Many fans were upset when the Mavs traded Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Significant sports outlets like ESPN and Bleacher Report gave the trade mediocre to poor grades. It's only been four games for the Mavs, but after Sunday night's comeback win against the Golden State Warriors, the trade now looks like a smart move. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 24 points, and his playmaking and ball-handling helped the Mavs overcome a 19 point fourth-quarter deficit to win 107-101. Davis Bertans, for his part, hit two early threes, and even though he went 0-4 from three the rest of the game, his three-point range kept a defender on the perimeter, creating space for Dinwiddie and Luka Doncic down the stretch.
After Nico Harrison made the trade on February 10th, he repeatedly said that the move allows the Mavs depth and flexibility. That was on full display Sunday night. First of all, Dinwiddie and Bertans combined for 30 points off the bench, giving the Mavs bench scoring they desperately needed. Secondly, Kidd can now utilize small-ball lineups, using Dorian Finney-Smith at the 5 and Bertans at the 4 for most of the quarter. Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber played a combined 7 seconds in the 4th quarter. The small-ball lineup gave the Warriors fits and kept them off balance the entire final quarter. The Mavericks outscored the Warriors 33-13 in the final frame. Lastly, and this is an obvious one that fans have been talking about for some time, Dinwiddie gives the Mavs that third ballhandler/playmaker off the bench they desperately needed. Bertans, whose defense has been better than advertised, gives them another three-point threat to space the floor and allow Luka to do his thing.
Losing Kristaps means that the Mavs game up rim protection, which could be necessary should the Mavs face the Jazz in the first round, though 4-6 in the West is pretty tight right now. But in giving up that rim protection, the Mavs created a much deeper bench - with Tim Hardaway Jr. potentially returning for the playoffs - and flexibility for the Mavs to adapt to multiple different lineups in the post-season. If the Mavs need scoring late in a game now, they have Luka, Brunson, Dinwiddie, THJ (when he returns), and the 3 point shooting of Bertans, Bullock, and DFS - and sometimes Maxi. If the Mavs have a lead they need to keep, they can throw out a lineup of DFS, Maxi, Bullock, Luka, and Josh Green. Those are, of course, not the only combinations, and that is the point. The Mavs now can adapt to a lot of situations in the playoffs, which gives them better chances to advance to the second round - and maybe beyond.