“They” said Dallas won the Trae Young/Luka Dončić 2018 Draft day trade. Yet, “they,” and everybody else, are still waiting on Dončić to win a playoff series, as Young was a twisted ankle away from playing in the NBA Finals.
Last season, the Mavericks (42-30) won the Southwest Division, and are the favorites to do it again. Outside of Ja Morant and the young Memphis Grizzlies drastically improving, the old Spurs, the clueless Pelicans, and the train wreck Rockets, it’s easily the weakest division in the NBA. However, that also makes it hard to say the Mavericks will let you down if it looks like they’ll win their division and be a playoff team.
But, this is where expectations come into play, as Dončić will always be compared to Young and Deandre Ayton from his draft class, who have already experienced deep playoff runs. And for a 22-year-old that’s already won a Rookie of the Year award, is a two-time All-Star, and already made All-NBA First Team twice, doesn’t it feel like Dončić should have accomplished more postseason success by now, especially for a dude that leads the league in usage rate?
Enter Mark Cuban and the Mavs’ front office, and their inability to get Dončić some help.
Take a look at the Mavericks roster.
Here’s the link.
Now tell me, who on there can actually help Dončić out and get this team over the hump?
In the offseason, Dallas added Jason Kidd as their new head coach, signed Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown, and re-signed Jalen Brunson and Boban Marjanovic. They also locked Dončić up with a five-year, $207 million extension.
What does that mean?
The Mavericks have a bunch of role players and locked in their star, while their owner reportedly dared to say this about their elementary offseason activity.
“I think we’ve improved our team considerably.”
No, Mark. You didn’t.
The Jazz, Suns, and Nuggets aren’t going anywhere. The Clippers will be without Kawhi, but they’ll still be a playoff team and a hard out. Portland still has Dame, the Warriors are getting Klay back, and the Lakers have reloaded.
These are all the teams that Dallas will potentially have to play in the first round of the playoffs, which means they’ll be one-and-done again. And when that happens, Mavericks fans will start feeling frustrated and let down as they realize that they haven’t won a playoff series since Dallas won the Finals in 2011 — when they had a first-ballot hall of famer that struggled to get over the hump for years due to the lack of talent Mark Cuban surrounded him with for years.