The Dallas Mavericks have been going through a tough rebuild over the past few seasons, one of the tough things that most teams have to go through. Despite this, Rick Carlisle should still be considered one of the best coaches in the NBA.
The Dallas Mavericks went from annual contenders during most of this century to a rebuilding team with little to hang their hat on from 2016-18. Then, with the emergence of star rookie, Luka Doncic, and a trade to acquire 25-year old potential superstar, Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavs have a new identity and a new path to playoffs.
Lost in all of this change has been the recognition that Coach Carlisle deserves. As one of the best basketball minds in the world, people have overlooked Carlisle because he has spent the past three seasons working with a team that needed to go through a rebuild in order to compete. This was a stark change from the Mavs approach during the five seasons after the immaculate 2011 Championship run.
The Mavs made the playoffs in four of the five years after the 2011 title, but got bounced in the first round of each of them. This is largely because it was essentially Dirk Nowitzki vs. the world. The team’s decision to bring in new veterans each year that had to learn how to gel together year after year was not the team’s best move and it cost them.
Despite all of that, Carlisle was still able to get that team to the playoffs year after year. No matter what anyone says, the ability for Carlisle to put an average team on the floor and still make the playoffs in the Western Conference is no easy task. Just ask Gregg Popovich.
I have heard a lot of slander against Coach Carlisle over the past few weeks. Some people have apparently forgotten (whether willingly or unwillingly I am not sure) just what Carlisle has done for this team. Let’s dispel some of the knocks that people have against Carlisle as a coach.
1. He doesn’t work well with young players
This is false. Carlisle is actually a very good coach at helping players develop and become better players. The types of players he does not work well with are not young guys, but rather immature players. Sure you can choose to view this as a fault to his coaching, but a no nonsense guy like Carlisle needs players willing to fit his system to maximize the potential for the team.
2. His no nonsense style steers some players away from Dallas
This one is probably true. Carlisle knows what it takes to be at the top and the Mavericks team that won it all was by no means the most talented team in the league. They were the most disciplined and they were the team that all knew how to work together in order to achieve a common goal. This is the same style that many of the greatest coaches in league history have.
3. His offense is outdated
Admittedly, I have only heard this one once or twice, but if you truly believe that the Mavericks offense, the same offense that has been in the top five in three-pointers attempted three of the past four years, then you are living with your head in the sand. Carlisle has managed to bring his offensive sets into the modern NBA without an issue and that will continue to be the case going forward.
The Dallas Mavericks are finally looking like a team ready to make it back to the NBA Playoffs and Coach Carlisle is going to be a big factor for exactly that. Looking forward to another great year and the first of many with Luka and KP running that Carlisle offense.