Before this season started, a lot of NBA fans and experts thought the Dallas Mavericks would be contending neck and neck with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers at the top of the Western Conference. They entered 2021 with an 8-12 record and have lost five straight games. They hold the 13th seed, with only two teams, the Pelicans and Timberwolves, behind them. It’s clear that the Mavericks are struggling.
The Mavericks have one serious problem that is hard to overlook. They rely too much on Luka Doncic, a young star who has blossomed into one of the league’s best players. So far this season, he has averaged 27.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 9.4 assists. While those are great numbers, the problem is there isn’t a second option. He leads the team in all of those categories. The closest player to him is Kristaps Porzingis, who averages 18 points and eight rebounds. He has only played nine of the twenty games, though, so it leaves Luka without a true second option.
The options consist of Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Willie Cauley-Stein. Those are all good players, but not a reliable second option. When Luka’s off the court, they struggle in nearly everything.
The question is, how do they fix this? The obvious answer would be to trade for a player who can reliably score and help the main guy. This doesn’t leave a lot of alternatives, so the next best option would be to try and work in everyone a little more. Maybe getting some struggling players involved more or testing them with different tasks. The worst-case scenario is they take this year off and tank, wasting one of Luka’s years.
In the end, the Mavericks are struggling and experienced a terrible start, but can still bounce back. It’s very possible they could turn it around. Dallas has a lot of potential, and I can still see them making the playoffs. In the end, the Mavs are a wildcard, and I would continue to watch them.