Mavs Reveal Who They’re Signing For Luka Doncic
The Dallas Mavericks have already come up with one thing they absolutely, positively must add for Luka Doncic this summer: a physically-imposing veteran who can play defense.
“A dog,” if you will.
“The Mavs will look to add a tough vet or two this offseason,” ESPN NBA insider Tim MacMahon wrote on Sunday.
“That’s been the plan and this series has reinforced the reasoning. ‘We need to get some dogs,’ one member of the front office told me months ago.”
To be clear, it is about more than simply finding players who can be enforcers behind Doncic. It is about improving a defense that barely cracked the top 20 this season.
“It’s not just about having an enforcer for Luka Doncic. Mavs know they need to be much better than the 18th-ranked defense to have a good chance to win a championship,” McMahon added.
Chris Paul stepped up and got his entire team registered to vote. The rest of the NBA has yet to follow suit. https://t.co/h6Rwh8yu53
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 28, 2020
On Sunday afternoon, the Mavericks were eliminated from the 2020 Playoffs in a 111-97 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Despite a disappointing conclusion to the season, things are obviously looking up for Dallas.
In Doncic’s first NBA season, the team won only 33 games and looked some ways away from being a credible playoff contender. However, thanks to some savvy roster moves, the Mavericks won 43 games in a shortened season this year and pushed arguably the second-best team in the Western Conference to the limit in four out of six games.
Mavs’ Decision Probably Related To Marcus Morris
Dallas’ newfound desire for adding tough veterans no doubt has at least something to do with how Marcus Morris hounded Doncic in the first round.
Although Morris did little to limit Doncic’s actual on the court production, he was still able to get under the 21-year-old’s skin. The only Mavericks player who bothered to step up and do anything about it was Kristaps Porzingis, and he was ejected for his troubles.
Marcus Morris rubbed salt in the wound. https://t.co/QpSOcEk8QH
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 31, 2020
The whole point of having a savvy, tough veteran to handle the dirty work is that they know far to push in those situations. And on the rare occasions they push too far, like Morris in Game 6, it doesn’t have a huge impact on the team’s play anyway.
Meanwhile, if Porzingis hadn’t gotten ejected in Game 1, Dallas may have won that one.
Obviously adding a tough vet isn’t going to be the only move owner Mark Cuban makes in the offseason. The Mavericks need additional star support, too.
In Tim Hardway’s $18.9 million contract and Justin Jackson’s $5 million contract, brass has enough to acquire a max-level player.
Between their 2020 first rounder and Maxi Kleber, the Mavericks could theoretically entice a deal from a mediocre team looking to rebuild.
Dallas is going to have a lot of options in the offseason. Walking away with at least a partial talent upgrade is of utmost importance.
NBA ratings and UFC ratings are going in opposite directions. https://t.co/a27KtwSo1D
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 26, 2020
Luka Doncic Will Need To Improve, Too
As great as Doncic is, he is only 21. His continued progression is key to future success.
Fortunately, the young star seems to understand that. After the Clippers eliminated his team from the playoffs, he said this much during the postgame interviews.
“There’s a lot of things to improve on,” he said.
“You can’t work on just one thing, you’ve got to work on everything. But I’ll especially work on my shooting. That’s my key.”
Mavericks’ Luka Doncic on his off-season focus before his third NBA season: “There’s a lot of things to improve on. You can’t work on just one thing, you’ve got to work on everything. But I’ll especially work on my shooting. That’s my key.” pic.twitter.com/MOmZ7WIRc3
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 30, 2020
The Mavericks are a fascinating team that is one or two big moves away from legitimate championship contention. Will they ultimately be able to make the necessary deals to take the next step? Time will tell.