The Dallas Mavericks have lost four straight games, and the front office needs to get superstar Luka Doncic more help. The 23-year-old leads the league in scoring, but the team is just 9-10 to open the season. Doncic is among the MVP frontrunners, but he won’t have a chance to win the award if the Mavs do not perform better.
The front office took the first step in improving their roster on Nov. 28 when they released Facundo Campazzo to sign Kemba Walker. The four-time All-Star guard could have signed a max contract with the Mavs in 2019, but he chose to sign with the Celtics. He has since dealt with multiple knee injuries and his production has plummeted.
Walker was sent home by the Knicks last season, and they traded him to Detroit during the offseason where he was released just before the season. Walker has been staying in shape, but he was without a team until Monday morning, so what should fans expect from the 32-year-old point guard?
What does Kemba Walker bring to the Dallas Mavericks?
Vintage Kemba was unstoppable, but he is far from that player today. Still, he is above average 3-point shooter that shot over 39 percent on his catch-and-shoot tries for three straight seasons. Walker will have more catch and shoot opportunities with Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie ready to share the floor with him.
Walker also scored 0.96 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, which rated in the top 21 percent of the league, and he ran that action the fifth-most frequently of any player in the league. The Mavs love to run spread pick and roll, and Walker gives them another capable ball-handler and playmaker that can jumpstart their offense.
Their lack of playmaking has been on full display as the Mavericks have lost five of their last six games. Teams have often doubled Doncic and forced someone else to defeat them. When Dinwiddie is off the floor, Dallas has nowhere to turn. Behind their two starting guards, Christian Wood is the top playmaker and everyone else is best suited as a catch-and-shoot or finish option.
Hopefully, Kemba provides some offensive juice in Dallas. The best-case scenario here is Derrick Rose. The 6’3 guard was nearly out of the league after the 2017-2018 season and knee injuries wreaked havoc on his career before he caught on with the Timberwolves and became a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Rose has since had four productive seasons. Kemba has the talent. He just needs the fit and health to be a productive backup guard in the league.
Walker got buckets last season, and he will again in Dallas. Fans can see a difficult finish from his time with the Knicks below.
It will be interesting to see how much head coach Jason Kidd turns to Walker because his defense has always been a question mark. He rated 136th of 299 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR last season. Can Walker hold his own on the defensive end of the floor? Expect him to be below average, but all the Mavericks need is passable for Kemba to make a difference.
Kemba Walker will get a shot to join the Dallas Mavericks rotation. The team desperately needs another ball-handler and playmaker, and Kemba averaged 11.6 points and 3.5 assists in 25.6 minutes per game last season. He gives Dallas the third ball-handler and playmaker they lacked since the departure of Jalen Brunson, and it will be interesting to see what kind of impact Walker can have in Dallas on a veteran minimum deal.
The Mavericks have zero interest in wasting one year of Luka Doncic’s prime, so expect them to make more moves ahead of February’s trade deadline to try to improve the roster around number 77. How much can they? Stay tuned to find out.