Earlier in the week, the Mavs acquired four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo and reserve forward Dwight Powell from the Celtics in exchange for Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson, the Mavs’ 2015 first-rounder and a 2016 second-rounder. The team was looking for improvement in order to push itself into the upper echelon in the Western Conference.
Dallas didn’t need any help on the offensive end. The Mavs were already scoring 110.1 points per game, which was best in the league. The primary reason for the trade, according to owner Mark Cuban, was to bolster the team’s defense. The point guard position was the weakest area for the Mavs, and their upgrades on defense could pay real dividends. When the playoffs come, one of Dallas’ biggest challenges will be defending All-Star point guards like Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Tony Parker. This would have been problematic for the Mavs without Rondo. By turning their biggest weakness into a perceived strength, the Mavs now stand a fighting chance.
However, there are reasons to temper expectations after the trade. Dallas gave up three role players and by doing so, the team’s lack of depth becomes a liability, especially at the backup center position. The Mavs are now relying on 32-year-old Tyson Chandler to stay healthy without having a proven option behind him. The team is the front-runner to sign veteran free agent Jermaine O’Neal and he would fill that void, but it is unclear how big of role the 36-year-old will be able to play at this stage in his career.
Overall, the move would seem to be a net positive for Dallas, at least for this season. After going 0-5 against incumbent Western Conference playoff teams to begin the year, the team realized it needed to make adjustments in order to make it out of a tough Western Conference and reach the NBA Finals. After their blockbuster trade, how far will the Mavs advance this season?