2 Mavericks that earned untouchable status, 4 that should be cut loose
By Tyler Watts
The Dallas Mavericks just wrapped up a disappointing season that featured an epic collapse that saw them drop from fourth to 11th in the Western Conference over the final two months. They won just seven of their final 25 games as little went right for Dallas. Luka Doncic was still putting up historic numbers, but the roster around him was subpar, and the results speak volumes.
The Mavericks now face a crucial offseason. There is already fear that Doncic will request a trade in 2024 if the roster around him does not improve. Kyrie Irving is a free agent, and there are real reasons to think that he has played his last game as a Maverick. Dallas must add defense and depth after finding a way to keep the eight-time All-Star. The Mavs front office certainly has their work cut out for them.
There was plenty to learn about their roster this season, and here are six players who changed their values. Two joined Doncic in the untouchable category, with the caveat that Dallas would trade anyone not named Luka for the right price, and four are on the chopping block this summer.
Dallas Mavericks player that earned untouchable status: 2. Jaden Hardy
The Mavs traded back into the 2022 NBA Draft to select Jaden Hardy 37th overall. They were targeting him with their late first-round pick before dealing it to Houston to get Christian Wood. When Hardy slipped into the second round, Dallas pounced back in to grab the 6’4 guard.
Hardy was the number two player in his class coming out of high school, but he decided to play for the G League Ignite over going to college. The teenager struggled against pros, but he quickly outperformed his draft stock this season. The 20-year-old is a walking bucket that shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range over 177 attempts.
The rookie guard improved throughout the year, and the coaching staff often praised his work ethic. Over his final 37 games played, Hardy averaged 10.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 17.1 minutes per game as he shot 45.3 percent from the field and 43.3 percent on his 3-point tries.
Jaden Hardy showed enough during his rookie season to have the Dallas Mavericks excited about his present and future. The team hopes he can crack the rotation next season, and the 20-year-old looks like the franchise’s future sixth man. He was not the only young wing to impress this season.