In the midst of an average season, the Dallas Mavericks shocked the NBA world by dealing fan-favorite Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick for Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris.
At the time of the trade, Dallas was 29-26, looking to go from average to excellent after finishing as the second-best squad in the Western Conference a season ago. In 2022, the Mavs went head-to-head with the eventual champion, Golden State Warriors, in the Western Conference Finals.
After that surprising playoff run, the Mavs lost their second-best player in free agency, Jalen Brunson. Although not quite the player he is now, Brunson provided the Mavs with a secondary playmaker, capable of leading the offense with Doncic on the bench.
3 reasons why Mavericks' duo of Luka and Kyrie will be better this season
The Mavs failed to re-sign Brunson in the offseason, as the talented guard instead bolted for the New York Knicks, signing a four-year, $104 million pact. Unfortunately for Dallas, they were unable to replace Brunson in free agency.
And midway through the season, Dallas knew it needed to make a move and shipped two quality players out to receive the star guard, Irving.
However, the trade seemingly backfired. After the Mavs acquired Irving, they finished the season with a 9-18 record and missed the playoffs.
The Mavs' defense derailed and Doncic and Irving could not form a stable connection. The Mavs didn't once hold an opponent to less than 104 points after February 6. As for the new star pairing, Doncic and Irving struggled to coexist, especially with the game on the line.
However, the dreadful 2022-23 season is now in the rearview mirror and Mavs fans are looking forward to a fresh, new season. Here are three reasons why the Dallas Mavericks' star duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving will do better this season.
3. Full offseason together
Doncic and Irving only played in sixteen games together a season ago. The duo could have appeared in 27 games together, but injuries and a lost season resulted in less time spent on the court with one another.
Now, entering the 2023-24 season, Doncic and Irving have been teammates for well over seven months.
The superstars have been able to work together, practice together, and play in an exhibition game alongside each other. Although the duo has yet to play more than once together this preseason, they still spend quality time in the gym with one another.
A midseason trade can spark a franchise or provide mixed results. As for the Mavericks, a sharp decline ensued once Irving moved south to Texas. The partnership looked questionable at best and the chemistry appeared to be off.
While the chemistry between Doncic and Irving is still a question mark, one can rest assured that the duo has built a stronger relationship with one another throughout the offseason. They want to win together and Irving seems fully bought in on the role of being Doncic's sidekick.