Whether they actually believe it, or simply have no choice, the Dallas Mavericks rely heavily on a vulnerable backcourt consisting of Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, with the point guard especially crucial to their plans, considering they didn’t go out and get someone who can push D-Will out of the lineup.
While Matthews missed only 4 games last season, he didn’t live up to the expectations. His torn achilles injury from the previous season showed a lingering effect, with Matthews scoring 3.4 points less per game compared to his final season in Portland, and more worrying was his shooting percentage, a career low 38.8% after being a 44%-ish shooter previously. His 3-point shooting also declined, but 36% isn’t abysmal as his field goal numbers.
Williams, as usual, missed a big chunk of games, playing in 65. He did have a better season than his last Brooklyn year, averaging 14.1 points per game, but while Dirk Nowitzki said the Mavericks had a key player, and maybe their best player at times when Williams was completely healthy, the Mavericks were losing by 0.6 points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor, and were actually slightly worse off during his minutes compared to his absences.
Matthews is slightly younger and might rebound. He’s also a better defender than Williams, and probably has better backups, if you consider Justin Anderson a shooting guard and Seth Curry a worthy secondary option. However, the Mavericks, who knew their point guard position is a problem, went ahead and didn’t break up the Williams-Barea-Harris trio, leaving them with a very limited playmaker section, which is crucial on a team with very few players who can create for themselves and others.
While Williams is no longer the 20-10 guy he used to be four or five years ago, a healthy him does present the Mavericks with a good, experiences, smart point guard, who can use his size to punish teams playing with smaller lineups and lighter lineups. However, Williams’ track record suggests being healthy for 70+ games a season is rare (hasn’t happened since 2012-2013), and half the time he still plays with some sort of injury limiting him, which presents another issue for a Mavericks team that keeps failing at upgrading ever since they won the NBA title in 2011.