Dallas Mavericks: Should defense be a priority this summer?
By Kohl Rast
The Dallas Mavericks did not have any player on the team receive a single vote for the NBA All-Defensive first team or second team this year. This is the second consecutive year that a Mavericks player did not receive a single vote.
Even though the Dallas Mavericks were in the top half in defensive output in the NBA this year, they did not have a single player receive a vote for the NBA All-Defensive first or second team. The Mavs record probably played a part in the fact that none of the players gained any recognition, but the fact of the matter stands that some of the players on the team are good defenders.
To take the next step into relevance in the current NBA, however, the Mavs need to go from their good defenders and get some great defenders going forward. Sure, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith and even Jalen Brunson have all shown that they can be good defenders in today’s league and the Mavs should definitely keep them around, but the team really could use a defensive leader.
Some of the guys who have been mentioned as potential free agent targets for Dallas could help change the defensive identity. Patrick Beverley is a name that has come up frequently when the Mavs free agency plans are talked about. Bev earned 48 total points in the voting, the sixth highest for a guard and the 11th highest overall. Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Mike Conley and Danny Green also received votes.
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With Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis ready to carry this team into the next phase, they will need some defensive stoppers to help out. This can’t just be new players, this has to be a new mentality and a new focus for Dallas.
Offense is obviously very important to basketball as well, but there is a reason that possibly the two best defensive teams in the league will likely be meeting up in the NBA Finals. Offense is necessary, but so is defense.
The Mavs said earlier this year that one of the priorities of this summer would be to acquire some 3-and-D players to help round out the team. I think this is a wise goal for the Mavs and that if they can find the best people to contribute on both ends around Luka and KP, it will help the team find its way into possible contention.
It is a bit of a shame that Dodo and Maxi didn’t receive at least a little bit of recognition for how good they were defensively, but it is a chance for them to recognize what they need to do to continue to grow into great defenders in the league. Both are capable of hitting that point.
Dallas has a good starting point, but next season will need to take a leap in defensive ability and prowess. That is going to have to come through free agency more than anything else and I think the Mavs are up for the task.