Dallas Mavericks: The Draft, Free Agency and the Future!


Coach Kidd will have some new players to work into his system for next season. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Last Season
The Dallas Mavericks lost to the newly crowned NBA champions Boston Celtics in 5 games. Dallas dropped the first 3 games to Boston in blow out form. The problem stemmed from Dallas not being able to score easy baskets and play solid defense on the wing and in the paint. Dallas beat some solid teams in the playoffs to get to the championship. They beat the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was like getting near the finish line and running out of gas. Dallas was missing an outside shooter and post presence in order to close out the Celtics. Dallas has the resources to bring in some veterans and key pieces to make another run next year but signing those guys will need to be top priority this off season.

The Draft and Draft Picks
Dallas will need to get bigger on the wing and in the paint. There’s no need to grab a bunch of young guys in the draft only to have them sitting on the bench and watching the game because they are not good enough to earn some playing time. Dallas has 4 guards that are way too small to defend on the wing because they always get caught in the switch and find themselves on the blocks outsized and out-manned. With the 58th pick Dallas drafted 6’11, 246 Ariel Hukporti from Germany to help out in the rebounding department. He’s strong, mobile and active in the paint. He’s an excellent rebounder with a boat load of energy defending on the block and on the wing. His weakness will be learning to adjust to the NBA game instead of the NBL game he is accustomed to playing in. This was the Knicks pick after they traded with Dallas. Keep in mind Dallas still has Maxi Kleber, Markieff Morris, Dwight Powell and Alex Fudge on the team and they struggled throughout the playoffs.

Free Agency
Dallas lost a couple of fan favorites this off season in Tim Hardaway, Jr and Derrick Jones, Jr. Both played a huge part in Dallas’ success this season and have landed in other places moving forward in their careers. Good luck to those guys. Dallas signed Forward Naji Marshal from the Pelicans, paying him 3 years 27 million. He was a big part of the Pelicans on the defensive end. His energy on the wings gave teams fits because of his ability to create turnovers and get to the free throw line. Dallas sent Tim Hardaway, Jr to the Pistons for Quentin Grimes in a sign and trade deal. Grimes averaged 7.0 points, 2 rebounds and 1.3 assists coming off of the bench for Detroit. He will be a welcomed addition to Dallas because of his physical play especially when defending point and shooting guards. The Mavericks prize catch this off-season so far is Klay Thompson from the Golden State Warriors. Thompson had a choice of playing for the Lakers on a 3-year, 80 million contract but chose Dallas for 3-year, 50 million (state taxes are much lower in Texas). Thompson had a down year last season averaging 17.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. He shot 43.2% from the floor last season and 82% from the free throw line. He has championship pedigree and knows how to win. He will be a huge piece in making another championship run for Dallas.

The Future
The future is bright for the Dallas Mavericks moving forward. Dallas has signed head coach Jason Kidd to a multi-year contact which locks him in for the next few years. The core that now represents the Mavs are Klay Thompson for 3 years, Luka and Kyrie for the next 4 years. All Dallas needs is to bring in one big name in the post that doesn’t mind taking a back seat to the new big three in Dallas. The Mavericks have a chance to be one of the best teams in the NBA if they continue to grow and build around their All-Star guards. I was a bit disappointed on how the Mavericks finished the season, but I’m sure they will be a better team in seasons to come.