a team, we could’ve helped him a little more to help win this game.” 

Brunson has been great as well, proving to the the second-best scorer during this stretch without Doncic. He’s averaged 18.7 points while also generating 9.0 assists per game. In terms of a bench player filling in for a player like Doncic, the Mavericks couldn’t ask for much more out of Brunson.

Overall, it’s been the roster outside of Porzingis and Brunson that haven’t stepped up offensively.

Inefficient Scoring

Tim Hardaway Jr. is typically the third-best scorer on a fully healthy Mavs roster, but has struggled tremendously with the additional defensive pressure he’s received with Doncic sidelined.

In these last three games, Hardaway Jr. has averaged just 16.0 points on 18.7 shots per game. This is extremely inefficient, as he needs a ton of shots to produce points. Hardaway Jr. has shot just 32.1% from the floor in this recent stretch.

From there, guys like Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Reggie Bullock have been expected to help offensively for the short-handed Mavs.

While Finney-Smith has started to find his groove as a shooter recently, the scoring output still isn’t where it needs to be. He’s averaged just 9.3 points per game through three games despite having every opportunity to step up as a scorer.

Powell continues to struggle at the starting center position, producing 4.7 points per game. While he’s never been a volume scorer, the undersized big hasn’t gotten any more aggressive with Doncic out.

Dwight Powell

GettyDwight Powell goes up for a dunk against the Toronto Raptors.

Finally, Reggie Bullock has extremely high expectations offensively, whether Doncic is playing or not. In his absence, he has scored just 2.7 points per game while shooting 25.0% from the floor. If Bullock had been shooting even league average over this stretch, the Mavs might have pulled off a win. He’s certainly been the most disappointing player in the past week.

At the end of the day, the Mavericks desperately need Doncic back. However, guys need to step up if they don’t want to continue to slide down the standings while he recovers.

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