Grading the trade for the Dallas Mavericks
As prefaced, the Mavericks trot out a porous defense. The Mavericks can score with any squad in the league, but allowing 120 points per game is a recipe for disaster.
Dallas must add perimeter and interior defensive talent. In this trade, the Mavs acquire two exceptional athletes who are capable of defending the perimeter at a high level.
Taking a swing on Jonathan Kuminga is an ideal risk to take. The young forward is by no means disappointing, but he hasn't necessarily shined.
Throughout two-plus seasons, Kuminga has averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.4 blocks on average efficiency. He shoots it 50.9 percent from the field, but only 33.9 percent from beyond the arc.
This season, Kuminga has looked better than before. He's averaging double-digit points and is getting to the free-throw line multiple times per game. He's averaging 4.5 freebies per contest. And he's making 74.1 percent of those.
Kuminga's offense also seems to be on the brink of a breakout. And this season might be the season. However, Dallas would make this trade to upgrade defense and athleticism.
Dallas could bring Kuminga off the bench or slide Kuminga in at the three, swapping Derrick Jones Jr. out in the process. The young wing's output is eerily similar to Jones Jr.'s. However, Kuminga's potential blows Jones Jr. out of the water. Additionally, Kuminga's usage rate is far higher, highlighting a potential for increased playmaking.
Aside from Kuminga, the Mavs would receive Gary Payton II in this deal. Payton II is a guard defender that Dallas desperately needs. Starting Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving equates to phenomenal defense, but foregoes defense.
Potential starting lineup: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II
Adding a defensive playmaker to the backcourt helps the Dallas defense tenfold. Without solid perimeter defenders, the Mavs are susceptible to huge-scoring nights from star guards.
Dallas receives an A for this trade. Acquiring Kumina and Payton II for a player on the outside of the rotation and another tip-toeing the line between playing time and DNPs is a massive win. Giving away multiple second-rounders may sting, but the youth in Dallas is more than enough to make up for a lack of future picks.