Despite the spin from the front office and various media members, it was clear early on that the Dallas Mavericks’ season was destined to end in disappointment. What no one predicted, however, was just how much of a failure it would be.
With their 115-112 loss to the Chicago Bulls Friday night, Dallas was eliminated from play-in contention with one game to go in the regular season. It will be the first time the Mavericks have missed the postseason since the 2018-19 season, and it will go down as a lost season for future Hall of Famer Luka Doncic.
In many ways, it’s a relief that the final nail is now in the Mavericks’ coffin. The 2022-23 season has been anything but spectacular. It’s been a plodding ride rife with dysfunction as Charon rows the team to its eternal resting place.
The trouble began before the season even began, dating back to last season and the team’s inability — intentional or otherwise — to re-sign Jalen Brunson. Brunson was arguably the second-best player on the team that made it to the Western Conference Finals.
Mavericks governor Mark Cuban recently re-litigated the events that led Brunson to leave for nothing. Whether you believe his side of the story or not, there’s no question that letting Brunson walk was an atrocious miscalculation, like his cryptocurrency investments. It’s another stain on the record of someone who acts like he’s the most intelligent person in the room.
Everything slowly unraveled after that. As the season progressed, head coach Jason Kidd and other vested parties found excuses for the team’s shortcomings. They ranged from starting games slow, having a young roster, learning to play winning basketball, learning to play as a team, integrating new players, and so on.
Some wilder moments came during Kidd’s disorganized and sometimes petty approach to lineup rotations. More than once, Kidd ran out a lineup directly in response to criticism from the anonymous masses on Twitter rather than put his players in the best possible positions to succeed.
Although Doncic speckled in some magnificent performances, taken as a whole, the season amounted to a disappointing display on the floor, leading to loss after loss. Missing the playoffs finally ends the misery.
The 2022-23 season was an abject failure. From start to finish, the Mavericks wasted a season of Luka Doncic’s career. The team raised expectations only to have its own leadership pull the rug out from under themselves.
The time for excuses is over. The offseason demands accountability. It’s up to Dallas’ front office, especially the man who writes the checks, to show that they understand that and make tough decisions to improve the team before they waste another season.