Thunder vs. Mavericks Preseason NBA Picks

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 9:05 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 9:05 PM UTC

While it's assumed that the Oklahoma City Thunder is a team that's going to decline greatly, this isn't the case as this is still a team with a lot of weapons; mainly one of the best players in the NBA in Russell Westbrook. See how we think the Thunder will fare tonight when they collide with Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in this Tuesday NBA preseason matchup.



Mavericks on the Decline

According to NBA odds for this game, the Mavericks are a 2.5 point betting favorite and the total is listed at 197.5. The Mavs are far from a definite option as this a team with holes in certain positions and are an aging team.

The owner, Marc Cuban, wants to hold onto Dirk Nowitzki, who still is Dallas' best player with a slight decline, for his entire career due to Dirk's commitment to excellence and the NBA Championship that Dirk brought to Dallas as they defeated the Miami Heat some years back.

Dirk didn't play in Dallas' last game, an 88-74 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. I know this is the preseason and the games don't officially count, the Mavs will be hard pressed to provide a ton of offense as there's no legitimate go-to guy without Dirk Nowitzki in the lineup.

Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews, who are both players that can be counted on but are somewhat on the decline, are two viable options for Dallas. Both players combined for just 8 points in their last game, but each played under 20 minutes and have the ability to put the rock in the ocean. Williams played really poorly against the Bucks as he turned the ball over 5 times. He still has some "tread on the tire", so to speak and I expect him and Matthews to have a better game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.


Preseason Producer

Another player to look at for the Mavs is 6 foot 11 forward, Dwight Powell. Dallas really lacks a big man, but Powell has been doing the job in the preseason. He's coming off of a 15 point game against Milwaukee and look for him to have more opportunities if Dirk Nowitzki doesn't play.

There's really not much positive to say about the Mavericks as they're going to have a very tough season this year and they should also have difficulties against an Oklahoma City Thunder offense, led by Russell Westbrook, that's going to turn this game into a track meet as nobody can on the Mavs can stop Westbrook on the defensive end.


Astronomical Numbers?

Without Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka on the Thunder anymore, this opens the door for Russell Westbrook to really showcase his skills as he's the quarterback of this team and quite frankly, we're going to see a lot of triple-doubles from Westbrook this season.When Kevin Durant was injured in previous games, Westbrook was unstoppable as he tried to do everything himself.

This was a Thunder team that had Golden State on the ropes in the playoffs last season with a 3-1 lead. Although two key pieces are gone, Victor Oladipo is an upgrade from Serge Ibaka on the offensive end and I expect Enes Kanter's game to flourish.We might see a small amount of it in this game as players playing time is limited due to this being a preseason game, but I expect to see Russell Westbrook look for Enes Kanter on a regular basis when he's not driving to the hoop himself.


Major Advantage For OKC at the Center Position

Both the trio of Kanter, Westbrook, and Oladipo were key figures in their last game against FC Barcelona and I expect this to continue. Kanter is coming off of a 24 point, 8 rebound performance and the Mavericks have no legitimate center. Look for Kanter to have another monster game as the only person that can stop him is himself.

Add in key additions to the Thunder coming off of the bench such as Ersan Ilyasova and this Thunder team should have no problems against the Mavericks. The key in this game for a successful NBA pick, is not just Russell Westbrook, it's the talent on the inside and look for the Thunder to beat up the Mavericks on the road.


Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder +3 1/2
Best Line Offered: at 5 Dimes


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