Fact or Fiction: Urgent questions asked of Dallas Mavericks after relatively quiet offseason | NBA.com Canada
In the 2021 NBA playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks were eliminated by the LA Clippers for a second straight playoff series. After losing in a win-win Game 7, Dallas’ search for their first playoff victory since 2011 continues.
Coming out of this playoff outing, the Mavericks had a relatively quiet offseason. They’ve made moves, but those might be pale compared to how the NBA landscape has changed during the 2021 offseason.
They landed a few free agents at Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown while also acquiring a promising big man from Moses Brown as part of the trade also involving Josh Richardson. Other than that, their main roster deals this offseason were the re-signing of Tim Hardaway Jr and the record extension signed by Luka Doncic, both of which were more or less expected.
Off the pitch, however, the franchise has witnessed a major management overhaul with Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd entering as general manager and head coach respectively.
Weeks after the start of Free Agency 2021, our NBA.com staff are playing a game of “Fact or Fiction” to answer four pressing questions about the changes and the future of the Mavericks.
Dallas Mavericks to win 50 games in 2021-22 NBA season
Yash Matange (@ yashmatange2694): Made. Despite the relatively quiet offseason the Mavericks have had, just having Doncic on the roster will take Dallas to 50 or more wins. The last two seasons, where they’ve more or less had a similar roster, their winning percentages were 57.3 (2019-20) and 58.3 (2020-21).
There’s no question how much stronger the rest of the league has gotten, but the Western Conference looks heavier and the Mavericks are still, probably among the bottom four seeds, a legitimate contender for the playoffs.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Fiction. I think the Mavericks will be in the mix this season, but 50 wins might just be out of reach. With a change of coach bringing Jason Kidd, some starting issues can come with it and in the Western Conference’s gauntlet, there are a lot of teams that finished below the Mavs last season that look set to make a move. big jumps, including Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors.
Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): Fiction. Reaching 50 wins is tough, especially in the West which will see a number of teams improve. To win 50 games a team needs a .610 winning percentage, and given Dallas’ minor changes this offseason, I don’t see them making that kind of jump.
New leadership will help Mavs take the next step
Yash Matange (@ yashmatange2694): May be. I believe the new management and coaching staff could and will have an impact, but projecting them for the first year would be unfair. However, unfortunately, those are the expectations of the franchise. It’s not just about making the playoffs or making it through the first round.
Considering Doncic’s age and talents, the Mavericks’ management would be constantly in the spotlight to build a roster of candidates around him and maximize their chances of competing for not one but multiple NBA Championships.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Made. I love the hiring of Jason Kidd as well as Michael Finley as Mavs Assistant GM / VP of Basketball Operations alongside new GM and COO Nico Harrison, giving the Mavs Mavs a clean slate from top to bottom.
Will that jump be this season though? Much depends on whether Doncic has an MVP-level season, which is more than likely, but the big question mark is which version of Kristaps Porzingis the Mavs will get in 2021-22.
Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): Fiction. I never thought management was the problem to begin with. It’s exciting to see a Mavs legend in Finley take on a management role and Harrison would have a keen sense of talent, but the key to this team making a leap is improving the roster and their generational superstar becoming an MVP. .
Doncic will be a maverick for life
Yash Matange (@ yashmatange2694): Fiction. Given the current era of empowering NBA players, I think it’s highly unlikely that Doncic will remain a Maverick for the rest of his career. He and the team only recently struck a massive 5-year deal, worth over $ 200 million, which could keep him in Dallas until 2027, but when the deal ends, the Slovenian would only be 27 and would still be in his prime.
And unless this franchise backs him up, building a legitimate squad, it would be fair for him to test the waters of free agency or worse, demand an even earlier trade if the squad doesn’t step up. .
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Made. Time is running out on the Mavs to put winning coins around Doncic right now. He might be 22 but he’s already one of the best players in the league and if they can improve every year I can see him cementing himself as a guy on a team, especially considering the influence of Dirk Nowitzki, who handed him the keys to the franchise during his rookie season.
Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): Made. As BK mentioned, Nowitzki’s influence is real. This is true on more than one level. The league landscape has changed, of course, but generational talent is generational talent, and Dallas has already made a plan to retain such talent over 21 years with Dirk.
Adapt what worked back then to modern times and you’ve got a Mav for life in Doncic.
Kristaps Porzingis will become legitimate number 2
Yash Matange (@ yashmatange2694): Fiction.
There has been a lot of talk that this is the first offseason since a time Kristaps Porzingis would enter injury-free. Sure, Mavericks fans are hoping he gets a huge bounce, but I don’t see it.
While the rest of the league sets up a Big 3 or Big 2 of All-Stars, Dallas is still waiting for Porzingis to deliver at the same level as Doncic or at least deliver at a level expected of a legitimate No.2. Given the expectations on him, the Latvian disappointed and, more importantly, the Mavericks probably failed to add a legitimate ‘star’ next to Doncic as they still believe in the great man’s potential.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): Made. I still believe in the Unicorn.
Injuries and a tough playoff run clouded Porzingis’ perception, paving the way for a rebounding season. As a player Jason Kidd has brought out the best of his great men … can he do the same with the Doncic-Porzingis duo?
Porzingis is still only 26 and only three years old from being an All-Star. With a flawless health check and a new voice in the locker room, I have no doubts that Porzingis can make a difference this season.
Gilbert McGregor (@ GMcGregor21): Fiction. As much as I want to believe in him, Porzingis seemed uncomfortable at times trying to find his place in the Dallas system.
With a new coach that will certainly change some, but how can Kidd place him in positions that still allow Doncic to perform at his peak level? From a production standpoint, Hardaway is more like No. 2, which is a different conversation in and of itself, but as constructed it looks like Porzingis is the best No. 3 on this team.
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