Dallas Mavericks rating: Who guards Laurie Markanen?

The Mavericks’ final week of preparation saw one pre-season game, boot announcements and odd signings. McKinley Wright earned a two-way deal by playing in training camp, while Marcus Bingham Jr., Muhammadu Gui, Tyler Hall and DJ Stewart Jr. were all ceded to cut the roster for the regular season. The former Denver Nugget is expected to be Real Madrid Luka Doncic’s teammate, Facundo Compazzo, is expected to sign for last on the list when he arrives in Dallas this week. The Mavericks won their last pre-season game in Utah, 115-101 on Friday to close out of the season.

Team Score: B

It’s been a pretty average week for Dallas Mavericks. The game against the Jazz came with virtually no fouls on attack, except that Josh Green can execute passes now and Tim Hardaway Jr. The defense was a little worrisome, because their problem with guarding the big guys is still there, but, again, it’s just one game before the season.

Signing Compazzo isn’t bad when you look at it from a “15th man, help when he can” angle, but it feels wrong. The Mavericks apparently mishandled Goran Dragic earlier in the season, denying the need for a third ball handler for several months. Signing Compazzo looks like an admission of defeat and forces them to accept a player who, otherwise, would likely not have been on this season’s roster.

The actual Mavericks rotation players look good. Doncic looks in shape and aggressive, and Dallas might have the best seat in the NBA. Christian Wood and Tim Hardaway, Jr. are both “unassisted” shooters, which means you can’t help them or they’ll make you pay. This will open up a slew of driving opportunities for Dinody, who Jason Kidd said will run Unit Two. It will be fun to see this team play a real game next week.

Straight A’s: Luka Colors 1

Since the Luka 1 debuted a few weeks ago in only one road (white, light blue and orange), it’s been a great thought experiment to imagine what it would look like in different color combinations. Normally, shoes are released to the public in these colors, and that’s how we fuel our creativity, but this time, Doncic has partnered with four universities, starting October 15, to provide them with custom shoes for their upcoming seasons.

The first ad was Florida Gators Basketball:

Next was North Carolina Tar Heels:

Third was Howard University:

Finally, the Market Golden Eagles:

Each of these colors is beautiful, and the way Doncic presented it was also ingenious. He wore them to games and practice, and even changed their shoes in the first half of the pre-season final to show off two new shoes on the same day. This marketing campaign earns me an A plus.

FAILURE: Who was guarding Laurie Markanen

The Mavericks defense was mid-season on Friday, making the average player look like a major star of the decade. Markkanen is a 15-point game scorer, with a 44 percent shooting rate, but you can’t tell when the Mavericks have been playing in defense. He was hitting plumb fading, hints, pulling jumpers, and bank shots, and none of them looked like luck. He shot 9 out of 13 from the ground and had 21 points, but the impact looked like 40. Dallas has had trouble guarding seniors, especially traveling adults, in the past, and there was no sight for sore eyes to see Markkanen hurt them again. West is full of talented men, and their first real test will come against Deandre Ayton this Wednesday, as they hope to defend him better than Lauri Markkanen.

Extra credit: Luka Doncic in the first quarter

Doncic has been one of the best first-quarter players in the league since they started playing with him in full. Last season he averaged 9.5 points in the opening frame, and Doncic was on fire to open the game in Utah. 12 points in 12 minutes is hugely effective, and it’s always an exciting feeling when Doncic kicks in to start the game. He earns the last bit of extra credit before the real missions start this week.

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