6 Mistakes that doomed the Dallas Mavericks from winning the Finals

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic / Elsa/GettyImages
2 of 6

5. Tim Hardaway Jr. disappearing in the Playoffs

It's no secret that Tim Hardaway Jr. has been struggling since the turn of the new year. It feels like yesterday that fans were discussing him as a potential Sixth Man Of The Year candidate before all those talks came crashing down after January.

To make matters worse, Hardaway Jr. suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Game 2 of the first round against the LA Clippers and didn't return until the beginning of the second round against the OKC Thunder. In hindsight, it's clear this injury threw off any momentum Hardaway Jr. built during the tail end of the regular season.

Despite suffering an untimely injury at the beginning of the 2024 Playoffs, Hardaway Jr. had an awful end to his eleventh season in the league. In his first career Conference Finals appearance, Hardaway Jr. was played off the floor after just one game, and it was no different during his first NBA Finals experience.

Hardaway Jr. has often been looked at as the Mavericks' third-best option on offense even during shooting slumps like fans saw during the back half of the season. When Hardaway Jr. isn't shooting the ball at a normal clip, it's hard for Jason Kidd to play him in a consistent role, especially during the playoffs.

Without Hardaway Jr. the Mavericks simply didn't have enough offensive versatility and power to compete with a historic Celtics squad. Not only will Hardaway Jr.'s absence be a huge "what if" when discussing this Mavericks team, but it could also be a huge indication for Dallas on whether or not Hardaway Jr. remains a Mav for the long run.