NBA League Pass Picks: Dallas Mavericks at Washington Wizards

Face of the franchise possibly?

Dallas at Washington

Time: 6 PM CST (NBA LP)

Spread: WAS -5.5

Total: 234

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Washington Wizards are a full 11 games under .500, but it still trails No. 8 Charlotte by just three games in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Wiz have lost six of its last 10 games, and it hosts Dallas at 6 PM (CT) on NBA League pass as 5.5 point favorites. Dallas is just 6-25 on the road this season, and it has dropped its last two and eight of its last 10 overall games. The over/under is set at 234 points, which is a tough wager since Dallas averages just 107 points per game while giving up nearly 110, and the Wizards are a mess defensively (giving up almost 117 points per game). Between Dallas’  slower pace and the Wiz’ defensive ineptitude, gauging this over/under will be tough.

WAS TEAM NOTES:

Washington won its last outing over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but prior to that, it had lost five of its previous six games. If nothing else, the face of the Wizards seems to be finally changing. John Wall has been out with injury, which has allowed the Wizards to audition several new pieces for larger roles next season. Tomas Satoranksy has started in place of Wall, and he has looked both competent and loaded with proverbial potential.

Satoransky had 14 points and six assists in the win over Minny, but the biggest contributor was another trade addition in Bobby Portis. Portis shot 10 of 18 from the field and finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds, and three made triples.

While Portis has received billing as a poor defender, his scoring prowess is just as undeniable. It cost the Wizards Otto Porter to obtain Portis (and Jabari Parker), but that might be a gamble that really pays off: Porter is on the level of a replacement player offensively, and it remains to be seen if he can be much more than a role player.

Portis offers a scoring spark that could be even better utilized still if he could settle into a sixth man role. Bradley Beal has also been phenomenal with Wall out, and it is settling a debate of sorts as to which guard should be the one to go, should the Wizards attempt to scrap the blueprint and rebuild. Washington has had middling success in the Wall/Beal era, but it seems that success is both capped—and expired. Washington now will look to retool around Beal most likely, with Portis playing some role in that picture.

As to whether Satoransky is able to be re-signed, the situation with Wall will all but determine it. Wall ha a bloated contract, but a smaller market team without the luring power over superstars may decide Wall is better than having nothing close to a franchise player. He has his flaws (namely his shooting range) but remains a top-10 point guard in the Association.

DAL TEAM NOTES:

The Dallas Mavericks have lost eight of its last 10, and at 27-36, the team is scarcely a threat to make the postseason—but things have probably never been more promising for Mavericks supporters, at least in recent history. The team is nearly mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but Luka Doncic is keeping fans packing the seats./

Not only has Luka Doncic shown all the signs of being a true superstar (a 19-year-old one at that), but the Mavs also recently acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Knicks. While Porzingis is unlikely to suit up this season, if he returns anywhere close to his full form, the Mavericks will possess one of the most unique and talented young duos in the league.

Doncic has been nothing short of incredible. He is averaging 20.7 points and 5.6 assists, playing a point-forward role as one of the most talented playmakers to come into the league in recent history. The Mavericks also parted ways with Harrison Barnes who never really fulfilled the expectations the Mavericks had for him. In his place, the Mavericks now have Tim Hardaway Jr, who was acquired as part of the Porzingis trade.

It cost the Mavericks the young and talented Dennis Smith, Jr, but he had grown increasingly disgruntled with his diminished role in Dallas’ offense. DeAndre Jordan also headed to New York, which left the Mavericks with something of a hole at the center position, but there are enough talented 4-men to fill the spot for the remainder of this season. While Dallas will not make the playoffs this year, it would be hard to count them out from doing so next season when Porzingis makes his return.

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