2021-22 Dallas Mavericks Season Review

Luka Doncic is the foundation the Dallas Mavericks. Is he buying into the new system? Time will tell…
Photo Courtesy: Erik Drost

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

This season has been one for the record books for the Dallas Mavericks. We’ve witnessed Dallas’ ups and downs and stuck by the team like a scorned wife married to a millionaire. Dallas finished in the 4th spot in the Western Conference and beat Utah in 6 games, then defeated Phoenix in Game 7 to make it to the Western Conference Finals before ultimately losing to Golden State 4 games to 1. One would say that Dallas had an excellent season and is looking for bigger and better things next year. Every year, we as Dallas fans scream “MFFL!” (Mavericks Fan for Life) in hopes of going to the NBA Finals and bringing Dallas its second NBA title. Let’s take a look back at this season as well what the Mavericks need to get another title for Maverick fans.

The Regular Season
The Mavericks hovered around the 4th and 5th spot all season long. The Mavericks had a proven rim protector in Kristaps Prorzingis. He could score and play defense when he was healthy. Injuries kept him on the sidelines, and he could never get in a constant flow in Dallas. Dallas traded him to Washington and brought in SG Spencer Dinwiddie and F Davis Bertans. Spencer Dinwiddie turned out to be what Dallas needed at the guard position and his play excelled Dallas after the trade deadline. The Mavericks experienced COVID-19 quarantines like other teams, but began to mesh at the end of the regular season. Dallas finished 20-7, second only to the Boston Celtics. Heading into the playoffs would be a huge struggle for a team that struggled on the defensive end all season.

The Playoffs
The Dallas Mavericks were who everyone thought they were. A good team that can score from behind the arc. Dallas escaped the Utah Jazz in 6 games because Utah plays well in the regular season but disappears in the playoffs. Utah has one of the best centers in the league in Rudy Gobert but can never get the ball in the post to do his job. Dallas got away with a couple of crucial calls and plays in that series. The Phoenix Suns series was sure to catapult the Mavericks into their championship destiny. Phoenix was the test that would prove to the NBA that Dallas was ready for the next step. Dallas won the series 4 games to 3 and was geared up to play the Golden State Warriors and get to the NBA Finals. The Warriors are one of the best 3-point shooting teams over the past 8 years in the NBA. Winning the Western Conference Finals would need the Mavs to hit more three’s than usual, but Golden State played a totally different game that what was planned. Dallas didn’t make the adjustments and fell 4 games to 1. Dallas will be a better team next year with the right pieces in place.

So… What’s Next for Dallas?
The key for the Mavericks will be signing capable players through free agency without giving up the team’s future and future picks over the next few years. Dallas will need to re-sign Jalen Brunson. Brunson has shown to be a very important component of the success of the Mavericks this season. In Luka’s absence, Jalen averaged 24 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists this season. He will need to be the cornerstone of the offense leading into next season. Dallas will need a shot blocking center and power forward and maybe another guard that can create his own shot. Luka is the star of the team but will need to buy into the team’s philosophy. He’s dynamic but playing into Kidd’s system would help the team. It’s a team sport first and foremost. The last thing that would get the team over the hump is to play defense! The lack of defense has hurt the Mavericks over the past 5 years!