The Dallas Mavericks have one of the best creators in the NBA in Luka Doncic. The 21-year-old superstar is unstoppable with the ball in his hands. He is nearly averaging a triple-double per game on the season and figures to be a fixture in the MVP race for the next decade-plus.
The Mavs currently sit 8-9 after losing two straight games, but they have played short-handed all season. Kristaps Porzingis missed the first nine games recovering from an offseason meniscus repair. He is playing like an All-Star, but Dallas has been without multiple players in the league’s health and safety protocols since his return.
The extended absences of Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Dwight Powell has opened up minutes for other players and exposed a few flaws. The Mavericks’ defense has been bad, but their three best perimeter defenders are all out. One issue is more glaring and without an in-house fix.
Dallas Mavericks need another shot creator and facilitator
Yes, four players are out, but none of them handle a ton of playmaking duties. Josh Richardson was a secondary creator in Miami for one year, but Dallas has not used him in that capacity. After a slow start to the season, Luka Doncic has been incredible. Over his last 11 games, the Mavs superstar averages 28.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 11.5 assists a night, but the team has won just six times.
The problem is when Doncic is on the bench. The Mavs offensive rating is 114.3 or a top-five mark in the league with Luka running the show. With Doncic on the bench, it drops to 102.2 or the worst mark in the league by two full points. Dallas also has a net rating of negative-4.9 with Luka off the floor which would rank 27th in the NBA.
Fans saw it in the Jan. 25 game against the Nuggets. The Mavericks rallied with a 36-point third quarter to take the lead with Luka playing all 12 minutes. He went to the bench to start the fourth and Dallas scored three points before coach Carlisle was forced to put him back in with 7:26 remaining.
Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke are quality NBA players, but neither is taking the primary playmaking role in the second unit. James Johnson is often the lead ball-handler, which is asking him to do too much. The team’s defense struggles with the two guards sharing the floor too.
The Mavericks need another creator and facilitator. Someone that can play off Luka Doncic and run the second unit. The trade deadline is on March 25, and Dallas should be searching for a playmaker. The defense will improve when Richardson, Finney-Smith, and Kleber return, but the Mavs need another ball-handler to jump into title contention.
Stay tuned because the Dallas Mavericks should be active and aggressive leading up to the trade deadline. Yes, they would love to add a third star, but acquiring one will be difficult. The Mavs should grab another playmaker to round out their roster. It will be interesting to see what Donnie Nelson and company can pull off. Do not miss it.