Dynasty Dash: Mavericks vs. Pelicans (Part One)
Vernon Bryant - Dallas Morning News
Over the summer many changes were made to multiple NBA teams. Some teams moved players and became title contenders, others lost stars and tumbled down the power rankings, and more than a handful made moves that could serve as precedents to contending squads.
Two teams that made moves over both the 2019 trade deadline and the off-season free agency pool are the New Orleans Pelicans and the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams have young cores teeming with promising players, both are in the Southwest Division, and both have the potential to future dynasties that can contend for titles.
We’re going to break down the two squads in terms of offense, defense, development, and their respective front offices. At the end, we will look at what needs to happen for both of these teams to ensure they can create their own basketball dynasty.
Pros: The duo of Porzingis and Doncic represents an uncanny reflection of the current state of NBA offense. Doncic measures in at 6-foot-7, can play four positions, and recorded averages of 21 points and 6 assists per game last year. He possesses a court vision that is vaguely reminiscent of White Chocolate, AKA Jason Williams. Porzingis is a matchup nightmare for anyone, capable of creating offense all over the court, from the low post to 27 feet out.
Cons: The superstar talent stops there. There are other solid contributors on the roster like Tim Hardaway Jr., Jalen Brunson, Delon Wright, and Seth Curry, but aside from Doncic and Porzingis the scoring options are quite limited.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: The Pelicans have the ability to score from anywhere, whether it’s a driving dunk by Zion, a low post jump-hook by Derrick Favors, or a deep three by J.J. Reddick. Obviously, the focus will be on college superstar and worldwide hoops sensation Zion Williamson, who has LeBron-like slashing ability and a solid enough jump-shot that will only improve with time. Jrue Holiday is coming off a 21 points-per-game season with efficient shooting numbers, and other contributors like E’Twaun Moore and Brandon Ingram can dial up some consistent offensive numbers for the squad.
Cons: They lack a center who can shoot or pass efficiently. Teams that want to be major competitors utilize big men who can spread the floor and generate offense consistently, and none of Favors, Jahlil Okafor, or rookie Jaxson Hayes currently fit that mold.
Winner: New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: Dallas has an impressive defense considering the youthful team they have built, only allowing 103.6 points-per-game during the preseason (10th in the league). This is due to the matchup nightmare presented by Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porizingis. Doncic, as previously mentioned, can defend four positions and thrive at all of them with his diverse skill set and high basketball IQ. Porzingis is shot blocking machine, averaging two blocks per game in his career so far. Others like Delon Wright, Dwight Powell, and Maxi Kleber contribute with good ball pressure and strong post defense.
Cons: Rebounding will be a struggle for this team. Yes, they have Doncic and Porzingis who average eight and seven rebounds respectively, they don’t have someone on their team who is a juggernaut on the glass (especially after trading De’Andre Jordan to the Knicks). Perhaps Maxi Kleber will step in and fill this void.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: This squad will absolutely punish your physical fitness and conditioning. With Zion being one of the most athletically-intimidating athletes in the world, Derrick Favors being a bulldog in the paint, and Jrue Holiday showing that he is one of the best on-ball defenders in the league, this team will capitalize on teams that are gassed and unable to keep up with them in transition.
Cons: NOLA ranked 29th (out of 30) in the preseason defensive ratings, allowing their opponents to score 118.2 points-per-game in preseason play. The issue here is that this team has little quality defensive depth, and aside from the previously mentioned players, there is little left to praise on the defensive end. They allowed opponents to shoot 49% from the field and only blocked 4.6 shots a night in the preseason, and if Zion is not healthy this season, those numbers will only sink lower.
Winner: Dallas Mavericks
Stay tuned for Part Two of Dynasty Dash, where we compare the developmental aspects and front office management of the Mavs and Pels organizations.