Thing Dallas Mavericks need around Luka Doncic to be title contenders: 5. Rim protection
The Mavs traded Kristaps Porzingis and a second-round pick for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans at the deadline. It was an admission that the Unicorn was never going to be their second star, and the deal gave Dallas some flexibility moving forward.
The trade left Maxi Kleber as the Mavericks only rim protector. Dallas had their most success playing five-out in the playoffs with Kleber on the floor. They did well limiting Rudy Gobert and Deandre Ayton, but Kevon Looney dominated the Mavs in the Western Conference Finals. Having a rim protector inside would have made the team’s stellar defense that much better.
Rim protection falls fifth on the list because Dallas would love to find it from a stretch five. Brook Lopez would be the perfect fit for the Mavericks, but the Bucks are not trading the seven-footer away.
Dallas does not have cap space this summer, so they will be shopping for a center on the trade market or for below the taxpayer mid-level exception. Finding someone capable of stretching the floor and protecting the rim is unlikely. The Mavs will still add a rim protector, but his minutes are likely to drop in the postseason as Dallas spreads the floor.