As the Dallas Mavericks prepare for next season, all of their attention should be on avoiding the mistakes they made last season, as they fell short of even the Play-In Tournament.
Dallas addressed many of their issues by trading for Richaun Holmes and Grant Williams, drafting Dereck Lively II and Olivier-Maxence Prosper, signing Seth Curry and Dante Exum, and re-signing Kyrie Irving and Dwight Powell.
They brought back most of their core players and brought in some necessary help, all of which should set them up beautifully for success next year.
How the Mavericks addressed their 1 key to a resurgence next season
But what will the key to the Mavericks’ success be in the 2023-24 season?
When the Mavericks made a run to the Western Conference finals in 2022, their defense was sneakily one of the best in the league throughout the course of the year.
In the regular season, the Mavericks ranked seventh in defensive rating (109.1). They found success on that side of the ball, matching Luka Doncic’s offensive dominance with an impressive defensive presence.
Heading into next year, that seems to be the plan once again, as many of the pieces they added this summer are especially great on the defensive side of the ball.
Lively is a freak athlete who showed off his defensive instincts during Summer League. He may not be ready to start right away, but with a little development, he could be one of the best defensive bigs in the league. (And a lot quicker than most realize.)
Prosper is a force on the defensive end, too, as is Exum, who is attempting to make his return to the NBA.
But perhaps their most crucial defensive addition will be Williams, who was an extremely versatile defender in Boston and will continue to play a role in Dallas, likely as the Day 1 starter.
He’s quick enough to defend the perimeter but strong enough to keep up with some of the best bigs in the league, making him the Mavericks’ best defender.
Add in Josh Green, Maxi Kleber, and Holmes, and the Mavericks have quietly put together a great defensive group around Doncic and Kyrie Irving.
If they can get back to where they were two years ago on the defensive end, they could do more than just get back into the playoffs.