It’s the conference finals, with the Boston Celtics trailing the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers up on the Denver Nuggets. What have you taken away from either series and does the basketball evoke any Dallas Mavericks-related thoughts?
Ryan: For the past few weeks, I’ve watched the Nuggets look like a JV team at times. But just when I count them out, Jokic and his ridiculous antics pull his team out of the trenches. At times I’ve thought the Mavericks would steamroll them in a serious, and then I watch the Nuggets perform impeccably in the clutch and watch those thoughts evaporate. Then there’s the Miami Heat. Watching Dragic and Butler dominate has pained me as I wonder what could’ve been. Two players who were so very close to being Mavericks are now propelling themselves through the playoffs as they underdog.
Outside of the Lakers, all of these teams have a lot of young talent. While I truly believe the Mavericks have the best young asset in the league in Luka Doncic, it’s also clear the work is far from over if they want to win a championship. Hopefully watching these young teams compete makes the Mavericks start to think about their timeline a little more seriously.
Jordan: The Nuggets have been the most exciting and fun team to watch develop, for yet another post season, before our eyes. They have nine lives, though they’ve earned every moment.
But I’ve been most impressed with the Miami Heat. To me, they are the ideal makeup of a modern playoff roster. That’s not to say they execute it perfectly, or couldn’t improve. But all the tools are there.
- Versatile big man - CHECK
- Savvy point guard game - CHECK
- Star iso ability - CHECK
- Knockdown shooters - CHECK CHECK
- Wing Depth & scrappy defense - CHECK
And the best part is everyone is pulling their weight. It isn’t all on one or two players to deliver. The Mavericks may have a different identity, and that’s fine. But they’d do well to mold parts of their roster like the Heat.
Kevin: So we’re all going to talk about Miami, eh? Makes sense. Mavericks fans are known for loving the Miami Heat. They’re our favorite. Can’t think of any reason we should dislike them. Nope.
Regardless of the history between our franchises, I DO love this Miami team. Imagine Bam playing next to KP. Is he the ideal fit? I think he might be. And how about all that wing depth and shooting? Imagine Luka kicking the ball out to all those guys. And look, I know it probably wouldn’t work but I WOULD LOVE JIMMY BUTLER AS A MAVERICK. Jimmy rules. Jimmy’s personality...might suck? But it seems like when he’s with a group of dogs, they love him. And Miami’s got some dogs. If we could somehow convince Pat Riley, the Swag Messiah, to just assist Donnie in building our team over the next couple of offseasons, we’d probably end up with the perfect team.
Matt: I’m sorry I have also not watched. This is a hockey house now.
Josh: The big thing I’m taking away from the conference finals, and this isn’t even a new or original thought, is this: a contender must have a stable of rangy, versatile forwards that can guard and hit shots. Every team in the conference finals has at least 2-3 legitimate three and D wings on their roster, save for the Lakers who are just brute-forcing their way with one of the greatest players of all time and Anthony Davis. Save Kristaps Porzingis turning into a top-8 player next season, the Mavericks must acquire more physical, athletic forwards that can match up with all these perimeter-oriented offenses that dominate the playoffs.
How can you not watch Boston, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams and soon to return Gordon Hayward, or Denver with Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Jerami Grant, Torrey Craig, PJ Dozier and Michael Porter Jr. or Miami with Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and Derrick Jones Jr and not be a little envious? The Mavericks are on the right path, but they desperately need a boost to their wing depth. Dorian Finney-Smith is literally the only 3-and-D wing on the roster that got minutes in the playoffs. Let’s get him some help!
Kirk: At this level of the playoffs it’s just so clear that having the best players matter more than anything else. The Lakers are a well coached, weirdly constructed team with two of the best players alive, which makes up for many of their issues. The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who are each so fascinating to watch, particularly as each player has elevated his game to new levels. Boston has an extremely talented roster. The Heat are led by Jimmy Butler and a ton of exceptional NBA starting caliber players.
Which bodes well for Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. It’s clear Luka Doncic would fit right into this environment and Porzingis has the raw talent to matter. It’s just getting there, which I think has to be a clear goal from here on out.