What the Dallas Mavericks must figure out after the 2023 trade deadline

Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving
Dallas Mavericks, Kyrie Irving / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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What Dallas Mavericks must figure out during stretch run: 2. Enough defense?

The Mavs are going to have an elite offense. Luka Doncic is one of the best shot-creators in the league, and Kyrie Irving is arguably the world’s best ball-handler. Dallas will have zero issues creating open shots and knocking them down, but can they get enough stops on the other end of the floor?

Head coach Jason Kidd emphasizes defense, but the Mavericks are short on production. They ranked 24th in defensive rating before the trade where Dallas sent out their best perimeter defender and a 6’5 guard, and replaced them with the 6’2 Irving and Markieff Morris, who could offer them a switchable forward. Kyrie is a better defender than he gets credit for, but he is still below league average. Can the Mavs find a way to make it work?

Three things must happen for Dallas to improve their defense. First, they need Reggie Bullock and Josh Green to step up and defend better at the point of attack. The Mavs also need to get Maxi Kleber healthy and the entire team must buy into playing team defense. The effort and energy on the defensive end have wavered this season, but Dallas is capable of locking in.

Will the Mavericks improve their defense enough to make a deep postseason? It is too early to tell. When Kleber returns, they will improve. How much? Fans should be watching closely after the All-Star break to see if Dallas can turn it on.