When you have a guy like Luka Doncic, it may feel like you don’t need much more in order to have success as a team. All great players need some backup and right now, it seems like Doncic doesn’t have a lot of help.
That’s not Rick Carlisle’s fault, that’s not Doncic’s fault, that’s not even his teammate’s fault.
That problem boils down to the front office.
Outside of the Porzingis trade (which also netted them Tim Hardaway Jr.), what win now moves has Dallas’ front office made since Luka Doncic has been here? I cannot think of many.
The best acquisition besides the KP trade was drafting Jalen Brunson in the second round of the 2018 draft. Outside of that, Dallas has continued to sit on their hands in the offseason and that is starting to show.
Let’s recount some of the moves the Mavs have made in the past couple of seasons.
After the trade with New York, Dallas sent Harrison Barnes to Sacramento in exchange for Justin Jackson and cap space. At the time, this didn’t feel like an awful trade because Barnes was not having the best year and any time you can end up with extra cap room, it feels like at least a semi-win of a trade. But the Mavericks did absolutely nothing with that money. They signed Boban Marjanovich and traded for Delon Wright. That’s it. That’s all they did. So looking back on it now, it appears that Dallas traded away a solid NBA player who would be a good fit in Dallas now, for one of the worst players in the league in Justin Jackson and cap space that they didn’t use.
That same summer they had no draft pick so let’s fast forward to last summer. First off, they butchered a draft that seemed impossible to screw up. While the 2020 draft was not top-heavy, it was labeled as one of the deepest drafts in a long time. The Mavs had a middle first-round pick and the choice seemed so obvious. Desmond Bane was right there. A SG from TCU whose only downside was his age and wingspan. It seemed like a perfect fit for Dallas as he could shoot the lights out of the ball. But instead, Dallas got cute and picked Josh Green from Arizona. The player Josh Green does not upset me, it is more the fact that he doesn’t play regularly while guys like Desmond Bane and Saddiq Bey are having productive rookie seasons.
Later that night, the Mavs traded Seth Curry for Josh Richardson. Seth Curry is a historically great shooter and had been a giant part of the Mavericks’ success the prior season. Josh Richardson was coming off of a bad year in Philadelphia. Surprise… Seth Curry has been a productive contribution on one of the top teams in the NBA while Josh Richardson has been inconsistent and at some points just bad. The clues were there. Last season with the 76ers, Josh Richardson looked lost offensively. Initially, it was thought to be a fit problem, but if you’re Dallas, why risk trading an established player on your team for somebody who you only hope will work out.
Josh Richardson was never going to make you that much better. So why do you make that deal? Why are the Mavericks obsessed with acquiring players who they HOPE will work out? Why can’t they bring in players that will definitely make them better?
This has been an issue for a long time. The Mavericks had Dirk Nowitzki, one of the 20 best players of all time, for 21 years and only won one championship. There seems to be a mentality in the front office that if you have a superstar, you don’t need much else which is wrong. During the Dirk era, Dallas took swings at big-time free agents all the time and missed on every one of them. While Dallas’ odds haven’t been the best, it’s clear that finding the best odds is key to maximizing your returns when placing your wagers and Sports Betting Dime has you covered with the latest lines for all remaining Mavs games.
So why not trade for someone? Why not sign a player who may not be considered a star, but can still hoop?
The answer to that is Dallas thinks that they can grow all of their own players and turn them into these role pieces. Almost all of this year’s Mavs roster is made up of second-rounders/ undrafted players. Most of those guys have turned out great. Maxi Kleber has turned into an awesome 3-and-D big. He would be a perfect backup big man for any team, but Dallas asks more of him. Same for Dorian Finney-Smith. DFS is another player that any contender would want. But he would surely be a bench player. He starts for Dallas. The problem is not that the Mavericks do not have good players, it’s that they don’t have enough good players.
You can blame that on them not taking the draft seriously or botching every single free agency, but the truth is that they just fall in love with the idea of players rather than actual production.
They love the idea of picking up undrafted free agents and turning them into important players. It worked with JJ Barea and it’s worked so far with Kleber and Finney-Smith, but truthfully those guys would be so much better coming off the bench. At some point, you have to let go of that mindset and you have to get guys who can play, a perfect example being Tim Hardaway Jr.
This upcoming offseason is a gigantic one. Even if they can’t lure a superstar they need to bring in established players. They could have enough for a max player but that also means they could have enough for two or three third/fourth tier players which is something that they absolutely could use.
Another superstar would be fantastic but that hasn’t worked out for Dallas ever.
They can’t afford to keep putting all of their eggs in one basket and hoping it works. Because when it doesn’t work out, they have to settle.
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