The Dallas Mavericks traded up from fifth to third overall to select Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft. It cost them two first-round selections, but it was well worth the price. Doncic immediately became a star and changed the trajectory of the franchise. They went from rebuilding to the playoffs in two years as Doncic earned first-team All-NBA honors in his second season.
Luka became so good so quickly that it hurt the team’s chance to build around him. Most rebuilding squads get multiple lottery picks to cultivate their roster. Dallas selected Dennis Smith Jr. in 2017, but he did not fit next to Doncic as both needed the ball in their hands to thrive. The Mavericks traded their 2019 lottery pick to land Luka, and they have been in the playoffs ever since.
Building a title contender around a young superstar is never easy. The Mavs have the most difficult piece to acquire, but they have struggled to put the right players around Doncic. There have been plenty of mistakes by the two front offices, but what do they wish they could redo?
5 things the Dallas Mavericks wish they could redo since acquiring Luka Doncic
It is worth noting that Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle led the front office that was responsible for drafting Doncic, but they left the franchise after reported turmoil (subscription required) in 2021. Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd replaced them with most of the mistakes coming from the old regime.
The new front office's biggest blunder was failing to sign Jalen Brunson to an extension and letting him walk in free agency. That move will hurt the Mavericks this season and beyond, but it has yet to have any on-court impact on them. It was a massive blunder, and just what this article is designed to look at.
What do the Dallas Mavericks wish they could redo? How would that have helped them build a better roster around their 23-year-old superstar? Let us take a closer at five regrettable moves and what the Mavs could have done better.