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Grading the Mavericks: This season was a failure

The damage has been done and the effects remain to be seen

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Mavericks finish the week 0-3 with losses to the 76ers, Heat, and Hawks. They sit in 11th place one game behind Oklahoma City for 10th, although they are effectively two games behind because they do not hold the tiebreaker.

Team Grade: D

The only reason they aren’t getting a second consecutive F is that the Mavericks are at least trying. They have not lied down (yet) and all three of these games were within reach. The fact is, Dallas is out of gas. They played their best game in maybe two months against Philadelphia and could not finish the job. They made a miraculous last-second free throw against Atlanta and could not win in overtime. The team needs a break, but really, they need a break-up.

As for the remainder of the season, Dallas has done itself no favors in deciding to go for it or shut it down. They have three games left and need help from Oklahoma City or Minnesota to have a chance at a play-in spot. They are perfectly in the middle of being able to make one last push or throwing the towel in for a better chance at keeping their top-10 pick. Dallas should go for it because they need something to build off of with their stars, and even if Doncic and Irving play they might end up with their pick regardless. It’s a terrible position to be in either way and not one anyone expected.

Straight A’s: Javale McGee

After Dallas’ last win, McGee stated that some guys are basketball players and some guys are pros and that he was a pro who always stayed ready. After signing him last year, Dallas promised McGee a starting spot. He was quickly exposed as a sub-par starter and has been banished to the bench since. To his credit, he was prepared and gave Dallas good minutes against Atlanta, including making the game-tying free throw to force overtime. McGee should play more in the last few games of the season because he is not Dwight Powell or Maxi Kleber and the Mavericks could use a shakeup.

Failing Miserably: The season

Make no mistake about it, regardless of the outcomes of the final three games this season has been a tremendous failure. From top to bottom, from June to April, there have been negatives throughout. In October, missing the playoffs or even being in the play-in would have been a ludicrous thought. Then, after trading for Kyrie Irving, those sentiments would have admitted you to Cuban Asylum. The fact that Dallas now faces the possibility of potentially missing the playoffs and not keeping their pick is nothing short of an irreparable failure.

It was the culmination of four years of poor asset management, head-scratching team building, and terrible planning. The West is truly wide open this year, although Denver and Phoenix should have strong cases to be the favorites. Because Dallas was not able to field a competitive team (and much less a contender), the sludge of this season will ripple for years to come. The defense has been uninspired, the cohesiveness non-existent and the leadership nowhere to be found. A team with two top-20 players should never be in this position, and how they got there is no majority of Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic’s fault. This season was a failure, and the Mavericks now have to reconcile their mistakes. If they don’t, we will come back to the 2022-23 season as the first crack in the ceiling before the roof caved in on the Luka Doncic era in Dallas.