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Hot Take: The Dallas Mavericks are this year’s Denver Nuggets

Lost in the buzz around rebuilding teams rising in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks are about to be back at the top of the standings

Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to Hot Take Week on Detroit Bad Boys. Longtime readers of Detroit Bad Boys might remember the old slogan on the masthead – “A Detroit Pistons blog with completely fair and unbiased opinions of 29 of the Association’s 30 teams.” We’re going to live that truth with writers delivering blistering truth bombs that may or may not resemble reality all week. There are only two rules:

  1. No writing about the Detroit Pistons
  2. No doing any research in support of your argument – it all had to come from the gut.

The summer is a time for takes.

We’ve seen it with the Pelicans, the Hawks, the Bulls, and the Heat. These teams MIGHT be better than you think. I haven’t seen the Mavericks getting hyped enough, and that’s a damn shame because Rick Carlisle is about to bring Dallas back toward the top.

I don’t buy that the Pelicans are going to be good right off the bat. The Grizzlies are a ways way, the Suns are never going to figure it out and the Timberwolves are just stuck being the Timberwolves. The Kings might be good but they aren’t as good as Dallas and the Spurs and Thunder are old and going in the wrong direction.

Luka Doncic was a star as a rookie and he’s only going to get better. That’s one thing we know the Mavs have that the rest of the “may be good” crop of teams does not — a star. Doncic can be the best player on a playoff team next year, even in the West.

Part of that is the return of Kristaps Porzingis, who sat out last season rehabbing his torn ACL. They’re a perfect pairing for today’s NBA: skilled with the ball, able to scoring at all three levels and stylistically capable of playing off on another beautifully.

There are certainly very large ugly warts with Porzingis off the court, and some lesser ones on the court. We saw what he looked like as the No. 1 guy in New York and, outside of some big games in losses, it appeared too much for him when it came to carrying a team over the course of the long year.

He won’t have to be that guy alongside Doncic, and that’ll lead to the best version of Porzingis.

The rest of the roster doesn’t catch your eye, but it’s filled with useful role players who fill their role to a tee. Jalen Brunson, a second-round steal last summer, is the perfect secondary ball handler with Doncic.

Veterans like Tim Hardaway Jr., J.J. Barea, Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell fill needed roles for the team and are good fits for what coach Rick Carlisle likes to do. That’s the other factor: they’ve got one of the best coaches in basketball in Carlisle and an owner in Mark Cuban committed to winning.

If the opportunity to trade for Bradley Beal, the league’s most underrated player as some think, arose, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Mavs throw anything not named Doncic or Porzingis at Washington.

Dallas is coming. They may have one of the league’s best players as soon as this season.

The Mavericks are coming for a top-three seed in a surprisingly open Western Conference.

Watch out.