New Orleans at Dallas
Time: 1 PM CST
Spread: DAL -9
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Dallas Mavericks are 15-6 and are by many accounts the surprise team in the Western Conference thus far. It will host the struggling New Orleans Pelicans at 1 PM (CST) Saturday on NBA League Pass. The Mavericks are 9-point favorites in the game, with the betting total set at 233 total points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
The Dallas Mavericks have been something of a surprise so far. Perhaps it should not be. Luka Doncic has made the necessary steps from his great rookie season to one of the truly elite players in the league, and Kristaps Porzingis certainly seems strong and healthy again. With that duo, the Mavericks have one of the best 1-2 punches in the Association. It is depth where things begin to get shakier, as the team is short on the No. 3 and No. 4 options.
Doncic is averaging nearly a triple-double with 30.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 9.2 assists per game, and he is drawing comparisons basically to a “Euro LeBron James,” at this point. Porzingis has assumed the role of the No. 2 option, and he has faired well. The former New York Knick is averaging 16.8 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.2 blocks per game. He has had five games with five blocks or more, though, which leads the league. Tim Hardaway Jr and JJ Barea round out the other double-digit scorers for Dallas, but both averaged under 12 points per game.
Dallas still tallies 118 per game, though, with a deep 12-man rotation. While Dallas may lack some of the necessary complementary parts to make Doncic and Porzingis really thrive, the team is building steam and it could be a surprise in the 2020 NBA playoffs. Doncic is making his name. Porzingis is healthy.
The Mavericks can be a really dangerous team, and soon–but it probably needs to either add a third big scorer or get more out of Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway has shown a great offensive prowess over his career, and 12.4 points per game seem kind of like the bare minimum that can be asked of the former second-round pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans are just 6-16, New Orleans has had some injury issues, or one major one anyway: Zion Williamson, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, has yet to play this season. Even without him, and with a losing record, the Pelicans have quite a few reasons to be encouraged.
Paramount in those “encouraging aspects” is one Brandon Ingram. He has nearly doubled his scoring average as a Pelican, showing all of the promises he was initially thought to have when the L.A. Lakers selected him No. 2 overall. Ingram is averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks/steals, and those notions of a “Next Kevin Durant,” no longer look absurd as they did during his tenure as a Laker.
Jrue Holiday has quietly been sensational, as well. He is averaging 19.5 points per game, 5.1 rebounds and 2.9 steals/blocks, making his biggest impact on the defensive end but still (clearly) scoring the ball just fine. JJ Redick stepped up with Josh Hart out due to injury, but now that Hart has returned, expect Redick’s role to recede at least a little.
Hart has been a big threat on the boards at just 6’4”, averaging 6.4 rebounds per game to go with his 12 points.
Lonzo Ball has also been plenty of encouraging and exciting. He is averaging 11 points and six assists per game and his 2.4 A/TO ratio is solid. The Pelicans could be a major threat if Williamson returns healthy and clicking on all cylinders— the rookie looked great in the preseason, even if there is already a black cloud lingering over his career, in terms of health.