The Dallas Mavericks epitomize the “heliocentric” offense: one in which everything revolves around one player, usually because the supporting cast is lacking in similar talent.
Unfortunately for Dallas, heliocentric offenses have yet to be proven successful in the postseason. Just ask James Harden and Russell Westbrook, two players who, in their primes also embodied heliocentrism. It led to many individual plaudits (both are former MVPs), but few team-oriented successes (neither one has played in an NBA Finals since they both did it on the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012).
Put in simpler terms: Luka needs a co-star. And in one trade suggested by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, the Mavericks land one in Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine. Here’s how Buckley shook things out:
Dallas Mavericks receive: Zach LaVine and Coby White
Chicago Bulls receive: Tim Hardaway Jr., Josh Green, Reggie Bullock, Davis Bertans and 2027 first-round pick
Despite a significant injury risk, the trade could be a high-upside one for Dallas.
“If Dallas guesses right on LaVine’s ability to bounce back, though, it could finally have an electric offensive weapon to not only take attention away from Dončić, but actually enhance what he does.”
Why the Dallas Mavericks Say Yes on LaVine Trade
On his best day, LaVine is a premier three-level scorer. In the two seasons prior to this one, he shot a combined 41 percent from deep and a decent 42.5 percent from midrange. Just check out the stats haul Buckley put together on LaVine.
“LaVine has no trouble finding shots for himself or his teammates. He was one of only four players to average 23 points and four assists in each of the past four seasons. He was also an 80th percentile finisher on isolations last season. Yet he’s just as potent—if not moreso—when moving off the ball. Last season, he splashed an absurd 46 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes while ranking among the 91st percentile on spot-up plays.”
It’s tantalizing to imagine Doncic’s vision matched with LaVine’s scoring prowess. Further, it gives Doncic something he’s lacked since coming into the league: a legitimate All-Star running mate.
There are concerns about LaVine’s health. He’s struggled through a litany of knee troubles and, as a result, his numbers this season are slumping. But keep in mind that LaVine’s been forced to play with Coby White as Chicago’s primary ballhandler since usual starter Lonzo Ball‘s been out with his own knee problems. Several of last year’s lineups featuring Ball and LaVine regularly outscored opponents by 20-plus points. Now imagine instead of Ball, who is an able distributor, the LaVine is given Doncic as his main set-up man.
Mavericks Unlikely to Make Any Major Moves
This trade is a dream scenario for the Mavericks, and it might be just that: a dream. According to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Mavericks are unlikely to be major players at the trade deadline.
“Dallas is in a position right now where they don’t really have a second-best player. So, the deals they can do, they’re gonna be marginal, they’re gonna be some slight upgrades. But it’s gonna include more draft picks.”
The Mavericks are both cash-strapped and draft-equity strapped. Unless Tim Hardaway, Jr. continues shooting well, the Mavericks are also lacking in significant player-equity, as well.