Dallas Mavericks' Ceiling
As the previous slide began, Luka Doncic plays for the Mavericks. Thus, Dallas has a high floor. But rostering Doncic also calls for a high ceiling. Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report even went as far as to crown Doncic as the under-25 guard with the highest ceiling in the NBA.
Anointing Doncic to have the highest ceiling in the NBA isn't off-brand. Doncic is a 4-time All-Star and 4-time All-NBA player at only 24 years old. With Doncic in tow, Dallas has a shot at a deep playoff run every season he remains healthy, which he has done for most of his career.
Now with Kyrie Irving also in the fold, Doncic has the best teammate of his career. Rather than over-exhausting himself in the majority of games, Doncic can now rely on Irving to pour in the points early and often.
Other than a healthy Doncic and Irving, the Mavs must see improvements in their young players. Previously, it was mentioned that Green is a great defender and Hardy is a fantastic scorer, but both guards remain underdeveloped in other areas.
If Green can find himself on offense, Dallas will have found a long-term starter on the wing. And if Hardy can play even league-average defense and show a willingness as a distributor, the Mavs will have a perennial sixth-man-of-the-year contender on their hands.
The Mavs spent their picks on two prospects with emerging yet unpolished games. Dereck Lively II only averaged 5.2 points in 20.6 minutes per game at Duke. And Olivier-Maxence Prosper only spent his junior season as a worthwhile contributor for the Marquette Golden Eagles.
If Lively II and Prosper can accelerate their developments, the Mavs ceiling will be exponentially raised. Both rookies play a position of need for Dallas, a main reason why each player was drafted.
The Mavs have lacked a quality center for some time now. And if Lively II could fill that void in the near future, then the Dallas defense will certainly become an above-average unit as opposed to the bottom-tier unit they fielded a season ago.
As for Prosper, he looks to fill the open role Dorian Finney-Smith left behind. Once Finney-Smith was traded to Brooklyn, the Mavs had a major gap between the guards and bigs. The Mavs did their best to fill this void with Prosper.
Additionally, Dallas acquired forward Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics. Therefore, the Mavs have two options to fill the coveted 3-and-D forward spot. All Williams must do to raise the Mavs' ceiling is provide spot-up shooting, tertiary scoring, and favorable defense.
Williams came to Dallas with Seth Curry, Richaun Holmes, Dante Exum, and Derrick Jones Jr. If each of these players quickly finds their roles as a part of the Dallas roster, wins will quickly pile up. Luckily for the Mavs, each one of the listed players are specialists, rather than jack-of-all-trades types.
Curry will provide shooting, Holmes interior depth, Exum perimeter defense, and Jones Jr. athleticism and wing defense. If these role players can continue to play these roles for Dallas, the ceiling won't look too far-fetched.
A few players must exceed their projections for the Mavs to reach their hypothetical ceiling. However, the Mavs ceiling isn't an improbable goal. Dallas has put together the requisite pieces to join the 50-win club once again.