Mavericks Are ‘Team to Watch’ if Nets Move on From Superstar: Sources

Ben Simmons Brooklyn Nets

Getty Ben Simmons #10 and Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets.

At 5-3, the Dallas Mavericks currently sit sixth in the Western Conference, though just half a game separates them from the fourth-ranked Portland Trailblazers. Much of the burden so far has been on Luka Doncic, the Mavericks’ backcourt wizard. The Slovenian superstar currently boasts a usage of 43.2% — the highest in the league and his young career. In fact, it’s floating close to Russell Westbrook’s otherworldly usage rate from his 2016-17 MVP season (45.8%).

No team relies on its superstar quite like the Mavericks. And it’s plain to see why: the rest of the squad is a little light on high-end talent. Spencer Dinwiddie is excelling as Doncic’s Robin this season, coming off a week in which he averaged 20 points and six assists. But let’s face it: to be competitive in this Western Conference, the Mavericks need a second star.

Enter the Brooklyn Nets.

According to one Western Conference executive who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, the Mavericks are a team to keep an eye on for Nets star Ben Simmons.

“Dallas is a team to watch, Simmons would be an interesting fit next to Luka (Doncic) if the Nets were willing to take back (Tim) Hardaway and (Davis) Bertans. I am not sure how much higher the Mavs could go in terms of an offer but that would definitely be interesting for Luka.”

The report comes amidst news that at least one Western Conference team has engaged the Nets in Simmons talks.

Begley: Western Conference Team Discussed Simmons

According to Ian Begley of SNY, Ben Simmons’ name has come up in discussions around a Nets lineup improvement.

“In the days before Saturday’s brutal loss to the Indiana Pacers, the Nets had been in cursory talks with one Western Conference team about a deal that would return a veteran shooter. Ben Simmons’ name came up in the talks,” Begley wrote on November 2.

“It’s unclear if talks advanced past the cursory stage, but Brooklyn was said to be aggressive in its pursuit of perimeter shooting. And that was before the club fired Nash. So, it’s reasonable to expect the team to take an aggressive approach in the trade market.”

If the Nets are interested in a shooter, it might be hard for the Mavericks to find one to ship to New York. As it stands, Josh Green, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Christian Wood are the team’s best shooters, but in theory all three are part of Dallas’ long-term plans.

In fact, adding Simmons would only heighten Dallas’ need to keep a shooter.

Simmons’ Fit on the Dallas Mavericks

Sure, it’s tantalizing to imagine 2019-20 Ben Simmons on this Mavericks team. The former LSU Tiger could ostensibly bone up a defense that currently sits 14th. And Simmons’ poor floor spacing could be masked by Doncic’s otherwise brilliance in the area. Further, Simmons as an assists machine could lighten the load on Doncic as a lone playmaker.

But that’s not the version of Ben Simmons that currently exists. Far from it, actually. Simmons is averaging career lows in points, rebounds, and shooting. Defensively, his .8 defensive box plus-minus is the worst of his career (by a long shot).

Would Simmons be a nice fit next to Doncic on paper? Sure. But then again, most paper lovers predicted the Phoenix Suns to easily defeat the Dallas Mavericks during the playoffs last year.

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