Luka Dončić | 21.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6 apg
Despite opening last season with just three wins across their first ten games, Dončić quickly surpassed initial expectations with his court vision and poise (first game excluded…). Yes, his efficiency could have been better, but what did you expect from a rookie guard?
Thrown in at the deep end, he started all 72 games he suited up for – and for a coach whose relationships with his guards (particularly young guards) is notoriously bristly. Luka shone, ultimately displaying Rick Carlisle’s faith in him, finishing 11th in usage rate (30.5).
It transpires that having spent four seasons (three full) as a pro with Real Madrid, provided the wonder kid with a solid foundation to jump to the NBA. His averages of 21.2, 7.8 and 6 hadn’t been seen from a Rookie since Oscar Robertson in 1960-61 (via bball ref).
Sophomore slumps are relatively common, but any stagnation, let alone a backwards slide, would be a disappointment. Expectations are ramping up and Dončić will need to prove he can shoulder the load of a marquee player, for whom defenses are specifically engineered to control.
Kristaps Porzingis | DNP
Porzingis. Once the big apple of New York’s eye, comes into the 2019-20 season with a lot of question marks hanging above him. The fate of Dallas’s season and immediate future hangs, like the sword of Damocles, above the Latvian as he strives to achieve his true potential while the fan base tries to get comfortable with his a chequered injury history. Expect lots of winces every time the big guy meets contact.
Maxi Kleber | 6.8ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1 apg
Maxi Kleber, despite being significantly older than his NBA experience would suggest, continued to make big strides in his second full season. The 6’11 power forward upped his court time by 4.4 minutes per game and almost doubled the number of threes he took, hitting at a higher rate of .353.
His per 36 stats are in intriguing 11.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. And while it’s unlikely that Kleber ever gets near to that volume of minutes, he can be a reliable stretch big off the bench.
Dorian Finney-Smith | 7.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
Finney-Smith’s route to the NBA from an undrafted collegiate, working his way onto a training camp roster to now, with three seasons already under his belt, signing a new three year deal in July, is a story of hard work and chasing dreams paying off. 2019-20 provides the 6’8 wing with his greatest chance to secure himself a starting role in the NBA. He has the skill-set of a much coveted 3 and D player, with great block, steal and rebounding (offensive and defensive) percentage stats amongst wings. His 32 percent click from three is passable despite ranking lowly for a wing, if he can improve this by a few percent, he will become a key weapon in Dallas’s arsenal.