With free agency mostly wrapped up at this point, including all the various mega-trades around the NBA, we thought it a good time to take the temperature of our staff. Everyone has an opinion and wouldn’t you know it, a website of writers has a host of takes. So many in fact we opted to break it up into a pair of posts.
The off-season is over and now we wait. Since you’ve had plenty of time to think, how would you review things?
Doyle: I’m actually very comfortable with the off-season moves the team made. The team was never going to bust through the wall like Kool-Aid Man and sign a marquee free agent. You’re delusional if you believed that. The move they had to make was re-signing Kristaps Porzingis. They made it. Great! Then they went out and made some quality signings. Even better. Should they have approached free agency differently? Maybe. Were they caught off-guard? Absolutely! That’s par for the course. At the end of the day, it doesn’t actually matter for you in your day-to-day life unless you have a gambling addiction.
That said, I really thing Seth Curry rejoining the team will pay off exponentially. The debate here at MMB is whether he will become a starter at some point. I don’t know if he will. What I will speculate is that he will see a lot of minutes alongside Luka Doncic. The two make sense next to one another--offensively at least. Luka needs floor-spacers and Curry is just that. He knocks down threes at a clip above 40%. Can you ask for more?
Delon Wright should also be a positive for the Mavs. He’s a defensive-minded point guard who can guard multiple positions. Incredible! At 6-foot-5, he can guard three positions potentially. We know Donic is a poor defender, so Wright is a plus, right? He is. Offensively, he’s not a floor-spacer. He’ll need to improve in that area next season. However, he’s can create for himself and get to rim off one or two dribbles. The team zeroed in on him and they got him. That’s at least something.
Then there’s Boban Marjanovic. If you hate the star of John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, then please excuse yourself and go root for the Rockets.
I know there is a lot of consternation within the fandom about the Mavericks’ off-season moves. That’s fine. But did you really want them to sign a bunch of 30+-year-old players? I hope not. Dallas didn’t make any sexy moves. They save all of those for trades. What the team did do was put together a bunch of players whose timelines align. What’s more, they cobbled them together with reasonable deals. Again, that’s great! This is the team that Dallas assembled. Get used to it. It might not look flashy and fun on paper, but on the court it has the potential to be just that.
Matt (new staffer): If you had told me on July 1st that the best addition we would make with our much ballyhooed $30 million in cap space would be Delon Wright, I would be underwhelmed (The place where reading a Woj tweet confirming you didn’t even sign Thomas Bryant felt like a punch in the gut was a very dark place…). But, for some perspective, if you’d have told me 18 months ago that our starting lineup for the 19-20 season would have an average age under 25, it would feel like a new dawn had finally risen on the Mavericks. When’s the last time you could say that about this team? A team who, for years after the 2011 championship, had been spinning their wheels with “plan powder” and short-term vets.
You can spin up all the head cannon you want about whether or not it would have even been possible to add a top-tier talent and assemble a “Big 3” to run back the Dirk/Finley/Nash glory days. Since the 2008 Celtics won it all with their Big 3, and having lived through the Heatles era followed by the Warrior dynasty, it seemed like never again would a team win it all with less than 3 bonafide super stars. And then the Kawhi/Lowry Raptors won. And then this off season happened. Stars scattered and paired up to form super duos, and the NBA hasn’t been this wide open in nearly a decade.
Bottom line, the Mavericks have their 2 stars under long-term contracts, and a bunch of flyers on young guys locked in to solid, multiyear contracts — one of which they no-doubt hope will develop in to a true 3rd option, a la one Pascal Siakam. (Justin Jackson? Brunson? Finney-Smith?) The shaky off-season aside, if someone had dropped me in to this situation upon the completion of the Mayo/Collison season, I’d be hard pressed to be too upset about where we’re sitting. I’ve blown through the five stages of grief in record time, and stand before you a man entrenched at “acceptance,” and ready to argue about why Kristaps Porziņģis will have a better season than Joel Embiid.
Sam: Admittedly I fell captive to some of the off-season buzz surrounding the Mavericks and left my heart a little too unguarded. The Mavericks were dubbed the “wild card” team, were the favorites for Kemba Walker and were even the “front runners” for Al Horford, which all seems so crazy a few weeks later. It’s not that I thought they’d be trotting out Kemba and Horford alongside Luka and Porzingis next season, it’s more so the fact that they had $30 million to spend and appeared to be gearing up for a big summer. Missing out on Beverley and Green were big. Those two players could have filled big holes, but the more I reflect, I think the Mavericks made some wise moves.
It’s hard to get excited about bringing back role players on a 33-win team, but Dwight Powell is good, Maxi Kleber is probably underrated, and Dorian Finney-Smith playing for four-million dollars the next three seasons is terrific value with little risk. On top of that, they brought in Seth Curry on a fair deal to fill a gaping shooting hole, and inked Delon Wright who many pundits really, really like.
While Dallas failed to use a good chunk of their space, I can’t fault them for targeting a few guys, and then rebounding with pieces at good value when their targets went elsewhere. This season will hinge on the growth of Luka and health of Porzingis. If those two players can ascend on an upward trajectory, the Mavericks will be sitting nicely with two young stars and role players on moveable contracts. That’s definitely not a bad thing.
Check back tomorrow for more reactions from the Mavs Moneyball staff.