Mavericks’ Additions


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“With the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks select Luka Doncic,” read Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner. Our Dallas Mavericks had played poorly throughout the 2017-2018 season, but earned the fifth seed in the 2018 NBA Draft. Now, how could they have drafted Luka Doncic third if their seed was fifth? The answer is that the Mavericks traded up in the draft to draft the young star from Slovenia. Originally, the Atlanta Hawks held the third pick, however, they were willing to trade the high pick to Dallas. In the trade, the Mavericks received the third pick in the draft (which they used to draft Doncic) but gave away their fifth round pick (which the Atlanta Hawks used to draft Oklahoma’s point guard Trae Young) and their first round pick this year in the 2019 NBA draft wherever it falls. The Mavericks, under the direction of Mark Cuban, decided to take this chance on Luka, the young phenom, in spite of other owners’ worries about Doncic’s abilities.

Owners around the league hesitated to go all in on Doncic because of the history of top basketball picks from European leagues. For example, Serbian center Darko Milicic was a top prospect in 2003 from Europe and was drafted second overall (behind LeBron James) by the Detroit Pistons. Why was this such a horrible move? The answer being that he was drafted before all time greats such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. And you’ve probably never heard of him. The story of Milicic and other potential young stars from Europe who turned out to be NBA busts made owners hesitate to draft the rising star Luka Doncic, but Mark Cuban and the Mavericks went all in and it paid off big this season.

This season, Luka Doncic has established himself as the best rookie in the league, with no real competitor. He is averaging over 20 points per game, which is phenomenal for a rookie, and has shown his ability to make step-back three pointers. Yet his playmaking ability is even more incredible. Luka is showing his talent not only as a scorer but also as a passer and leader. He is energizing the Mavericks like only Dirk Nowitzki has done before, and is giving Dallas fans a reason to root for their team. Luka Doncic’s effect on the whole Mavericks’ organization has been extremely positive.

In the middle of this season, towards the end of January, the Mavericks acquired star forward Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks. Although Porzingis will sit out this year with a knee injury, the Mavericks hope that he will return next year as good as he was before his injury to play alongside Luka Doncic. Hopefully, these two players will be the Mavericks’ base for years to come. However, to make this trade, the Mavericks had to give up good players. The Mavericks traded stellar point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (Mav’s 2017 first round draft pick), shooting guard Wesley Matthews, and center DeAndre Jordan to the Knicks and two future first round draft picks. In return, the Mavericks received Porzingis and an aging veteran guard Tim Hardaway Jr. The Mavericks gave away a lot of talent, especially Dennis Smith Jr., and two future first rounders, so this trade was a huge risk. If Porzingis never returns to his old self to help the Mavericks, this trade could be one of the worst in Mavericks’ history because of its magnitude. However, if Porzingis returns next year even better than before, this trade could have been a pivotal one in the Mavericks’ improvement as a team.

This year, the Mavericks have made two monumental trades. The Doncic trade so far has turned out to be one of the best trades the Mavericks have ever made. We shall see how the Porzingis trade fares for the Mavericks and their future once Porzingis can play.