The Dallas Mavericks’ season came to an end much sooner than anyone imagined, especially after swinging a trade for Kyrie Irving at the deadline. But it’s over, and before we start thinking about next year, it’s time to look back and think about this season—what went wrong, what went right and what that means for the future.
In honor of the Mavericks finishing 11th in the Western Conference, here are 11 of the best and worst things from this season in Dallas. Got any to add? Drop them in the comments below. Here we go:
- Luka Doncic going nuclear in late December. Doncic might have had the best season of his career, but there was a stretch in late December when he was absolutely out of his mind. Over a 10 game stretch from December 23rd to January 12th, Doncic scored 50, 32, 60, 35, 51, 39, 23, 34, 43, and 35 points. That includes a 60-point, 21-rebound, triple-double in an overtime thriller against the Knicks. That was sandwiched between two 50-point performances. That’s insane.
- JaVale McGee having no impact on the court. I thought the McGee signing would work. He didn’t need to do much, simply play 15 minutes per game and just be...tall. Grab some rebounds, clog the lane on defense, and provide some resistance at the rim. Instead, it was immediately obvious he couldn’t play at all. His contract is an albatross now, and the Mavericks are still searching for a center.
- Jaden Hardy looking, pretty, pretty, pretty good. One of the best things from this season is how the Mavericks handled Hardy’s development. They didn’t rush him along, just let him get reps in the G League, and only gave him minutes in the NBA when he was ready. He’s showed some good scoring touch and should only improve in the offseason.
- The AAC’s leaky roof. Almost as if it’s a metaphor for the Mavericks’ defense this season, the AAC was porous. The rain was inside when it shouldn’t have been. Hopefully it gets plugged this summer.
- Josh Green showed promise. I still don’t trust Green in a playoff series, he still makes too many odd mistakes. But I thought he’d be out of the league by 2025, and instead, he’s turned into a fun, energetic defender who is a decent passer. He’s actually an asset for the Mavericks now.
- Jason Kidd, bystander. “I’m not the savior here. I’m not playing. I’m watching, just like you guys.” This is something that the coach of the Mavericks said after a loss. And as of this writing, he is still the coach.
- Tim Hardaway Jr. is back. If you want consistency from Hardaway, you’re going to be disappointed. He’s a streaky shooter. But he is capable of erupting for 28 points on 7-of-11 shooting from behind the arc on any given night. It can be frustrating when he goes 0-of-8 the next game, but it’s just the type of player he is. If he was more consistent night-to-night, he’d be playing on a max contract.
- The defense, or rather, the lack thereof. The Mavericks defense was horrendous. Pathetic. Non-existent. Whatever negative adjective you’d like to ascribe to it, that’s what it was this season. Their defensive rating of 116.1 per 100 possessions ranked 25th in the NBA. Four of the five teams below them were actively trying to lose all season. They’ve got to fix the defense this summer.
- The Christian Wood experiment failed. The Mavericks shipped out a first-round pick to acquire Wood from the Rockets, and it just did not work. Kidd didn’t seem to want to play him, and even someone like me, who wrote that he needed more minutes, gave up on him by the middle of the year. Wood is electric on the offensive end, but doesn’t do much else. His points felt like empty calories. He’ll likely be on to yet another team this offseason.
- The Mavericks’ City Edition jerseys and court were beautiful. I have hated so many of the Mavericks’ recent jerseys. But the Metroplex jersey, a tribute to the late 70s and early 80s of Dallas, are the best thing they’ve done in years. They’re simple, but not sparse. The blue and green are perfect together. A stunning win in a down year.
- The chicken taquitos at AvoEats at the AAC. This is just a personal choice, but these rule. They’re just chicken taquitos covered in loaded guacamole and cheese, but they’re my new favorite snack when I’m at the AAC.
That’s all for this season. Here’s hoping next year’s list has more good than bad. Again, debate your best and worst in the comments below!