Dallas Mavericks must improve defense: Trae Young makes them worse on that end
Scoring was not a problem for the Mavericks this season as they finished sixth in offensive rating by putting up 115.9 points per 100 possessions. Dallas has one of the best offensive creators in the world in Luka Doncic. Even if Trae Young replaces Kyrie, does that makes the Mavs offense better? It arguably makes them worse as Doncic and Irving are a more natural fit than Luka and Trae.
One area it makes certainly worse is defense, and the Mavericks were already abysmal. They finished 25th in defensive rating this season giving up 116.1 points per 100 possessions. All five teams below them are in the lottery, and only the Hawks and Kings made the playoffs finishing in the bottom ten in defensive rating.
Young is one of the worst defenders in the NBA. He was better this season because he competed harder, but Ice Trae is a 6’1 point guard with a small frame and a 6’2 wingspan. He is not suddenly turning into Jrue Holiday. Young rated 189th of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight’s defensive RAPTOR, and this was by far his best year. Combining the last five years, Young finished 911, 1197, 1213, 1230, and 1240 of 1244 qualified players.
Before fans jump to say Kyrie is worse, Irving finished above 850 every year except 2021, which ranked 1143 or better than four of Young’s five seasons.
The Dallas Mavericks have limited assets. They must use what they have to address issues, not chase after Trae Young.