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The Phoenix Suns are at the bottom of the NBA standings and it’s looking to be another lottery season for them. At 4-22 with games to go, the Phoenix Suns will come in Thursday against a strong Mavericks side ready to add to their win total.
The Suns have had poor luck with injuries this season as they have four players on the IR list, including their most talented producers in Devin Booker and TJ Warren. It will be up to the supporting cast to fight back against the Mavericks, which hasn’t been a promising notion so far this season.
The Dallas Mavericks are sitting at eighth in the Western Conference with a mere half game lead over the Sacramento Kings. Against the Suns, the Mavericks will be looking to take advantage of a depleted roster to gain some ground against those fighting for position in the West.
The thrill of watching Luka Doncic has made most forget that the Mavs are currently without key players in Kleber, Smith Jr., and Mejri. His skill and maturity in the NBA are impressive to watch and Mavs fans are surely aching to see a full-strength squad back on the court.
In 155 regular season games, the Phoenix Suns lead the all-time series against the Mavericks 84-71.
With a win, the Mavericks may move up to 6th or 7th in the West depending on results involving the Grizzlies and Blazers.
For the Suns, a win would be great for morale but would overall do little for what seems to be their true goal of winning the first overall pick.
Can any Sun role player step up?
Can the Mavericks keep it up from three?
We are going to compare these teams and see who has the advantage between the Suns and the Mavericks.
Signing Jamal Crawford was a curious move for the Suns. At 38 years old he doesn’t have much to offer on the court anymore, despite surely being a good mentor for the young Suns players. Despite that, he still only contributes six points per game on sixteen minutes per game.
In fact, the whole of the Suns bench is underwhelming. Not a single bench player averages over seven points per game and only two averages over 35% from three. Letting go of Tyson Chandler made sense for Chandler, but by signing Ariza and Crawford one wonders the direction of the Suns as they continue to spend money but compete for very little.
With a triple threat playmaker like Doncic, the Mavericks are finally able to implement the offensive scheme they’ve been attempting to create the past couple of season. Sitting at sixth in the NBA at %PTS from three, the Mavericks have been able to enter the modern era of swing offence we see amongst the elite teams today.
Last year, with Dennis Smith Jr leading the charge, the Mavericks were a tad predictable. Seeing as Smith Jr was not a strong shooter, defenses played back and didn’t allow for the collapsing play that coach Rick Carlisle wanted. A true threat from range and to drive, Doncic has made the entire offence flow smoothly from outside in.
G/F Jamal Crawford is sidelined with a toe injury. He is listed as day-to-day and is a game time decision against the Mavericks.
C Deandre Ayton was sidelined with an illness but was available Monday vs the Clippers.
G Devin Booker is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury and does not have a date for return.
F TJ Warren is sidelined with an ankle injury and is on a minutes restriction.
F Maxi Kleber was diagnosed with a toe injury and will be a game time decision.
G Dennis Smith Jr. is unlikely to play with a wrist injury.
C Salah Mejri will not suit up against the Pelicans on Dec 12th and will likely not appear against the Suns.
F/C Dirk Nowitzki isn’t quite ready to return from an ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Troy Daniels is an absolute gunner. In his most recent match against the Miami Heat, Daniels was the sole bright spot as he contributed 18 points and 4 rebounds on 6-13 shooting and 6-10 from three.
Daniels can absolutely shoot the ball. He is certainly streaky, but for a bench unit with little talent it certainly doesn’t hurt. The problem lies in the fact that Daniels can’t be the primary playmaker, as he prefers, with the likes of Okobo and Crawford on the court with him. Regardless, if Daniels can get hot, it’s difficult for the Suns not to get the ball in his hands.
In this third season with the Dallas Mavericks, Dorian Finney-Smith is starting to make a name for himself in the NBA. He’s averaging a career high in points, rebounds, and three-point shooting percentage while steadily improving his defensive rating since his rookie year.
The move from PF to SF for Finney-Smith has really bolstered his production. A high-energy forward, Finney-Smith’s athleticism allows him to keep with his man while now being a contributor on the offensive end shooting 40% from three-point range. Young, athletic, and intelligent, Rick Carlisle may have found a real gem in Finney-Smith.
The odds makers have the Dallas Mavericks favoured over the Phoenix Suns by 7, with an over/under of 110.
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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