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Roundtable: How did the Mavericks do this off season?

The staff has thoughts on the off-season thus far

2023 NBA Summer League - Dallas Mavericks v Indiana Pacers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Let’s just assume for the sake of where we are, that the Dallas Mavericks are done for the summer. How do you think they did in terms of revamping the team between the draft and free agency?

Jack: There wasn’t a path toward getting back to contention this offseason. When you finish the year as an 11 seed and have limited assets to improve the team with, it’s a real uphill battle. But Dallas should be commended for what they were able to pull off. They got younger, more athletic, and more defensive-minded. Yes, they still have a lot of holes on this very unbalanced roster. There are too many guards, not enough wings, and question marks at center. If they are done, they’re probably still a fringe playoff team at best. But for the most part, this offseason was good process, and it puts them in a much better spot for the future than we thought was possible a few months ago.

Doyle: I don’t know that the team is much better than it was a season ago. There are new faces that look promising on paper — Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Dante Exum — but how they fit in will go along way in determining whether the Mavs are good or not. Did the front office built a roster destined to return to the postseason or are these signings another smokescreen for disaster like the once lauded signing of JaVale McGee?

Xavier: The bar is so low that fans are excited to see new faces. Take a couple step back and you’ll find an imbalanced roster. Where are the wings? Is Josh Green doesn’t take a significant step forward, who starts at the 3? Who will play wing defense? Are we comfortable with making Lively the anchor of your defense? In a vacuum, the draft day deal was unquestionably a good move as a business transaction. In the aggregate, they haven’t done enough to cement this team as too 6 seed in the West.

Gracie: They are still ways away from being true contenders but this summer showed that they are willing to try and change what went wrong. Coach Kidd said himself that a lot of the guys on the team wouldn’t be back and we’ve seen that happen. For a team that hasn’t really cared about the draft, selecting two guys whose strengths are defense was a step in the right direction to address that issue. Will they take time to develop? Probably. There is still plenty of work to be done in the front office and on the basketball court. The center position and wing depth still are of concern to me.

Matt: This is the most committed to widespread change the organization has been since they tore apart the Championship team. And it’s for a good cause! No more rental players - what’s happening in Dallas is a full-on youth movement. The team construction needs work as mentioned, but there’s fluidity there. Anything can be changed and we’re beholden to nothing. In the meantime, we get to root for some new faces and see who blossoms. Also, Seth Curry is here!

Matthew: The Dallas Mavericks made a commitment to get bigger and more athletic. They did both of those things. There was not a viable path to being a title favorite for the 2023-2024 season. But they will be better and they have legitimate reasons to hope for the future. Also, I would be hesitant to completely write the Mavericks off for this season. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have the potential to be the best offensive backcourt in the history of basketball. They have made significant strides towards being more competitive in the front court. The margins in the NBA are razor thin, and the Mavericks being a mid-tier playoff seed would not surprise me. Once they get to the playoffs, they will likely have the best player on the court every night. In the words of Kevin Garnett(who was not better than Dirk Nowitzki) “anything is possible!”

Ben: The Mavericks prioritized the draft for the first time since they drafted Doncic and Jalen Brunson. The results are promising, as the two players they acquired in the first round look exactly like the type of athletes the Mavericks have desperately needed. Free agency was not as much of a success. In re-signing Irving to a way over-market contract, Dallas dedicated themselves to a player who has torpedoed every championship contender he’s been a part of since 2017. There’s zero reason to think Irving will work out for the Mavericks. But they did bring back fan favorite Seth Curry, and took a flyer on former lottery pick Dante Exum, so that’s fun. Overall, the Mavericks improved, but are nowhere near contending for the Finals, let alone a championship.

Brian: I have been asking for change from the Dallas Mavericks for five years, and through free agency and the draft, the Mavericks accomplished this goal. Like Doyle, I’m not sure the team is much better going into the 23-24 season, but at least we have fresh faces to evaluate on this roster for the first time in ages.

Josh: There is a bit of a conundrum when discussing the Mavericks offseason. On one hand, the work the Mavericks did in the last month was objectively great. Even if you’re not a fan of the specific players acquired, the Mavericks entered this offseason with extremely limited resources: the 10th pick in the draft, no cap room, and limited trade ammo. The team turned that into two first round players, Seth Curry, Dante Exum, and Grant Williams. That’s good business, even if you have quibbles with drafting Dereck Lively at 10 or aren’t that high on Williams. For a Mavericks roster that has been stagnant for years, it was the exact type of shakeup needed for a team coming off an extremely disappointing season.

The other side of the coin, however, is just how much better are the Mavericks? Dallas finished 11th in the West last season, and it’s hard to argue what teams above them, if any, truly took a step back. The top four of the Nuggets, Grizzlies, Kings, and Suns will all be good again. The Warriors will stick around so long as Steph Curry is Steph Curry. The Lakers now have a full season with the revamped roster that took them to the conference finals. The Timberwolves, Pelicans, and Thunder are all young and only added more through the draft/free agency. Maybe the only team that might fall back is the Clippers? And even then, they might add James Harden by September. So where do the Mavericks land? It’s fair to say Dallas improved its team in a big way, but still be cautious about their playoff positioning. The one counter to it all is Luka is Luka, but that narrative was shattered a bit last season when the team failed despite Luka’s brilliance. Dallas played a ton of clutch games last season, so with the better players and hopefully some better luck, the Mavericks should win more games. The question will be how many? I’m still a little unsure. Despite that, the Mavericks can only play the board that is in front of them. The Mavericks had a great off-season. It just might take a few more before they’re title contenders again.

Kirk: It’s been a great off-season. It’s what I’ve wanted them to do for three years! Now... the questions are pretty straight forward: is it too late? Is it enough? We’re going to find out, but the floor of this team is significantly better. Let’s just hope the ceiling is higher too.