Matthes Manifesto II: The Western Conference

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 5: The Golden State Warriors stands for the National Anthem before the game against the Sacramento Kings on October 5, 2018 at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 5: The Golden State Warriors stands for the National Anthem before the game against the Sacramento Kings on October 5, 2018 at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 4
Next
DALLAS, TX – OCTOBER 12: DeAndre Jordan #6 talks with Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks : Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX – OCTOBER 12: DeAndre Jordan #6 talks with Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks : Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks have a good chance of making the playoffs. The reason they lead-off this slide and are not higher up is because they need a lot more pieces to fall perfectly into place than every team in front of them.

It starts with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. the Mavs need him to build upon his impressive rookie campaign. Then they will need rookie Luka Doncic to have as impressive a rookie season as Smith did a year ago.

Then they need Wesley Matthews to not slip at all in his three-point shooting, and they need Harrison Barnes to deliver another quietly brilliant season. Next, they need Dwight Powell to prove that he can be a leading man at power forward, even if it is a bench role. They need DeAndre Jordan to keep gobbling up rebounds at a league-best pace.

And they need Dirk Nowitzki to go out strong like Manu Ginobili did last year. If all of that happens, and all of it needs to happen, then they might be able to shock the West and slip into the playoffs.

OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 08: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 08: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns

If Phoenix had a point guard…that’s the biggest “if” for the 2018-19 Suns. If Phoenix had a point guard then Devin Booker could get easier looks at shooting guard and continue setting the NBA ablaze.

More from Pacers News

If Phoenix had a point guard, he’d be able to breakdown the defense and find Ryan Anderson, Trevor Ariza, and Mikal Bridges open in the corners. If Phoenix had a point guard, Deandre Ayton and Tyson Chandler will be able to pad their point total will and endless barrage of lobs and alley-oops. If Phoenix had a point guard, they’d be in playoff consideration.

But, Phoenix doesn’t have a point guard. Sure, they have players who will play the point. There’s soon-to-be 21 year-old Elie Okobo, a rookie. And there’s journeyman Isaiah Canaan who’s playing on his fourth team in five years. And then there’s another rookie De’Anthony Melton, who hasn’t played competitive basketball in two years.

Maybe one of them is the point guard. Maybe one of them will one day become the point guard. In all likelihood, the point guard is not currently on Phoenix’s roster. And the Suns are going to win only a few games because of it.

PORTLAND, OR – OCTOBER 12: Marvin Bagley III #35 and Harry Giles #20 of the Sacramento Kings grabs the rebound  Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR – OCTOBER 12: Marvin Bagley III #35 and Harry Giles #20 of the Sacramento Kings grabs the rebound  Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings

It has been 13 seasons since the Sacramento Kings last made the playoffs. Dave Joerger is their tenth head coach in that stretch. Last year the Kings were the worst offensive team, an average defensive team and they lost 28 more games than they won. There are no reasons to expect this season to go any differently than the previous 13 seasons have. Again the West is so deep that it’s hard to imagine a team like Sacramento being able to string enough wins together to empirically prove a breakthrough.

There are some reasons to hope though. Somewhere in the quintet of De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield, Yogi Ferrell and Frank Mason III is the embryonic stages of a quality backcourt. Somewhere between Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Marvin Bagley III is the foundation for a dynamic and giant frontcourt. Somewhere, on that roster as currently constructed, is the beginning of a team that can be pretty good down the road. They are still missing several pieces (like a star, or a dynamic small forward, or both) but it feels like Sacramento actually has direction.

Next. Why Indiana's offseason may not have been so great. dark

Which by the Kings’ recent standards should qualify as progress.