After reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2022, the Mavericks ended the 2022-23 season disappointingly. Even with the departure of Jalen Brunson, the expectation was for Dinwiddie to take on an additional workload and replicate the success from a season ago.
No doubt, there were both highs and lows throughout the year – as is typically the case for any season. It was the inconsistency down the stretch of the season that hurt this team (particularly given the opportunities to win favorable games and position this team into a playoff s spot in the standings).
The Mavericks couldn’t seem to hold opposing teams from outscoring them. The defensive accomplishments seen in 2021-22, which was a huge part of Dallas’ success, wasn’t there this season. On top of that, Dallas ranked last in the league in rebounding differential.
Fittingly, in GM Nico Harrison’s 2023 Exit Interview, he stated, “The two biggest things we need: defense, period. And then rebounding. So, that’s going to be addressed.”
So pointing the finger at Irving doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, even if you desperately seek a scapegoat. The Maverick lineups with Luka and Kyrie on the floor had an offensive rating of 118.6. This ranks second in the entire league.
The move to acquire Irving was clearly one with the long-term in mind. The question remains if Irving will have Dallas across his chest come opening night.
Irving joins Christian Wood and Dwight Powell as notable Maverick free agents this summer.
I’d imagine that Powell returns on an inexpensive deal. Dwight Powell is the longest-tenured Maverick and has proven to be a true professional. Wood, on the other hand, might be ready to move on after not being on the same page with Coach Kidd.
This summer is a big one for the Mavericks. They have to improve in those areas that Nico Harrison identified, whether that be through free agency, the draft, or via trade.