The Dallas Mavericks have been through a whirlwind this past week, having had to deal with numerous injuries, 10 contracts, and trying to stay afloat in the wild Western Conference.
If it couldn’t get any worse, they’ve done all this for the past week and a half without their All-Star Luka Doncic. What started off as a sprained ankle soon translated to him being sidelined with COVID.
This isn’t just a Dallas Mavericks problem since the whole NBA seems to be have more than just basketball on their mind.
With Christmas around the corner, teams are more focused on the health and safety of their player, while also filling roster spots. One of the biggest issues this season has been the spread of COVID.
Recently, we have seen players such as Trae Young, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal have entered the league’s COVID protocols. The way the rules work, if a vaccinated player becomes positive then he must show two negative tests 24 hours apart or quarantine for 10 days. Unvaccinated players must stay sidelined for at least seven days.
This has put a hamper on teams like Dallas because they have been forced to play games without star players. Besides Doncic, the Mavs also have players such as Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber and Reggie Bullock all in safety protocols.
To make matters worse, the team is constantly playing teams who have dealt with COVID in some form or another, meaning the chances of it spreading increase daily.
Another downside of this dilemma is that they are currently tied for the eight spot in the West. This means that if the season ended today they would be have to play in the play-in tournament.
On the plus side, players like Jalen Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith have all stepped for the team. Against Minnesota Tuesday, Brunson poured in 28 points on 55 percent shooting, while Finney-Smith had 19 points to tag along with six rebounds.
Other scenarios this has caused is teams forcing to sign players to 10 day contracts. Just this week the team has sign players like Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, and unknown names like Theo Pinson and Carlik Jones.
While this is all only temporary, the Mavericks have some tough decisions to make.
Owner Marc Cuban recently came out and spoke on the production of these random signees.
Over the past couple of games many players have shown a ton of progress. In his first game with Dallas Chriss tapped in six points and eight rebounds in under 16 minutes. Another standout was Pinson who was all over the floor Tuesday where he tallied seven points, four steals and four rebounds. Maybe they are the wing players the Mavs have been looking for.
If you compare Chriss’s numbers to say Reggie Bullock, there is a significant improvement. This season Bullock is averaging 5 points on 34 percent shooting, while also grabbing two rebounds per game. Chriss on the other hand is hitting his stride with Dallas. In two games he is hitting 60 percent of hit shots, averaging 9 points a game and grabbing close to seven rebounds.
This will cause a dilemma for the Mavs as they will have to make some big roster moves and decide if they want to keep these 10 day contracts for even longer.
One thing Mavs’ fans do know is this Christmas will be a lot different. The team is scheduled to play the Utah Jazz and will be without many of their star players.
If there is one wish for Dallas this Christmas, it is that they can get all their players back safely and go on a nice winning streak down the stretch.
A little New Years surprise wouldn’t hurt either.