The Mavericks may be looking better than they did at the beginning of the season, but they’re still not going to make any noise in the playoffs this season. It’s cool to get some wins, you know, keep team morale high or whatever (if Oregon Trail taught me one thing it’s that morale doesn’t actually matter that much). But they have to keep their eyes on the prize: Michael Porter Jr., to pair with their other Jr., Dennis Smith.
I’m not saying that they should intentionally lose games, but they should probably grease the wheels a little bit by letting Dennis do anything he wants on the court. He’s losing out in the rookie hype arms-race to a bunch of players now, players who may be better or who may just get more opportunities. Donovan Mitchell scored 40. That’s what Dennis needs to do. 40 with a couple of explosive dunks.
Tonight was a good start towards that goal, exactly halfway there, except point totals don’t carry over into other games. So he’s going to be starting right back at zero next game, and he has to play like it.