We are now deep into NBA Free Agency, and like always; several players have found new homes and high price contracts.
The Dallas Mavericks have been busy this free agency, or at least they’ve tried to be. The team wasted no time retaining one of their All-Star players in guard Kyrie Irving. The Mavs also resigned center Dwight Powell for the third time, the organization welcomes back guard Seth Curry on a two-year deal, and the most recent signing is Dante Exum, who was last playing in Serbia.
With several free agents available, the Mavs may not be finished. Any chance the front office can get to better the roster and put the right pieces around their All-Star backcourt, they will do it. However, let’s, for now, evaluate certain areas of the team after the recent moves made.
The Mavericks accomplished their number one goal in retaining Kyrie Irving. The team acquired Irving back in February in a trade with Brooklyn that saw the Mavericks send Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, and several future draft picks.
Irving was retained on a three-year deal worth $126 million. The 31-year-old, as we know, is a highly skilled player. In his career, Irving has averaged 23.4 points and 5.7 assists. Last season the 12-year veteran averaged 27.1 points and 5.5 assists as a member of the Nets and Mavericks.
A trade like this came with high expectations as the fans were hoping the duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving could help fuel a playoff run similar to the one in the previous season.
Instead, Dallas stumbled as Irving went 8-12 with the team, and the Mavericks would be forced to watch the playoffs from home.
The good news is Irving will have his first full offseason as a Maverick, which can allow him to be fully prepared for next season distraction-free. Let’s hope he doesn’t take games off.
Bringing back Seth Curry is a good move. The Mavericks know all too well that he is a valuable role player and a reliable shooter.
The offense was not an issue for the Mavericks last season. According to statmuse, the Mavericks had the highest offensive rating last season at 108.5, the 12th highest scoring offense with 103.6 points per, and the 11th highest 3-point percentage at 35.5%.
Retaining Irving and the stellar play of Doncic should continue to allow the Mavericks to be effective on offense. However, what stands out the most and where the Mavericks should dominate next season is 3-point shooting
The addition of veteran guard Seth Curry now gives the Mavericks eight players who shot 34% or higher from 3-point range in the 2022-2023 season.
Dallas Mavericks Three Point Shooting— Albert Nguyen (@AnalyticsCapper) July 1, 2023
40.5% Seth Curry
40.4% Jaden Hardy
40.2% Josh Green
39.2% Kyrie Irving
38.5% Tim Hardaway Jr
38.0% Reggie Bullock
34.8% Maxi Kleber
34.2% Luka Doncic
This is elite. #MFFL
Every team has at least one weakness. For the Mavericks, it was clear last season’s defense was the problem. Having a bad defense tends to be more frustrating than having a bad offense.
The biggest issue is defending the paint. Let’s return to February when the Mavericks faced off against the Lakers. The team allowed 62 points in the paint as the Lakers would complete a historic comeback.
That same month they played the Nuggets just before the all-star break and allowed 64 points in the paint.
It is clear the Mavericks are lacking a big and have been since the days of Tyson Chandler. Fans hoped Porzingis could have been that guy, but he struggled with health. While the team did retain Dwight Powell. The Mavericks need more help inside that could help limit how badly they were defending inside. The problem is they have done a poor job addressing the need.
The Mavericks did bring in Dante Exum, who spent the first part of his career (2014-2019) with the Utah Jazz and (2019-2021) with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A good defensive player, his versatility could help the Mavericks’ defense. However, he has not played in the league since 2021 and has been in Serbia.
As I mentioned above, the Mavericks need help at the Center position. Re-signing Dwight Powell may have fans losing their mind, Richaun Holmes could be a nice addition if he can stay on the court, and JaVale McGee is no more than a depth option assuming he remains on the roster.
The team, of course, did select Dereck Lively II with the 12th overall pick. It will certainly change every perspective if Lively turns into what the team hopes he can be, but I don’t see the team fully relying on a 19-year-old who averaged just over 20 minutes per game last year at Duke.