Mavericks' longtime rival will be on their heels soon with formation of deadly duo

Dallas Mavericks, Victor Wembanyama, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Victor Wembanyama, Luka Doncic / Ronald Cortes/GettyImages

The Dallas Mavericks weren't a participant in the first day of the 2024 NBA Draft, as they owed their first-round pick to the New York Knicks, who then traded it to the Washington Wizards.

Even so, the Mavs' front office people were probably on their phones, practicing due diligence in case a trade that could benefit the team was available. Dallas missed out on a perfect draft night trade after the Portland Trail Blazers acquired its former rumored target, Deni Avdija, for a veteran and draft assets. But it could be waiting for a better move.

Still, it would have been only right for the top brass to watch how the draft, including the second round, unfolds to gauge how tough the competition could be starting next season.

Spurs could be on Mavericks' heels soon with Castle-Wembanyama duo

One of the teams expected to improve after the draft's first round is the San Antonio Spurs. After picking up French phenom Victor Wembanyama with the first overall selection last year, they seemed to have found a perfect sidekick in Stephon Castle. The Spurs have been a rival of the Mavs for years, and this rivalry may reignite soon as the Spurs are building something special.

The former University of Connecticut standout is a combo guard who wants to handle the ball more in the professional stage. But his most valuable asset is arguably his potential to be a threatening defender. Castle's physical tools, athleticism, and IQ project him as the perfect complement to Wembanyama, who was a Defensive Player of the Year runner-up in the last campaign.

While the Mavs appear to have quietly found their Kryptonite for Wembanyama, thanks to their twin towers of Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford, they should probably modify their scouting report when facing San Antonio in the 2024-25 season and beyond to account for Castle.

Of course, it will likely take some time for the new promising Texas hoops duo to come together. However, the Spurs appear to be gradually building a contending squad that can disrupt the Western Conference pecking order in the following years.

Fortunately, Dallas looks built to withstand the challenge other West competitors could throw at it in its quest to defend its Western Conference crown. With the roster getting a full training camp this summer, the team stands to only get better from hereon. The lessons of its bitter loss to the Boston Celtics in the Finals should also give Jason Kidd and his coaching staff more ideas on how the squad can improve.

In addition, the Mavs have plenty of opportunities to bolster their roster in the following weeks. For instance, the New York Knicks' acquisition of Mikal Bridges could lead to a massive move for Dallas. Fans should also remember that the organization has a second-round pick, with which it can target one of several under-the-radar prospects.

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