If you haven’t checked the site lately, we have two other posts rounding up the Mavs Moneyball staff’s thoughts on free agency and the off-season generally. And we still have more!
The off-season is over and now we wait. Since you’ve had plenty of time to think, how would you review things?
Kirk: Really, if I’m honest I’m mostly mad at myself. I’m a pessimistic sports fan, it’s just my nature. But when the Mavericks traded Harrison Barnes this Spring, hope bloomed in my heart in a real way. I thought the Mavericks were poised to do something in free agency past sign Kristaps Porzingis (which was a GREAT THING). I just don’t agree with the process and the lack of targets.
One thing we should all agree on is that after trading away 80% of the starting line up of the 2018-19 season, the Mavericks we made up of Luka Doncic and bench players. So with all the cap space and the massive number of free agents, I simply assumed at worst they’d come away with a nice starting line up.
That’s not what happened. Delon Wright is a fringe starter at best in my mind, though playing with two super stars should certainly help him. Dwight Powell’s been an empty calorie guy for three seasons and he’ll most certainly start. And now the off-season will devolve into blood feuds over Justin Jackson and Dorian Finney-Smith being the final starter. It’s not bleak, not when you have the upper tier talent the Mavericks now have, but it’s also not very good.
Dallas is a team of two stars and a lot of 7th-8th-9th men. Whether that’s good enough for the playoffs is going to be fascinating to watch because they really might be anyway.
I’m still being too pessimistic. The front office works better with assets and tradeable contracts anyway, which the Mavericks have in droves now. I just need to stop whining and look ahead because at a minimum, the Dallas Mavericks will be fun.
Jeffrey: I understand what the Mavs’ plan was, even though I don’t necessarily agree with how they went about it. They wanted Kemba Walker. When it became apparent in the hours and days leading up to free agency, nobody really knew what their intentions were. I don’t think the Mavericks had any intention of pursuing Pat Beverley, Tobias Harris, Bojan Bogdanovic, etc.
Despite coming up short once again with their plan A, I think what they did in free agency was fine. Seth Curry is a knockdown shooter, something they desperately need. $8 million a year is a bargain for a shooter that good, so I think the Maverickss did well there.
Delon Wright isn’t your ideal point guard due to his lack of a three-point shot, but at 6-5 and 190 lbs, has the ability to get to the rim and make things happen for others on the offensive end. He’ll also be able to defend both guard positions, which will help Luka Doncic hide some of his defensive deficiencies.
Boban Marjanovic can play. Even if it’s in limited minutes, Boban is a guy who you can stick in there against the Rudy Goberts and DeAndre Jordan’s of the world and he can hold his own. Against bigs who live inside and aren’t a three-point threat, Boban is an ideal fit.
While the Mavericks missed out on their ideal off-season again, they did just fine with the pieces they brought in. Oh, and let’s not forget, they did acquire a 20-plus point per game unicorn in January named Kristaps Porzingis. I do consider Porzingis part of the team’s off-season, due to the fact that he didn’t play last year and will be a very welcome addition to the team (As I sit here dreaming of pick-and pops with him and Doncic).
There’s something to be said for re-signing your own guys, too. Retaining the likes of Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell shouldn’t be overlooked. I wasn’t a fan of the Mavericks just punting on $14 million or so of cap space, but if the Mavs felt they were done with their offseason then so be it.
It will be difficult for this team to make the playoffs given how absolutely bonkers the Western Conference is, but they’ll be an improved team from last season, and a fun team to watch night in and night out. You have a 20-year-old budding star, and a soon-to-be 24 year-old sensation who has a skill set unlike any other. To me, that’s all you can really ask for.
Jordan: I said this in the Mavs Mailbag, but the Mavericks did fine in free agency. The further we’ve gotten from the first week of free agency the clearer the objectives were for the Mavericks Front Office. It appears they were all in on Kemba Walker, and wanted Danny Green. They seemed to have little interest in other free agents at the start. Outside of signing Kristaps Porzingis long term, they didn’t accomplish their other top two objectives.
What appears to be the biggest point of contention between fans and the decision makers are the players they should have targeted, and how important it was to use all of the cap space they created.
For me, Patrick Beverley and Danny Green were the only important free agents that fit well in Dallas. I would have gladly overpaid to have them in Mavs unis. But I also don’t think the Mavericks had any real shot at either player, unless they *really* overpaid. Aside from those two, I don’t care about them passing on guys like Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Ross.
What was most impressive about their summer was how fair all the deals were. In the past the Mavs have either bid against themselves with their own free agents, or gave questionable deals to role players. Every single deal they made this summer was at a fair price, and some might end up being bargain deals.
The Mavericks have a ways to go, but they found quality pieces at good prices. It would have been nice to not leave so much pressure on Luka Doncic and Porzingis. But I think they are slowly pointing themselves in the right direction as a team. They’ll be underrated and fun to watch, which is some of the best Rick Carlisle teams of Mavs past.