The Dallas Mavericks losing Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers 106-93 proved one thing about this team.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) December 11, 2021
Mark Cuban, and his front office(s), have done an average job at building a good or interesting roster over the past two seasons.
First, Dallas took a chance on Josh Richardson — trading Seth Curry for his services — and that backfired last season.
Curry is currently averaging 16.9 points per game while shooting 40 percent from three and 50 percent from the floor for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Meanwhile, Richardson is no longer on Dallas’ roster. The Mavericks traded him to Boston for Moses Brown, who plays sparingly at best.
Dallas also went out and signed Jason Kidd to be the organization’s next head coach. With one of the best players in the NBA in Luka Doncic, Dallas sits at 12-13 on the season, and in the last 10 games, Dallas is 3-7.
The big player addition, Reggie Bullock, also hasn’t panned as Dallas expected. Against Indiana, Bullock was a minus-11 in 21 minutes played. He also didn’t score a single point.
Bullock’s 23 percent from the 3-point line on the season hasn’t met expectations. Kidd says he’s working through it. But the fruits of Bullock’s work have yet to be seen in a meaningful game.
Outside of Bullock, Dallas brought back Tim Hardaway Jr. on a team-friendly deal. He’s been exactly what you’d expect, and that is the problem.
On the year, Hardaway is averaging 14 points per game. He’s also driving to the rim and drawing fouls at a lesser rate in comparison to last season.
Something is off when you watch Hardaway now, in comparison to where he was at the end of the 2020-21 campaign. There is a hesitancy in his shots. And though he may say shooters shoot, when shots aren’t falling it becomes a mental game as much as it’s a physical one.
25 games into the season, it appears clear that this is exactly what Dallas signed up for in its futile offseason moves that were cloaked in the media-generated hype, but present mediocrity.
In the NBA, you get what you pay for. Dallas has always aimed to win but on a budget. With Doncic being as good as he was in years past, Dallas covered its roster construction sins with his eminence and play.
With Doncic’s injury-plagued start of the season, all of Dallas’ failures are in the limelight. For the first time in a long time, you’re getting to see what this team is — regardless of how good Doncic may be as an individual player.
Dallas is average. And it will remain average until the front office is willing to actually swing for the fences on roster moves.
This roster isn’t that good or interesting. And the only individuals surprised by that are those that bought into the hype train during training camp — myself included.
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Feature image via Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.