They were already a team garnering national headlines because of Luka Doncic, the impressive Serbian teenager. Dirk Nowitzki is in the midst of a possible final season of his 21-year career. They have a lot of talented players on this team and are one of the best in the league when it comes to winning games on their home floor. And with the trade deadline upon us now, they have made various trades to reshape their roster and make us really consider their future.
Impressive Trade Hauls
After a number of trade rumblings for weeks, maybe months, they traded second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Wes Matthews to the Knicks. They wanted the big man four years ago, waited all this time, and finally brought him in… only to get rid of him months later. Anyway, the haul was incredible. Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Courtney Lee, and Kristaps Porzingis are joining the Mavs. They bring one of the brightest young stars in the game who has not been healthy in over a year but remains flush with potential.
Just last night, they sent Harrison Barnes and will likely only have Justin Jackson remaining from that deal. Barnes had a very eventful 2.5 years with the team where he branched out from his days in Golden State, proving to be a valuable scorer and leader for a growing Mavs team. But sending him to Sacramento saves them over $25 million in cap space for next season, allowing them the opportunity to try and bring in multiple max-contract players. This is a team with an impressive core.
Doncic Continues to Dominate
Luka Doncic, who has been making headlines all season, just posted his third triple-double before hitting the age of 20. Markelle Fultz had the only other one last season, and it is one of many impressive things we have seen from Luka. This team is 25-28 and a few games out the final playoff spot, but this season won’t be about that. It will be about working all of their new players into the rotation, and making some decisions about the players that should be here beyond the season and if they should be extended after the expiration of their current contracts.
Doncic’s numbers have been that which are even better than LeBron’s were during his rookie season. He’s posting 20.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, and 5.4 apg. He’s shooting 43.5% from the floor, and 35.2% from deep, but if we had an official stat on his step-back shooting percentage, it’d be easy to guess that he’d be over 50%. He is already, even if he doesn’t play another game, the unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year. The race is not nearly as close as last year, nor should it.
The rest of this season will provide a great opportunity for Maxi Kleber to prove his worth to the Mavs. Hailing from the same hometown as Dirk, he has been better than his stats say. He’s averaging 6.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s also making a three per game and shooting 37% from deep. He’s able to protect the rim and could get some run as the starting center now. He’s a guy that will be fun to see for the rest of the year.
Bright Future Ahead
There is still time for Dallas to possibly gun for the #8 spot this season, but we look to the future when talking about all the talent they have. We’ll see who wants to join Luka and Kristaps in free agency because they have such an allure, they will make them an attractive FA destination.