And just like that — poof — the Dallas Mavericks 2017-2018 season is officially in the books after losing big to the Phoenix Suns in the finale tonight 124-97. The Mavs finished the season with a disappointing 24-58 record, but there were a lot of bright spots to look forward to going into next season, especially when it comes to the continued development of Dennis Smith Jr. Franchise legend Dirk Nowitzki is set to come back next year as long as his ankle rehab going according to plan, and the Mavs seem to be primed to have a big summer ahead of them. This may the end of game coverage for this season, but stay tuned to Mavs Moneyball throughout the off season for some outstanding NBA Draft and Free Agency coverage.
Now, with all the “end of the season” formalities out of the way, we’ll get back to the actual game! Here’s three things we learned tonight.
Here’s to hoping we don't have to hear about “tanking” again for a long time
I know, I know — we’ve actually had a lot of fun tracking where the Mavs could potentially end up in the NBA Draft this year, especially when it was obvious that this season was a lost cause. That said, I really don’t want the Mavs to be a part of what we had to witness tonight ever again. The Mavs and the Suns both only had eight active players each tonight, which led to having these starting lineups.
My hope is that we will never have to witness a starting lineup like this for a really long time after the Mavs add another cornerstone piece in this year’s draft and test their luck in Free Agency. I really like some of those guys shown above, and I know this final game didn’t really have a lot of meaning, but Dirk deserves better next season.
Alec Peters became a “team tank” legend tonight for the Mavs
On a night where potential draft lottery odds were still unsettled, “team tank” fans everywhere weren’t very optimistic that the Mavs would end the season tied for the 3rd best odds. This is where an unexpected hero came into play, and his name is Alec Peters. Peters, a two-way contract player for the Suns, put on an incredible performance in the season finale, putting up 36 points (12-of-20 FG) and 9 rebounds off the bench. I don’t normally use one of these “things” to focus on one of the opposing teams’ players, but Peters deserves it, being that his performance was so shocking.
There's a gaggle of both Mavs and Suns fans cheering Alec Peters (36pts) behind the Suns bench— Mavs Moneyball (@mavsmoneyball) April 11, 2018
Dirk could possibly come off the bench next season
During the second quarter of this game, J.J. Barea joined Mark Followill and Derek Harper in the broadcasting booth to talk about his career season in review. During that time, Barea was offered the idea of Dirk coming off the bench next season, and he seemed thrilled about that possibility. I’ve said for a while now, that Dirk would be one of the best 6th men in the league if he were to come off the bench. As efficient as Dirk still is, he would absolutely torch other teams’ second units. The only question is whether or not Dirk would be too still coming off the bench instead of starting.
Whether that scenario happens or not, it’s fun to think about the possibility, regardless. Another Mavs’ season is in the history books, but Dirk will be back for his 21st NBA season next year, and we might get to see a new beginning for him if he does decide to come off the bench.