Mavericks to visit Utah, kiss preseason goodbye

The Mavericks will close out the preseason Friday at Utah.

Three games don’t give a lot of opportunity to iron out things. But the Mavericks feel like they are getting closer to being wrinkle-free.

“I still feel like we got a great energy around the team,” said swingman Reggie Bullock. “We got a lot of players that can put the ball on the floor and score. We can shoot the ball at a high clip. And I think our locker-room presence and our rim protection is going to be huge for us bringing in a guy like (Christian) Wood. He can shoot threes, defend around the board, rebound.”

In other words, he gives the Mavericks what they were missing in last year’s Western Conference finals against Golden State. With Wood teaming with JaVale McGee, the Mavericks are hoping to make up for the free-agent loss of Jalen Brunson.

And Friday will be the last dress rehearsal (8 p.m. tipoff, Bally’s Sports).

“We got goals for this year, which is obviously to build off of last year’s momentum,” Bullock said. “It’s not going to be easy. But it’s going to be fun to be a part of.

“We definitely could have used a big to rebound, rim protect. JaVale’s a winner. He’s won championships, has a championship mentality.”

Coach Jason Kidd said he will treat the trip to Utah as if it were a critical game. The rotation will be as it is projected to be for the regular-season opener Wednesday at Phoenix.

A little help: The Mavericks are gathering all the information they can during training camp and a part of that process is tapping into Dirk Nowitzki’s wealth of knowledge.

The Mavericks’ legend has been a near-constant onlooker at Mavericks’ practices.

“It shows what the past means to the Mavs,” Kidd said. “Dirk’s IQ is off the charts. Not just for the players, but for the coaches.

“We’re kind of using him as a consultant for the coaches – what he likes. Text him, talk to him, what he likes about practice, what he didn’t like. He says he could have played for me, which is a great compliment, but I told him it’s too fast (for him).”

As a rule, owner Mark Cuban is a big fan of making franchise icons members of the organization for life, if they desire. Particularly so with Nowitzki.

“He’s the best,” Kidd said. “It’s great for our organization to have past players come back and be involved. He sent us his notes after the first week. I’m waiting on his notes for the second week. He’s been involved. He’s been great.”

Twitter: @ESefko


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