Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks

Washington Wizards Luka Doncic Kristaps Porzingis (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Luka Doncic Kristaps Porzingis (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Dallas’s dynamic new duo is the talk of the town. Can the Washington Wizards wrangle a couple of wins from the Mavericks this season?

Washington Wizards record versus Dallas Mavericks last season: 1-1

Dallas lost: Dirk Nowitzki, Trey Burke

Dallas added: Kristaps Porzingis, Boban Marjanovic, Seth Curry, Delon Wright

The Dirk Nowitzki era is officially over in Dallas after 21 Hall-of-Fame seasons. The Mavericks aren’t out of the conversation now that their Euro legend is gone, though. In true Mavericks fashion, they’ve reloaded with not one but two promising European stars.

By acquiring Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks in the middle of last season, the Mavericks locked up one of the more intriguing young duos in the NBA. While Porzingis sat out the entire season as he recovered from an ACL tear, his new teammate Luka Doncic was on his way to winning Rookie of the Year.

We’ve yet to see the two in anything but preseason action, but expectations are sky-high for the future in Dallas. Porzingis hasn’t played a game of meaningful basketball since February 2018, though. When he takes the court on opening night, it will be over 20 months since his last regular-season game. Who knows what they Mavericks will be getting from him this season and beyond. They must be pretty confident in his ability to bounce back, though. After all, they did sign him to a five-year, $156 million extension last June.

Like the Nowitzki experience, the Harrison Barnes project officially came to an end last season when they moved him to the Sacramento Kings. It’s a move that was undoubtedly made easier by the addition of Tim Hardaway Jr, a near carbon copy of Barnes, who also came over in the Porzingis trade. It’s a real spider-man meme situation with the two of them on the same roster. Somebody had to go.

Some fun offseason additions such as Bob Marjanovic and Seth Curry should make this a competitive team, but they aren’t quite a playoff contender in the West. Not yet, at least. The future, though, looks very bright.

Wizards to Watch

Games against Dallas will be a test for Rui Hachimura.

The Washington Wizards don’t seem to have a permanent position for Hachimura just yet as they continue to experiment with where he’ll best fit at the NBA level. He’s seen time at both the three and four during the pre-season and has looked comfortable in both roles. With injuries abound entering their first game, the Wizards will have to get creative with their lineups.

If the Wizards elect to roll with Hachimura at the three against Dallas, he could be in for a big night going up against Justin Jackson. That’s not to say Jackson’s a bum. He’s an NBA starter, so that certainly isn’t the case. But entering his third NBA season, Jackson is still figuring some things out. That type of matchup bodes much better for Hachimura than when he’s against more established stars. Jackson’s defensive ability is noteworthy — he fits the three and D mold quite well — so scoring won’t come easy. Hachimura will have a 20-pound advantage working in his favor, though.

If the Wizards move Hachimura down to the four, which they certainly will, he’ll get a healthy dose of Porzingis all night long. Porzingis is a tough assignment for anyone, let alone a rookie surrendering seven inches.

2019-20 Game Predictions

Wednesday, October 23 in Dallas

The season starts on the road for the Washington Wizards with a trip to the lone star state. The building will be buzzing with energy as the first game of the post-Nowitzki era begins. Unfortunately, some rust from Porzingis and a good fight from this revitalized Wizards organization ruin this duo’s debut. Wizards start the season with a win.

Next. Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Los Angeles Lakers. dark

Friday, February 7 in D.C.

This game will be the night after the trade deadline, and the Wizards are likely to have made more moves than the Mavericks. Expect a few new (or less) faces on the Wizards roster by this point in the season. Also, expect a Mavericks win.