The Dallas Mavericks fell to the Toronto Raptors 127-116 last night, in one of their worst defensive performances of the season.
Barring the first quarter, the Mavericks had a tough time catalyzing consistent offensive stretches and often fell victim to the defensive prowess of Toronto’s length on the wing. O.G. Anunoby and Pascal Siakam did a great job of trapping Luka Doncic and other Dallas ball handlers at the point of attack, and it led to plenty of deflections and steals that turned into layups for Toronto.
The Mavericks haven’t faced a team with such drastic length in a small-ball lineup, and Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic made a huge point of emphasis on playing small-ball to counteract the Mavericks’ lack of positional size on the perimeter during the second half.
2 Raptors players prove Mavericks should trade for them in win over Dallas
With Dereck Lively II out due to a non-COVID illness, head coach Jason Kidd conceded to playing small ball during large stretches of the second half to match Toronto and it led to Anunoby and Siakam feasting on smaller Mavericks defenders. While the Raptors may have struggled to shoot the ball last night, Siakam and Anunoby had no trouble beating Dallas defenders on the perimeter to get to the rim.
Dallas routinely missed defensive rotations last night and honestly should have given up more points with the number of open shots Toronto had last night. Still, the Raptors did a much better job of hustling for loose balls as they finished with 18 offensive rebounds to make up a rough performance from downtown.
Dallas can’t continually keep getting destroyed in the second chance points battle, but perhaps last night was a dress rehearsal for some individuals who can help in that department. Dallas is 6-2 and it was just their first home loss of the season, so there’s no need to hit the panic button just yet. However, one of the more obvious holes on this team is the lack of positional size and offensive self-creation ability from their 3 and 4 spots.
Anunoby and Siakam would help with that issue tremendously if Toronto is looking to move on at all from them this season, and both have been in trade rumors for multiple seasons now. The trajectory of how good Toronto is this season will certainly dictate where executive Masai Ujiri lays in his assessment of the team come the trade deadline.
However, if the Raptors have another mediocre season, they may wish to finally move on from one of Anunoby or Siakam. The addition of Anunoby or Siakam would almost certainly thrust the Mavericks into championship contention, so long as they didn’t give up too much in the deal.
They are both excellent defenders who can defend a position up if needed, and it would further give Dallas the ability to effectively play small-ball if they needed to. Anunoby would certainly be welcomed if Toronto was trying to move on from him, but he fits more of the true-wing mold compared to Siakam who would mend a myriad of Dallas’ rebounding and defensive issues because of his energy and athleticism at his 6-foot-9 frame.
Siakam has gotten off to a rough start to the season barring last night, so it will be interesting to monitor him and Anunoby going forward throughout the rest of the season from Dallas’ perspective. The Mavericks are in a precarious position as they have done a great job through their first eight games, but haven’t faced elite competition yet.
Dallas will need to make another move if they want to be sure-fire contenders this year and not disappoint next time Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is in town. We’ll have you covered if Dallas makes a move as well as everything else involving the team going forward, so stay tuned.