Things Are Bad For The Dallas Mavericks … But They Can Improve
By Emmanuel Dixon
Stay on the tank train or try to achieve the improbable? I present a hypothetical, yet attainable scenario for the Dallas Mavericks.
As the season progresses for the Dallas Mavericks, some fans have become content with the idea of tanking. Though early, this season is already over in the minds of many MFFL. That is not Dallas Mavericks culture.
Despite having the league’s worst record, the sky is the limit for Dallas (2-13). Cliche as it may be, better days are coming. How the Mavs get there, however, presents an interesting scenario.
These are their two options:
Stay Put and Aim For Lottery
This is probably the consensus favorite among Mavs fans.
For years now, the Philadelphia 76ers have stuck with their mantra “Trust the process”. Fast forward to the 2017-18 season and their rebuild via the draft has paid dividends and some teams are buying into it.
The idea is that pairing up Dennis Smith Jr. with an equally talented wing or big will set Dallas up nicely for the future.
With next year’s draft class featuring a bevy of potential franchise-changing players, plenty of Mavs fans have set their sights on who they feel will be the best fit for the franchise. Marvin Bagley III? Luka Doncic? Michael Porter Jr.?
Now ask yourself some questions: How far can one of these top prospects move the needle for Dallas? How long are you willing to endure a rebuild? Will it all be worth it?
If any of these give you cause to pause, consider this alternate route:
Make a Playoff Push and Find a Gem in Rd. 2
Before everyone channels their inner Jim Mora, let me explain.
The current trajectory of this season doesn’t leave much room for optimism for many fans. However, if history can be a guide, there may be reason to still have visions of a playoff berth. Yes … playoffs.
Through the first 15 games of the 2016-17 season, Dallas held a record of … you guessed it–2-13. By March 10, they were 27-36 and in a virtual tie for ninth place in the Western conference. The team that was once 16 games below .500 fought to bring themselves within a game of a playoff seed–all within a matter of two months.
Who is to say it can’t happen again?
A lineup featuring Dennis Smith Jr., Seth Curry, Harrison Barnes and Nerlens Noel has yet to be seen. Due to the waning relationship between coach Rick Carlisle and Nerlens Noel, it may never come to fruition. Oddly enough, however, that turmoil may be the catalyst of the boost needed.
As much as some fans want to see Noel utilized, it has become painfully clear that he is more likely to flourish on another roster. It may be wise for Dallas to explore some trade options in the near future.
For reference, this is a trade that can potentially take place by the deadline.
In this trade, Carlisle gets a defensive big that can stretch the floor and two swingmen that shoot 40 percent from behind the arc.
Don’t focus on the specifics. Whether or not Toronto even entertains an offer like this is a moot point. All in all, there’s plenty of time and opportunity for Dallas to improve this season, if they choose to.
One of the intangibles that won’t show up on a stat sheet; confidence can do wonders for players and an entire organization. Imagine what a successful playoff push will do for the young core that has been put together.
Early playoff experience for Dennis Smith Jr.–the Mavs’ centerpiece for the future–only bolsters his desire to stay and compete in Dallas.
Secondly, keep in mind that talent exists outside of the lottery. Throughout the course of the college basketball season, more and more players will emerge and become household names (e.g. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV).
Lastly, Dirk Nowitzki is willing to compete another season. A roster built to compete and go to battle with makes sense.
Next: Dennis Smith Jr. “Earned Respect” of Gregg Popovich
It all comes down to a matter of preference. Which will benefit Dallas more in the long run–adding talent to the worst team in the league or a playoff team? At the end of the day, the front office will do their best job to put Dallas in position for longterm success.