The Dallas Mavericks are coming off a great building block of a season. While they were never meant to compete, Luka Doncic got a lot better, and the Mavs actually put up a fight in the playoffs. But with only so many moves that could be made this year, did the Mavs get any better? Can they repeat the magic of last season, and maybe even better?
Key Additions: Josh Richardson, Jalen Smith
Both of these pickups have me scratching my head a bit. With a playmaker like Luka, it would be a better idea to surround Luka with better shooting. Richardson isn’t a renowned 3pt shooter. Smith is more of a project than anything else. Our very own Karl Heiser gave the Mavericks a C- when grading the 2020 draft picks.
Both players are good defenders, so they aren’t terrible pickups. But the lack of shooting in a shooter’s league doesn’t help their case. The duo of Luka and Porzingis can be good enough to get them pretty far, but they need more solid role players if the Mavs want to make some noise.
Key Losses: Seth Curry, Delon Wright
While not as good as his brother, Seth Curry is a great shooter and a good role player. It’s a nice pickup for the 76ers and what they’re doing, but Curry’s loss hurts the Mavs. Wright was a solid backup. Not someone good enough to start, but good enough to hold it down when Luka took a rest. Backup PG is an underrated position in the NBA, and Wright is pretty good at it.
Starting Lineup: Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Richardson, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell
Porzingis should return fairly shortly after the start of the season, but the Mavericks shouldn’t rush him out there. Luka is good enough to carry this team to a good record for the beginning of the season. Let Porzingis come back, get fully healthy, then start balling.
Things are stacking up in the West to where the Dallas Mavericks could move up a few spots in the playoff picture. But competing for a championship? Not there yet. Next season will be the big one. The Mavs will have a max player slot open, and Giannis hits the free agent market next year. For the Mavs, this season is about getting better and making themselves an attractive free agent target.