NBA Wednesday ESPN Odds: Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks

Dirk Nowitzki has yet to play this season, and we can only wonder how his return will really impact the 2-1 Mavericks.

Dallas at Atlanta
Time: 6 PM (CT) ESPN
Spread: ATL -1.5
Total: 234.5

Odds c/o Pincle

The Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young have begun its season 1-2 following its 133-111 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Young is lighting the league on fire, and the Hawks will host the Dallas Mavericks as 1.5-point favorites according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker Pincle. The over/under is set at 234.5 points, reflective of the high scoring that has been seen all throughout the NBA thus far in the young season.


Young, through just three games, is looking much more “Steph Curry” than “bust,” as guesses on his NBA potential ranged widely entering this season. He had 35 points and 11 assists in the Hawks’ win over Cleveland, and thus far he is averaging 23 points and 8.3 assists per game, while looking every bit like the potential Rookie of Year, albeit it is early to say so.

The Hawks have also received top-notch production from Taurean Prince, who is averaging 21 points and five rebounds in just 27 minutes a night. Rounding out the Hawks top-five are undersized forward Kent Bazemore, Omari Spellman, and center Alex Len.

Len is something of a reclamation project after flopping his first couple seasons in Phoenix, but he has been good thus far in “Hotlanta.” While his offensive game remains rather raw, the Maryland product is still averaging 10.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while posting a PER of 13.3. He still has the potential to be a true starting center in this league after being drafted in the lottery portion, but the Hawks are hoping he can become a better finisher to complement his already-solid defensive efforts.

Backing up Len is Miles Plumlee, another center who is becoming something of a journeyman after being replaced in Portland. Plumlee is still averaging nearly double-figures in just 14 minutes a night, and he leads the Hawks in efficiency with an outstanding PER of 26.0.

It will be interesting to see how the Hawks manage the minutes at the 5-spot, though, with Dewayne Dedmon due to make his debut this game. Dedmon is the best of the centers, but he, too, lacks offensive development.

Dedmon has been steadily improving since beginning the game of basketball late in life (age 18), but he works as hard as anyone in the league, and if the Hawks can carve out a team identity based around the shooting of Young and its hard-working role players, it could be a surprise team of sorts in the East. The chance to improve to .500 is there tonight, and Atlanta is favored to do so by oddsmakers.


Dallas, meanwhile, is building its backcourt around the play of explosive second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and rookie Luka Doncic. Doncic has played anything but “like a rookie,” looking polished and composed on the court alongside Smith. Smith’s shooting leaves plenty to be desired, though, despite his penchant for jacking three-point shots. In terms of scoring, Smith is as good as any 1-man inside the arc, but he is shooting just 34.1 percent from the field because he attempts five threes per game at a 20 percent clip.

Doncic is shooting 31.8 percent from deep on 7.3 attempts. The Mavs, despite attempting 43.3 threes per game, are hitting just 32.3 percent as a team. Also, Dallas has been without Dirk Nowitzki thus far, though it is tough to discern what role the aged veteran will really play when he returns. DeAndre Jordan seems right at home accepting lob passes Doncic and Smith, and he is averaging 17 points per game, almost entirely on dunks, to go with his 12.7 boards and a block per night.

The Mavericks are also getting superb play from power forward Dwight Powell, who has been a bit overshadowed but is averaging 15 points and five boards in just 17 minutes a night. Once Nowitzki returns, there should be some type of time-share at the 4-spot between Powell and Dirk, but determining exactly how the minutes might be allocated is mostly guesswork, mostly because no one is sure just how much the legendary Nowitzki even has left in his ancient legs.

The Mavericks, like Atlanta, could be surprisingly good this year, if only because Doncic is absolutely NBA ready.

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