A day late and a dollar short, but it’s here. It’s time for week two of the Dallas Mavericks roster risers and fallers.

Last week saw Dallas go 3-1, collecting wins over the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings. The one loss was to the Denver Nuggets in an ugly road game where everyone struggled.

Before getting started, here are the ground rules: The rankings are based on the last week of play, overall impact, efficiency, and what was said about the players during that given week. And if a player is left off the list, assume their position is neither rising or falling.


1.) Frank Ntilikina. 

Stats: 5.4 points per game and 41 percent from behind the 3-point line.

The breakdown: Dallas signed Ntilikina late in the offseason. He wasn’t supposed to emerge and a key rotation piece for this version of the team. If anything, he was supposed to be a defensive specialist, who on the right night could provide some meaningful minutes. That hasn’t been the case. He’s often been a catalyst for the “comeback Mavs.” There is a reason head coach Jason Kidd said he couldn’t keep Ntilikina off the floor. A big part of that reason has to be that the Mavericks are a plus-20 when he’s playing.

Moment of the week:

2.) Maxi Kleber

Stats: 7.2 points per game, 5.3 rebounds, 47.8 percent from 3-point range, 97.4 DEFRTG.

The breakdown: Kleber has always been an underrated defensive player, except in Dallas. After his six-block performance against the Spurs and another dreadfully slow start against Denver, Kidd elected to start him against Sacramento. The lineup change worked. The best version of Dallas has Kleber playing well. He would have been first on this list, if not for an injury in the second quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kings. He does everything Dallas needs out of the four-spot on the floor. If healthy throughout week three, expect him to pick up right where he left off.

Moment of the week: 


1.) Tim Hardaway jr. 

Stats: 13.7 points per game, 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 8.2 PIE.

The breakdown: Through six games, Hardaway is averaging the fourth-most minutes played in his career. He’s rewarded the extra minutes by averaging the seventh-lowest points per game output of his career. When he’s on the floor, he’s a minus-six on the season, and he hasn’t looked like the Hardaway who ended last season being a key scorer on the roster.

Whether it’s the new system or shots aren’t falling, for Dallas to be a good team, the offense relies on Hardaway spacing the floor from the perimeter. He is shooting 38 percent from 3-point range on roughly the same amount of attempts as last season. However, he appears to be scoring points in far fewer bunches.

Moment of the week: Here is this interesting stat.

2.) Kristaps Porzingis. 

Stats: 12.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.2 PIE.

The breakdown: Porzingis has to be on the list of falling players because he is hurt again. Not playing for a week due to back tightness is concerning for any basketball player. It is even more concerning when it’s a 7-foot-3 forward who has a history of injuries. All offseason everyone was told how impactful a healthy offseason was to Porzingis. Yet, at the six-game mark, he’s hurt again.

Moment of the week: 

This week at a glance: 

Dallas plays a grueling three-game stretch this week where the team plays the Miami Heat tonight at 6:30 central. From there, Dallas goes on to play San Antonio in San Antonio on Wednesday. And lastly, the Mavericks wrap up the week on Saturday playing the Boston Celtics. The Heat will be a real litmus test. Dallas has routinely been outplayed by playoff teams this season. If Dallas can hold its own against Miami, it bodes well for the future of this team. Expect the Mavericks to go 1-2 during this week of games.

Related Mavericks reading: 

“Doncic hits his stride and lifts Mavericks over the Sacramento Kings.” 

Feature image via  Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.