The Mavericks were eliminated from the postseason on Sunday, but Luka Doncic acquitted himself well in his first playoff experience, averaging 31.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, and 8.7 APG on 50.0% shooting in six games vs. Dallas. As ESPN’s Tim MacMahon writes, Doncic is the reason why both the Mavs and rival teams are high on Dallas’ long-term outlook.
“He’s a guy that I predict is going to win multiple MVPs,” one Eastern Conference scout said of Doncic. “I could not be higher on a guy in the league. If you start that ‘Who would you take to build a team’ conversation, there’s not another guy that I would take over Luka.”
Although there’s no doubt that Doncic is capable of being the best player on a championship-contending team, there’s no consensus yet on whether Kristaps Porzingis can be a reliable No. 2, MacMahon writes. One Western executive expressed optimism on Porzingis, but cautioned that it’s too early to pass judgment, given the big man’s injuries.
“There’s some optimism there. Give the Mavs credit,” a Western scout told MacMahon. “They went and got a 1 and potentially a 2. Doncic is definitely a 1. I’m not all-in on Porzingis as a 2, but he’s a really good 3 in the worst case. Now it’s just about filling in the pieces around them.”
While the Mavs are well positioned to eventually add another impact player, sources tell MacMahon that they aren’t likely to make significant roster changes right away, especially if Tim Hardaway Jr. opts in for $19MM, as expected. According to MacMahon, people within the organization have pushed for Dallas to focus this offseason on acquiring veterans who have “reputations for toughness” and can be signed to short-term contracts.
Here’s more on the Mavs:
- While the Mavericks will probably be conservative this fall, their salary cap situation sets them up well to go hunting for a star player during the 2021 offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks writes in his Insider-only preview of Dallas’ upcoming decisions. Marks also explores how Dallas should use its draft picks – including the No. 31 selection – and the best way to utilize the mid-level exception.
- In the wake of the Mavericks’ Sunday loss to the Clippers, team owner Mark Cuban and former star Dirk Nowitzki were among those who tweeted optimistic messages about the franchise’s future. “This is just the beginning,” Cuban said.
- J.J. Barea will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and acknowledged in a conversation with Fernando Ribas Reyes of Puerto Rican outlet El Nuevo Dia that he was a little frustrated by his lack of playing time this summer (he was a DNP-CD in five seeding games and five more playoff games). Barea said it would be “difficult” to leave Dallas, but suggested that the Mavs might only want him back as a coach, meaning he might have to look elsewhere if he wants to continue playing (hat tip to Sportando).