With the offseason finally winding down, it’s time to finally grade what was a busy and impactful Mavericks summer.
After the disaster that was last season, it was clear the Mavericks were ready for a roster revamp, bringing in two first rounders from the NBA Draft, signing three new free agents, and trading for a new starter in Grant Williams. Here’s how we’re grading the work down by general manager Nico Harrison and his front office.
Dallas came into the summer of 2023 with a vengeance. Not only did they miss the playoffs last season but the way they did it after trading for All-Star Kyrie Irving left a sour taste in the mouth of the fanbase and lit a fire under the front office. When you have a generational talent like Luka Doncic in his prime, that kind of thing does not happen. The front office woke up, and Dallas had their best off-season since Doncic was drafted.
They started hot on draft day, making an excellent trade with Oklahoma City to move back two spots, get their target player in Dereck Lively II, and get off of Davis Bertans’ contract. They then traded back into the first round to get Olivier-Maxence Prosper, who looked very promising during his time in summer league.
In free agency, Dallas brought back reliable big man Dwight Powell, friend of the past Seth Curry, traded for Celtics forward Grant Williams, as well as took a chance on former lottery pick Dante Exum. Between free agency and the draft the Mavericks nearly turned the entire roster over. The only blemish on their canvas was waiving and stretching Javale McGee, but even the decision to not eat his money over the next two years might be trivial with the expected increase of the salary cap. The Mavericks reset their timeline with limited assets and improved the roster while not taking on any bad contracts. The off-season was an absolute win.
Straight A’s: Upgrading the wings
Dallas has struggled with talent at the wing positions for years. While Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock were excellent in their role, neither boasted exceptional skill. Williams certainly is an upgrade from both of them and Prosper looks like he has a smooth game as well. Both are good shooters and their numbers from deep should be comparable or better than the previously mentioned Finney-Smith and Bullock.
Where they separate themselves is their size and ability to work off the dribble. Williams is a brick wall and rarely gives up any ground to even the biggest forwards in the league. Prosper has shown promise as a playmaker and could really come into his own off the bounce by the latter half of the year. By locking down two wings under 25 years old with high defensive potential and complimentary games to Luka Doncic, Dallas put itself back on track to become a competitor before the middle of the decade.
Extra Credit: Portland matching Matisse Thybulle
In a turn of events, it seems Dallas’ dismay with the Trailblazers for matching the offer sheet of Thybulle has turned into luck. In five games during the World Cup, he has scored 14 points (5-of-12 from the field), grabbed three rebounds, and dished out one assist in 72 minutes. Thybulle is a 6’5 wing who specializes in defense. With a limited offensive skillset, he has to have other areas where he excels. His 0.6 rebounds per game in the World Cup would have ranked dead last in the NBA last year for players over 6’4 (at least 10 minutes per game).
Dallas has struggled on the glass in recent years and if they were going to commit $11 million to a guy, he had better be good at more than one thing. This was a massive bullet dodged for the Mavericks and, seeing how McGee’s contract played out, could have been a shot through the heart.