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Inside Mavs’ first practice under Jason Kidd: From scrimmage hype to a Luka Doncic half-court swish

Dallas didn’t accomplish Kidd’s top preseason goals on Day 1, but the team still finished the workout with something to celebrate.

There was plenty of clapping and hollering, a technicolored sound system blaring and, of course, a Luka Doncic half-court swish.

Welcome to the first official practice for Jason Kidd’s Mavericks.

Kidd said after the session Tuesday, which ran more than an hour past its original 11:30 a.m. wrap time, that “the energy and the effort and the communication was at an all-time high.”

That might be — at once — training camp coach speak and still factual because there was zero precedent for the 2021-22 Mavericks’ practice demeanor before Tuesday.

Regardless, the mix of returning players, new workout elements and some fresh, but familiar, faces left the Mavericks with high spirits after their preseason start.

“It was one of the most fun practices we’ve been a part of,” second-year wing Josh Green said. “Everybody was together, moving the ball and it’s always fun to be a part of that and going at each other and just doing what we love to do.”

We’ll start with the most obvious observations from the first portion of a non-bubble Mavericks practice some reporters were allowed to attend since the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020:

Luka Doncic looked in rhythm — in on-court work and in personality.

In the final segment of practice, Doncic ran the point in a scrimmage and teamed with center and best friend Boban Marjanovic for a putback score.

Doncic unleashed some high kicks in his neon Jordan Brand sneakers between runs, rotated with Tim Hardaway Jr. on individual 3-point work and bounced a ball off a side wall before jogging to midcourt and casually heaving a halfcourt shot.

Clearly not everything has changed since the Mavericks’ summer of upheaval.

But the open portion of practice did reveal some new wrinkles.

Perhaps the most notable moment during the scrimmage: Green received the ball on the high post and hit a turnaround fadeaway shot with confidence not always visible during his rookie season.

Second-year guard Tyrell Terry ran the point for one of the scrimmage units and swished a 3-pointer.

Moses Brown, the 7-1 center the Mavericks acquired in trading Josh Richardson, showed off his towering size and funky one-handed 3-point shot.

Some of the Mavericks’ returning leaders, including Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dwight Powell, shouted often from the sidelines when not in the action.

All the while, music boomed from a neon, flashing sound system stationed near the back right corner of the court.

“Just overall, it’s such a competitive environment,” Green said. “It’s a great vibe.”

Kidd didn’t divulge much about the Mavericks’ happenings before reporters were admitted.

Over the first few sessions, expect Kidd to teach his new system and terminologies before harping on the details.

To get started, though, he had a few additional helpers on hand.

Tim Grgurich, an integral, unofficial coach on the Mavericks 2010-11 championship staff, arrived at the facility at 6:15 a.m. and contributed to his former pupil Kidd’s first official practice.

So did title teammate Tyson Chandler, who has worked with the Mavericks’ big men since August as part of the Mavericks Legends part-time coaching program Mark Cuban started this season.

“You saw him in there sparring with Boban,” Kidd quipped about Chandler. “Made him look small.”

The Mavericks didn’t accomplish Kidd’s main goals on Preseason Day 1: building better chemistry and accountability. He knows that will take time.

But the team did have something to celebrate in its final huddle.

They wrapped up by singing “Happy Birthday” to Terry, now 21, and then dispersed for more shooting and lifting.

Find more Mavericks coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

In This Story

Callie Caplan, Staff Writer. Callie Caplan covers the Dallas Mavericks, high school football and Olympic sports. She has also written for The Washington Post, USA Today and The Baltimore Sun and graduated from the University of Maryland in 2017.

callie.caplan@dallasnews.com @CallieCaplan
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