Mavs Urged to Tank After Kyrie Irving Trade Falls Flat

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Getty Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

Things haven’t exactly gone swimmingly for the Dallas Mavericks since they traded for Kyrie Irving last month. The Mavericks just lost two games in a row to a tanking Charlotte Hornets team, at a time where their postseason hopes were essentially hanging in the balance.

Dallas is now looking at a one game deficit behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the final Play-In spot. However, OKC owns the tiebreaker, so the Mavs actually have to climb out of a two-game hole in order to sneak in.

The Mavericks have been so disappointing since landing the 31-year-old star, that there are people now calling for the team to join the Hornets in tanking.

Amongst them is The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor. In an article published on March 27, O’Connor made the pitch that the Mavs throw in the towel in order to give themselves some sort of consolation for this disastrous season.

“Missing the playoffs and keeping their 2023 first, no matter where it lands, is probably the best path forward for the Mavericks,” he wrote.

O’Connor then explained that Dallas may have tried to plug the wrong hole by acquiring Irving, as the team’s defense is still a liability.

“Defense remains the team’s most pertinent issue, just as it was before the acquisition of Irving,” he pointed out. “Trading for Irving meant losing Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s best defender. Without him, no one else on the roster can offer much help when rotating into the paint, so teams don’t fear attacking the basket, which leads to layup lines or drive-and-kicks for open 3-pointers. Since the deadline, the Mavs rank in the bottom five in defensive rating. Dwight Powell offers limited rim protection as a big, and while Christian Wood is a shot blocker, he lacks interior strength and a feel for proper positioning. None of their guards offer much resistance at the point of attack, either.”

The Mavs Should Shut Down Luka Doncic

O’Connor concluded his pitch by suggesting that Dallas shuts down star guard Luka Doncic for the remainder of the season. He highlighted Doncic’s clear fatigue after a nonstop year of basketball.

“The truth is, a long break could benefit both the Mavs and Doncic. The guy’s been running nonstop: a playoff run last year, playing for the Slovenian squad in August, EuroBasket in September, and then diving headfirst into Mavs training camp and the season, during which he’s possessed the ball for more minutes than anyone in the league. He’s clearly running on fumes. Sadly, so are the Mavs’ title hopes, thanks to their heinous defense, a lack of depth, and Jason Kidd as their head coach. Dallas might’ve made the West finals just a year ago, but now the team has been surpassed by a number of Western contenders. To make matters worse, Irving could walk out the door as an unrestricted free agent this summer. But even if he stays, he’s got a track record of burning bridges with his previous franchises. What makes Dallas think it’ll be the exception? Especially after this kind of start? With limited ways to bolster the roster, it’s crucial that this year’s pick turns into a real asset. If it moves into the top four, it could be the lifeline the Mavericks need, whether they keep a prized prospect or flip him in a bigger deal.”

O’Connor makes a great point. Dallas has a ton of money tied up in Doncic’s contract and will likely have to throw a bag at Irving to keep him around. On top of that, they’ll be paying Davis Bertans and Tim Hardaway Jr. a combined $35 million next year. The only way they can really improve the roster would be through landing a high draft pick in this year’s stacked draft.

Luka Doncic Isn’t Having Fun Playing for the Mavs

The fatigue that O’Connor mentioned could very well be effecting Doncic mentally. After Friday’s loss to the Hornets, the Slovenian star told reporters he hasn’t really been having much fun playing basketball lately.

“It’s really frustrating,” Doncic said Friday via the Fanatics YouTube channel. “I think you can see it with me on the court. Sometimes, I don’t feel it’s me. Just being out there. I used to have [a lot of] fun. Smiling on the court. But it’s just been so frustrating. For a lot of reasons, not just basketball.”

Luka Doncic Acknowledges Having The "Most Frustrating" Season He's Had With Dallas MavericksWatch as Luka Doncic Acknowledges Having The "Most Frustrating" Season He's Had With Dallas Mavericks (Post-Game, Dallas Mavs vs. Charlotte Hornets) Don’t forget to Subscribe to Fanatics View on YouTube for more exclusive sports content: #LukaDoncic #DallasMavs #KyrieIrving Fanatics View’s other sports channels can be subscribed to here as well Basketball Channel:…2023-03-25T04:14:11Z
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