[Editor’s note: As we mentioned the other day, we’re getting an early jump on some free agency coverage over the next few weeks, some realistic and some more fun. Enjoy and let us know who you’d like to see us cover in the comments! -RL]
Free agency is so very far away. Yet with little else to do but dream for the Mavericks, it seems worth it to begin the free agency dive in earnest with none other than the best free agent on the 2019 market in Kevin Durant.
Though it’s been recently reported that the Mavericks have no shot with top tier free agents like Durant, there’s nothing lost by discussing a player of his caliber. The Mavericks will always have a need for another wing and playmaker, so starting our free agency discussions with a guy who’s best in class at both these designations makes sense.
Kevin Durant is a 7’0” tall 240 pound ‘do anything’ forward who may well be the best player in the world at this exact moment. Closing in on 31, Durant’s spent the last three years of his prime with the Golden State Warriors where he’s claimed the Finals MVP along with the NBA Championship the past two seasons.
Opinions on Durant are mixed simply due to his choice to join Golden State following the 2015-16 season. Yet in his 12 years in the NBA, Durant’s become one of the best players in league history. He’s already 31st all time on the scoring list and stands a strong chance of finishing in the top five if he keeps playing long enough. We know who he is:
Everything? It might really be everything. At seven feet tall with superb handles and strength, it’s hard to identify what he’s bad at on the basketball court. Though his career averages pop off the page (27 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists), his time with Golden State’s allowed him to hone his efficiency. This past regular season he scored 26 points while shooting 52 percent from the floor, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out nearly 6 assists a game.
At times during the regular season, it’s nearly impossible to determine how good Durant actually is, simply because he doesn’t always have to be at his best on the best team in the league. Yet as the playoffs have shown, Durant’s still quite capable of elevating his game when called upon.
He’s really good at basketball. Don’t overthink this.
Durant’s biggest challenge may always be figuring out exactly what he wants. Despite winning two championships (and potentially a third) with the Warriors, Durant has not always seemed happy. His decision to sign repeated short term deals with Golden State leaves him open to constant questions about his future with the team, which he’s reacted poorly to say the least.
But these criticisms aren’t applicable to his play. At 31, with his size, basketball IQ, and durability, there are no discernible weaknesses to his game.
Durant deserves to be happy and he seems happiest when getting to play basketball without distractions. The question of if that’s possible may linger for the rest of his career.
Fit with the Mavericks
Does an extremely good basketball player fit with the Dallas Mavericks? The short answer is “duh”, but the longer answer might be more complicated. Luka Doncic is a high usage player but clearly needs a second playmaker to relieve the pressure. How Kristaps Porzingis fits is a question worth pondering beyond this post.
We’ve seen Rick Carlisle get the most out of limited players the last several seasons. We saw the numbers once the keys were handed over to Luka Doncic. Fitting a multi-tool player like Durant on the Mavericks would be a riot, if only because the ways in which he could affect the floor on both ends is awe-inducing to think about.
Durant ending up with the Mavericks is about as likely as me ending up in a Mavericks uniform. But a guy can dream, right?