The Mavericks finished the week 1-2 with a win against the Jazz in Dallas and two road losses in New Orleans and Memphis. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving both missed the last game against the Grizzlies for a thigh and foot issue, respectively.
Team Grade: D+
The Mavericks do not look like a playoff team. While a collection of evergreen issues contributes, the fact is that Dallas is not playing winning basketball right now. Sure, their two best players are hurt, but they are 3-6 when both Doncic and Irving play now. It is a complete team effort (or lack thereof), and their current culture might see them on their couches by the first week of May.
Bad decisions are being made at every level. Playing Doncic with a lingering injury on the second night of a back-to-back is shortsighted. What Jason Kidd has been doing with timeouts and Christian Wood has been criminal. Doncic has been lax on defense all year, and when your best player does not give an effort it trickles down. Building a roster such that a buyout guy in Justin Holiday is able to get two starts is reckless. Dallas might be fine once the playoffs roll around, but they’re going to have to fight to even get in now that they sit in eighth with a .500 record.
Straight A’s: Tim Hardaway Jr.
Hardaway will always catch heat for his limitless and sometimes heedless confidence. He takes the shots he wants, but he makes the shots he needs to. He is an elite shotmaker, and difficult shotmaking is a huge asset in the playoffs. Hardaway shot 55 percent from the field in three games this week, including 16-for-29 from distance. The longtime Maverick has a rollercoaster style, but that he’s getting hot now is a good sign for Dallas going down the stretch.
Failing Miserably: Jason Kidd
What Kidd is doing right now is borderline malpractice. Just from Saturday night’s game against the Grizzlies, there are multiple examples of coaching decisions that were bewildering, to say the least. The first came at the end of the third quarter. There were just under two minutes left and Hardaway grabbed the rebound to initiate a fast break. Dallas had all the momentum at this time and was up by six points. Kidd called timeout before the break developed, halting Dallas’ momentum. The Mavericks then got outscored by 10 the rest of the way and ultimately lost the game.
The other decision was to play Christian Wood for only 15 minutes when he had 14 points, and then go to the media and say he was rolling with the hot hand:
Markieff Morris chimed in on Twitter as well to express his discontent with the Mavericks’ coach:
Make it make sense. ♂️— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) March 12, 2023
The Mavericks have a team that can win a playoff series. could potentially win two, and maybe more in the west this year. The problem is, they are being held back. Their biggest issues are effort on defense and game management, both on the coach. The game against Memphis was a microcosm of why Dallas will not achieve what they should with Kidd at the helm. That is a game that, objectively, you cannot blame them for losing. They were without their two superstars against a very solid team. Good teams will put up a fight in those situations, which the Mavericks did. Great teams, however, find a way to win those games, especially if they’re leading to start the fourth. While Jason Kidd is the coach, the Dallas Mavericks will not be great.
Extra Credit: Josh Green
Green has been in a bad way as of late but got things back on track against Memphis. Green scored 22 points, had four assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds in 34 minutes. Before Saturday night, he was averaging six points, three rebounds, and one assist over his previous nine games. Much like Hardaway, Dallas will need Green to play well as the regular season comes to a close.