The Dallas Mavericks were one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams this season. One year after making the conference finals, they finished with the tenth-worst regular season record in the league and failed to qualify for the Play-In Tournament. Luka Doncic was second in the league in scoring, but his supporting cast was simply not good enough. Dallas collapsed down the stretch and is left searching for answers this offseason.
The on-court upgrades are clear. Dallas must improve their defense, rebounding, and rim protection if they want to jump back into contention. It all starts with re-signing Kyrie Irving, who is an unrestricted free agent. The Mavs need to bring back the eight-time All-Star after giving up so much to acquire him in February.
Dallas was lacking chemistry on the court this season. It was one of the biggest things Jason Kidd preached when he took over as head coach, but the franchise lost it in year two. Miami Heat wing Duncan Robinson joined The Old Man and the Three podcast with former Maverick J.J. Redick where he discussed how that aspect helped his team reach the NBA Finals for the second time in four years.
Duncan Robinson hits on exactly what Mavericks need when discussing run to NBA Finals
The Heat had a rocky opening to their season just one year after being in the conference finals, and there were plenty of questions. Would Miami even make the playoffs? They righted the ship just in time, and Robinson was quick to give credit to Kevin Love, who they signed on the buyout market in February, for the team’s turnaround.
"Kevin coming totally changed the whole dynamic of our locker room. Just his character, his levity, what he brought in terms of connecting people, his sense of humor. When you have a guy who’s played in four NBA Finals and won a championship get pulled from the rotation in the middle of the series, and his immediate reaction is uplifting the guy that is replacing him that alone sets the tone right on down the line for everybody else."
It is not just Love, though. Robinson continued with this thought about winning in the NBA.
"So much about winning is more than just schemes, Xs and Os, and competitive will. All of that stuff really matters, but I think so much of it really boils down to how you do get along with your group. How do you guys connect? It doesn’t mean that everybody has to be buddy-buddy and love each other and hang out off the court, but there has to be a level of connection and trust as you play, but then also like in the bigger picture of how you come together as a group."
Fans can watch the discussion between Robinson, Redick, and podcast co-host Tommy Alter below.
The Mavericks were missing that element of what J.J. Redick calls “connectivity” this season. Head coach Jason Kidd preached defense, chemistry, and accountability when he was hired, but the team lost those principles last season. They did not have the same chemistry after Jalen Brunson’s departure and the accountability was severely lacking, especially on the defensive end of the floor.
It is precisely why the Dallas Mavericks need to round out their roster with veterans this summer. They need to make significant upgrades around Luka Doncic, but the final roster spots should be used on key locker room voices and experienced options that can help them navigate the complexities of the long NBA season.
Can the Dallas Mavericks regain that connectivity next season? It starts with Luka Doncic. Will he grow into the team’s leader and keep them together? It is something to watch closely early on and stay tuned for all the latest.