Will the Dallas Mavericks rebuilding phase be coming to an end this year? Can they make a surprise entrance to the playoffs?
A team in the West that finished in the bottom half of the standings last year, 13th to be exact, with a record of 24-58 might have a drastic turnaround coming soon. In what has to be recorded as one of the most extravagant offseasons in history with major changes on the horizon, Dallas made a small but significant splash in their overall game. They rounded out their roster in hopes to make some noise in an already brawny conference.
The Dallas Mavericks have been considered something of an afterthought this past couple of years and for valid reasons. They haven’t been able to compete at the high caliber level the Western Conference serves. In the past 2 years, they’ve missed the playoffs and haven’t passed the first round since their 2010-2011 season where, ironically enough, they captured their first ever NBA Championship by defeating the Miami Heat that year.
Since then, it’s been extremely gloomy, to say the least with multiple first-round exits becoming routine. This year might bring a slight change.
The Mavericks entered this past NBA draft with the number fifth seed with their eyes set on Luka Doncic or Trae Young. They quickly changed the mindset and inserted themselves in the first trade of the night. Dallas traded their fifth seed to the Atlanta Hawks along with a future 2019 first-round pick (protected 1-5) to sweeten the deal for the third seed. This transaction eventually led the Mavericks to acquire their prospect with potential to change the franchise for years to come, Luka Doncic.
Teams were precarious to go all in on Oklahoma star Trae Young just for the sole reason that his overall game lacked defensive abilities. A true point guard with only shooting strides wasn’t a primary focus for the Mavericks. Doncic, on the other hand, has a little bit of everything to offer. That’s why Dallas set their sights on the Slovenian player early on.
The unvarnished truth of it all is that they have a stud on their hands that’s only 19 years old. He has tremendous upside with his incredible playmaking skills. For a young player of that age to have his court vision combined with a knack for shot-creating as a guard is something rare.
He is even leading the projected rookie of the year poll with 58% votes.
Luka Doncic is the clear favorite for our panelists, but who do you think will be this season's ROY? pic.twitter.com/UqCzrlPKdL
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) August 7, 2018
The roster the Mavericks currently have all possess key role players that can blend their attributes for success. Add Luka in there and they now have something worth a look. Their projected starting group is Dennis Smith Jr., Luke Doncic, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and DeAndre Jordan. Wesley Matthews could fill the sixth man role as Eddie Sefko suggested.
In what could very well be Nowitzki’s final year, they now have a more manageable blueprint for the postseason. With a physical starting lineup consisting of forwards spacing the floor and consistent shooters, the Mavericks can start to readjust into their season. Their rebuilding phase is coming to an end.
And with the former MVP of the EuroLeague coming on board, they now have an even better chance at making their case for a western conference playoff berth.