Luka Doncic and 2 other Dallas Mavericks that the Utah Jazz have to game plan for

The Utah Jazz have the Dallas Mavericks up next and the team has to worry about Luka Doncic and company.
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz - Game Six
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz - Game Six / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

The Utah Jazz have to contend with one of the more improved teams from the 2022-2023 season in the Dallas Mavericks. Luka Doncic and company have a much better roster than in previous seasons and look to be a real tough out for anyone who faces off with them in the playoffs. With Kyrie Irving on the squad still, the Mavs are going to be one of the better offensive units going, and with the recent young additions, the defense is much improved.

But when the two teams clash for the first time this season, will the Jazz be able to fend off the Mavericks' persistent attack? It'll be harder without Lauri Markkanen, who is eying a return to the Jazz later this week, or earlier next week, but he won't be back in time for the forthcoming Mavericks bout.

That means the Jazz will have to devise their gameplan around who the Mavericks are going to rely on the most, and we think these three Mavericks playres are going to be a handful.

Luke Doncic

Obviously Doncic is a player the Jazz have to key on. He's the best player in the league not named Nikola Jokic. The lone issue with Doncic is he's an average defender at best, but thanks to the improved defense, the team no longer have to ask Doncic to be better than he is. His shot making and play-creation, however, is second-to-none and even if you key Doncic up early with the best defenders you can muster, he's still going to get his.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Once considered as a player the Mavs could trade to get better, Tim Hardaway Jr. is now one of the most vital players on the Mavericks roster and is arguably the front-runner for the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He's going to be someone that the second unit has to focus on slowing down.

Derek Lively Jr.

Doncic is the team's top-rated defender according to defensive box plus-minus, but Derek Lively Jr. is third in that category behind Doncic and Dwight Powell, but he's second on the team in rebounding, and first on the team in block shots. Lively is not someone to sleep on and his defense is going to poise a problem for the Jazz, especially the likes of John Collins, who can be disrupted rather easily if you body him.

Next. 7 Difference-makers the Utah Jazz signed past their prime. 7 Difference-makers the Utah Jazz signed past their prime. dark