The Dallas Mavericks finally boast the star power MFFLs have been longing for but the top weapon on the Mavs may not be a player at all.
Rick Carlisle may be coming off back-to-back-to-back losing seasons, but that doesn’t mean he’s even slightly in jeopardy of losing his job. Regarded as one of the best coaches in the NBA, Carlisle is an important part in the Dallas Mavericks’ rebuild. He may even be the not-so-secret weapon.
Let’s be clear – nothing would be possible without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. They are the lifeblood of this roster and they are machine that will return this franchise to prominence. But it’s Rick Carlisle that may be the most important single entity.
Rick Carlisle is responsible for growing the Mavs two young superstars. Luka, 20, and KP, 24, are both still developing players. They have a long way to go before they hit their respective ceilings. How soon they reach that apex (or whether or not they reach their peak at all) will largely come down to how Rick Carlisle manages them.
Carlisle needs to keep the big picture in mind while he develops his two stars. He must concentrate on winning today while demanding the most from his cornerstone players but must also think long-term and properly manage ego, relationships, and expectations.
These are not you normal coaching demands.
It’s not just about the super stars either. Carlisle also must develop his role players into the caliber of player we all think they can reach. Maxi Kleber signed a big deal this summer because this franchise is convinced Maxi is still ascending and has yet to reach his potential.
The Dallas Mavericks will also be leaning on Dorian Finney-Smith and Justin Jackson quite a bit this coming season. Both have question marks in their games and it’ll be up to Rick Carlisle to make it work between them.
Tim Hardaway Jr is another delicate situation. The overpaid guard from New York is more contract than player. While he may seem like he’s laughing all the way to the bank, this kind of situation is tough for a player to handle – no matter how confident he may be. It’s up to the coach to inspire self-confidence while also adding efficiency to and otherwise inefficient player.
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Then there’s the regular coaching issues all NBA coaches must deal with:
- Developing young role players without giving up games.
- Winning games without excluding young players.
- Providing enough opportunities for all players as to not stunt growth.
- The list goes on and on, really.
The Dallas Mavericks are in a unique situation right now. They need to right this ship and compete for a playoff spot again, but they can’t win at all costs because ultimately the success of this franchise will be determined a few years down the road.
The good news is Rick Carlisle is very secure in his position with the Mavs and doesn’t need to worry about his own survival when he’s coaching this season (only a handful of coaches can claim that kind of job security). But he’s also tasked with building a dynasty that improves from within and gets the very most with what it has. Two tasks, not completely aligned.
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I’m calling Rick Carlisle the Dallas Mavericks top weapon this season because his to-do list is multifaceted and rare in professional coaching. What he does today doesn’t just impact the team this season, but it affects many seasons to come.
- Published on 09/10/2019 at 12:30 PM
- Last updated at 09/10/2019 at 10:48 AM