The Dallas Mavericks season is over – much later than most expected before the start of the playoffs. Is it a foretaste of several good years, or will the run be a glimpse in the forehead? Pros and cons.
PRO: Dallas Mavericks – A Taste of the Fat Years
By Philip Jacob
You should look in vain for tears of disappointment in Dallas at the moment. The playoffs after the 110: 120 loss in Game 5 of the West Finals indicated that it would have required an unprecedented 75-year sensation of the NBA to turn the 0-3 deficit against the Warriors. It didn’t get that far, but looking into the future should still make all Mavs fans shine.
“This is just the beginning of our journey,” head coach Jason Kidd promised after game 3 of the Warriors series. I know that the playoffs in 2022 are coming to an end, but after all, that does not mean “the end” for Luka Doncic and Co. Instead, the off-season was just a foretaste of the fat years Dallas is heading toward.
Kidd himself acknowledged very well that no master has yet fallen from the sky. Most teams have to go through a maturation process on their way to basketball Olympus, and also have negative playoff experiences. Dallas has already done so in recent years with two failures in the first round, this year the next step was taken. “This experience only makes us better,” Kidd is sure.
Now, of course, there are no guarantees that there will actually be a championship. But Doncic alone makes it very difficult for all Mavs fans to be pessimistic about the future.
Mavs star Luka Doncic: guarantee of a ticket to the Western elite
In a way, Dallas is ahead of schedule. After Kristaps Porzingis’ trade shortly before the trade deadline in February, such a playoff race was not even expected internally, which has been leaked to various media outlets in recent weeks. Doncic flushed the Mavs into the Western Elite earlier than expected.
In the form of the 23-year-old, the Texans know they have a franchise player in their ranks as he is in the book. He combines nightmarish scoring for each opponent with excellent play that makes the other players better. He is a future MVP, at least his name will always be mentioned in this discussion in the coming years. That could have been the case this season if he had started the season a little better.
The Slovenian will ensure that Mavs continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years. A strong framework has developed around him that has caused even the absolute best team in the regular season to fall – a stifling defense, strong (but sometimes inconsistent) shooting, many 3-and-D experts, like the whole league looking for.
Already, the Mavs have embraced playoff basketball. The pace of the game is also quite low in the basic game, Doncic is one of the best isolation scorers in the league – who can also make further progress when it comes to shooting, for example. And coach Kidd has implemented a defense that does not have to hide from any attack from the association.
Dallas Mavericks: Intense summer ahead
Dallas partly brought back memories of the magical final race in 2011. All too often, there is still too much pressure on Doncic’s shoulders, who as a superstar have to rock the case, as LeBron James, for example, did in the 2007 final.
It is therefore also clear that Mav’s front office has an intense summer ahead of it. The championship window is now open and needs to be maxed out, which is certainly not easy. The West is getting stronger instead of weaker, with the potential extension of Jalen Brunson threatening a major luxury tax bill.
The team around Doncic is relatively old and much more important: another star is still missing. Following the Porzingis deal, General Manager Nico Harrison still has several middle-class contracts that, in theory, could be combined in different ways and should make trading easier.
Mavs: A selling point that competitors want
In recent years, Dallas has not necessarily been the largest port of call for the stars, and that may have changed, too. While Dirk Nowitzki was no longer able to attract the really big fish in his old age because of his age, “We have Luka Doncic!” an excellent start to a selling point for disgruntled stars.
As you know, they sprout from the ground up in the modern NBA from time to time, so Dallas must try to strike. But even if the big hit does not succeed, the framework and especially Doncic as spearhead are good enough to attack in the coming season with a (in this case so largely) unchanged squad at the top.
It’s important to remember that Dallas was among the top teams in the league, not just in the playoffs, but in a long line through the final months of the regular season. Dallas will be an integral part of the battle for the Western crown in the years to come. Mavs’ bright Doncic future has already begun.