While the Dallas Mavericks did not make the playoffs last season and had to say goodbye to Dirk Nowitzki, they had a year that created a lot of buzz throughout their fanbase and the rest of the league. Luka Doncic, who Dallas traded up to select third overall in the 2018 draft, had one of the best rookie seasons we have ever seen, averaging 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.0 assists en route to the Rookie of the Year award. Doncic already made the future bright in Dallas, but it got even brighter when they were able to get Kristaps Porizingis from the New York Knicks. Porizingis wasn’t able to take the floor last year due to injury, but the duo between him and Luka will give fans something to look forward to for years to come.
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF|
|Power Forward PF|
|Point Guard PG||
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF||
|Power Forward PF||
The best thing about this newfound duo in Dallas is that they are seemingly perfect fits for each other. The pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop combination between these two guys should tear up the league for the foreseeable future, as both are threats to shoot the 3 and also attack the basket. Luka’s biggest weakness as of now is on the defensive end, but Kristaps should be able to minimize the damage with his elite shot blocking ability. It remains to be seen when Porizingis will be fully healthy and ready to contribute, but the potential for this combo is clearly off the charts.
The real question looming over the Mavericks is figuring out which players are best suited to surround Doncic and Porizingis in order to maximize their potential. It looks like they are bringing back Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, two wings that can further alleviate Luka’s defensive limitations while also providing outside shooting. Dallas also acquired point guard Delon Wright in a sign-and-trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, a move that could allow Luka to thrive as an off-ball shooter when he needed. The Mavs even brought in Seth Curry, who proved he can be a rotation player on a playoff team last year, and he will be asked to provide additional floor spacing for Luka and Kristaps to operate.
While the potential of the young core in Dallas is certainly intriguing, they happen to reside in a conference that is poised to be an absolute blood bath when it comes to making the playoffs. With so many teams vying to earn that final playoff spot, can the Mavericks make a move to make their standing in the playoff race more formidable? Courtney Lee’s expiring contract may be the most enticing trade piece they have left, as they gave up much of their future draft capital to acquire Doncic and Porizingis. That being said, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Dallas uses this season to build up the chemistry between their two stars while also positioning themselves to have a high draft pick in the 2020 draft in order to get that coveted third piece.