This is the slowest time of year for NBA action. Once summer league wraps up most roster rearranging also slows, with three weeks of free agency almost entirely in the rearview mirror. Larger movement, like trades for Damian Lillard or James Harden might still be floating out there this summer. But for now, the dust is settling.
So what better time than now to take inventory of the roster shakeups, and see who improved and who is lacking? A few sites have released summer power rankings, so let’s cobble together a post-free agency edition of Mavericks Power Rankings Watch. Consensus is that the Mavericks made several savvy offseason moves, none that catapults them near the top of any contender list, but sets them on a clearer course than where last season left them.
Ranking: 17 (Tier 4: Play-in Battleground)
Key additions (including re-signs):
Grant Williams (Boston)
Dereck Lively II (12th pick)
Seth Curry (Brooklyn)
Richaun Holmes (Sacramento)
Olivier-Maxence Prosper (24th pick)
Dante Exum (Partizan Belgrade)
Justin Holiday (Denver)
Dāvis Bertāns (Oklahoma City)
Reggie Bullock (San Antonio)
Pressing question: Will the Kyrie and Luka dynamic be enough to get this team to the postseason?
I like a lot of what the Mavs have done this summer. They brought in depth and interior presences for now and the future, and also made sure they have plenty of shooting around the Luka Dončić-Kyrie Irving pairing. But ultimately, this will all hinge on two things. 1) Dončić has to be in good enough shape to do what he does on offense and give a couple extra seconds of effort on defense. 2) Irving has to stay on the court and be available. Without those two things, this supporting cast likely isn’t enough. It’s worth noting this team was only 5-11 with those two together, but they also had a historic-level offense. Maybe these moves for depth solve part of this equation.
Dallas avoided disaster by keeping Kyrie Irving and addressed its defensive flaws in the draft and free agency. It remains to be seen whether lottery pick Dereck Lively II, a raw, athletic big man, can contribute immediately. Fellow first-round pick Olivier-Maxence Prosper and sign-and-trade acquisition Grant Williams fill glaring needs as physical forwards with defensive versatility. And arguably the most encouraging summer development is Luka Doncic’s commitment to conditioning, as evidenced by his frequent Instagram updates. — MacMahon
The Dallas Mavericks didn’t hit any home runs in free agency, but multiple base hits may end up having a similar effect.
Grant Williams is eight years younger than Reggie Bullock, can guard 4s and some 5s and has hit 39.7 percent of his threes over the last three years. He seems like an almost perfect plug-and-play fit to start at power forward.
Seth Curry, one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, will get a ton of wide-open looks playing off Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving. And Dante Exum, who became a EuroLeague star for Partizan Belgrade last year, should improve the perimeter defense while slashing his way to a few easy buckets, too.
The Mavericks’ title chances ultimately depend on Dončić and Irving, but they made a number of shrewd moves this offseason to make life easier for both.