It seems like a yearly occurrence where the Dallas Mavericks are entering the biggest offseason in their franchise’s history. They can not all be the most important one right? The sad fact of the matter is that at the time, they are. Now does this always seem to be the case? Does the front office enjoy flying by the seat of their pants or is it that they consistently fail to build a roster organically and choose to go for the homerun swing, the shortcut?
This pattern has been a trademark of the Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson era and now General Manager Nico Harrison has to make lemonade out of lemons when looking at the current state of the roster. Now more than ever it seems that this offseason needs to be a productive one, very productive. With pressure at an all-time high to build a contending team around Luka Dončić before the Slovenian superstar's patience runs out, Dallas should consider the following.
Time to state the obvious, The Dallas Mavericks need to resign Kyrie Irving.
The Mavs in past free agencies have tried to land the big fish, the one player can take them from middle-of-the-road team to title contender. From Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, and most embarrassing of them all, Deandre Jordan. The Mavs made a habit of whiffing toward the end of the Dirk era. This time the scenario is a little different than usual. The Mavs made a splash right before the all-star break trading Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, and draft picks for the disgruntled Irving.
A player of his talents has never been seen in Mavs uniform before. To pair him and Luka together brought aspirations of a title. However, we all know that is not what happened, not even close. Still, a player like Irving does not come around very often. With his elite ball handling, skillful playmaking, and uncanny ability to hit the toughest shots in the league, the Mavs need to do everything in their power to not let him only be a rental. It was reported that Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd were one of the main reasons why he wanted to be traded to Dallas, Irving appears to have plenty of admiration for the former Nike executive and hall of fame point guard. Lets hope they can use their collective respect to keep him in a Mavs uniform. It also helps the Mavs can offer him the most money as well.
No more shortcuts! The Mavericks need to keep their #10 pick
While the Victor Wembanyama dreams were cut short, the Mavs end of the season decision to tank their last few games turned out to be the right move. Having a top-ten pick in what many scouts believe to be a very deep class should not be taken lately. Looking at the pulse of Mavs fandom it can be said that most want the Mavs to trade the pick. Trading the pick and the contracts of Davis Bertans and/or Tim Hardaway Jr sounds like the usual shortcut move the Mavs would make.
However, Luka is still only 24 years old. The organization that let Jalen Brunson go for nothing needs to build this team up organically. Trust your scouting and let your picks blossom into a starting caliber player. While that is never guaranteed, this draft class does show the potential to produce multiple all-NBA level player. Players like Taylor Hendricks, Gradey Dick , and Jarace Walker could be available for the Mavs to take. With players like Josh Green and Jaden Hardy set to improve every year the Mavs needs to focus on making their team young again. That also leads to the last thing they need to do to make this off-season a success.
Playmaking. Defense. Rebounding.
When the draft is over and done with the Mavs will face their arch-nemesis, free agency. As stated much before the Mavs never have had much success in this department. Likely due to their infatuation with trying to lure stars over and over again. This time it feels slightly different. If step one of the process is complete the Mavs already have a star player in Kyrie Irving so they do not need to find one.
What the Mavericks need are glue guys that can do all the little things right. Things like boxing out to grab a rebound, constant pressure on the defensive end, and a willingness to find the open man. These traits are essential to have on a winning basketball team and the Mavs did not have that last season. The Mavs finished with a defensive rating of 116.7 and averaged an abysmal 38.8 rebounds per game. A far cry from the defensive effort this team showed at the start of the 2022 calendar year. With two absolute stars on the roster, the Dallas Mavericks need to be picky. While it is easier said than done every contending team simply makes it happen. Simply put, the Dallas Mavericks need to find some Dawgs. Not looking at you Dillon Brooks.
If the Mavericks can do these three things right they can find themselves back in a deep playoff run. the league is as wide open as it has ever been and when you have a 24-year-old phenom on your roster, the time is now. Mark and Nico, it all rests on your shoulders now. The fate of this team’s direction for the next 5 maybe 10 years all falls on what gets done in the Summer. No pressure or anything.