The Dallas Mavericks have limped out of the starting blocks in this marathon known as the NBA season to a 9-10 record after nearly one quarter of the year. Luka Dončić is off to another MVP-caliber tear, but he’ll still finish empty-handed without much team success. Coming off the team’s conference finals run last postseason, the Mavs have looked nothing like the squad that blew out the Suns in Game 7 of the semifinals.
Obviously, Dallas needs help, so you’d expect them to go out and find another player to compliment Dončić. So, that’s what they’re doing. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Mavs plan to sign 32-year-old point guard Kemba Walker to help bolster their backcourt.
Dallas is hoping Walker still has enough left in the tank to give that backcourt a boost. A New York City product, Walker, was once a 20-plus ppg scorer in the NBA, but those days have passed him by. That’s evident from his time spent with his hometown Knicks last year, where he played in just 37 games and averaged just 11.6 points, the lowest of his career. In fact, it’s always felt like Walker lived off that successful 2011 NCAA March Madness title run at UConn.
An even bigger issue is that Walker isn’t the type of player these Mavs need. Walker’s played with the ball in his hands since he was a kid. He’s probably been the primary ball handler/point guard on every team he’s been on up until recently. Undoubtedly, Walker knows it isn’t going down that way in Dallas playing alongside Luka.
Walker will likely come off the bench, but at some point, you’d think he and Dončić will occupy the court together. There’s already tremendous concern around Dončić not trusting teammates, so Walker will inevitably end up being another guy standing around watching “the grill master” cook. (And for the record, that is the wackest nickname ever uttered. I know he’s playing in Texas but... come on. Go back to the drawing board on that one, please.)
It’s been rough for the Mavs this year, shooting from deep as they’re 20th in the NBA in 3-point percentage. Dallas shoots 34.5 percent from behind the arc, and Walker is a career 36 percent three-point shooter. But Walker has never been a stand in the corner and wait for the ball to come around style of player. So, this signing is a little mind-boggling.
It’s understandable for Dallas to seek another consistent scoring threat and ball handler, but at this stage, there’s only so much Walker will be able to change about this team. If Luka isn’t willing to relinquish a little control and get his mates more involved, this signing, like many others, won’t matter in the end.