The Dallas Mavericks were the talk of the league in June 2021 as The Athletic dropped a bombshell report (subscription required) about the team’s front office and power structure, including their “shadow GM” that was the impetus of the franchise’s first significant shakeup in over a decade. General manager Donnie Nelson was gone with head coach Rick Carlisle departing just a few days later to shatter the Mavs long-held power structure.
Owner Mark Cuban quickly formed an advisory council featuring Dirk Nowitzki that hired Nico Harrison as general manager and president of basketball operations and Jason Kidd as head coach. The decisions were immediately put under the microscope. Kidd did not the best reputation as a head coach after two previous failed stops, and Harrison had zero front office experience. Fans were worried, but that did not last long.
The Mavericks exceeded all expectations this season as they finished fourth in the Western Conference, including having the second-best record in the NBA since Jan. 1, and reached the conference finals. Luka Doncic led Dallas to their first playoff series win since 2011 and helped them reach the conference finals for just the fifth time in franchise history. It was a massive year for the Mavs that could be the beginning of something bigger.
Why this was an important season for the Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs got off to a slow start in the regular season as head coach Jason Kidd was still installing his system, but the team closed strong. The Hall of Fame point guard preached chemistry and accountability all season, and the team’s bond helped them reach the conference finals.
Three important things happened this season that set Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks up for success for years to come.