With the season over for the Dallas Mavericks, it is time to focus on solutions to help the team get over the post-season hump.
It’s off-season time for the Dallas Mavericks and with that comes planning for next season. While there are plenty of areas Dallas excelled in, there is still plenty of holes for the Mavs to fill.
Here are four key areas of focus to help Dallas reach the next level:
Dallas Mavericks Improvement No. 1
Finding a dominant defensive-man in the post
One of the top concerns for the Dallas Mavericks this season was having a dominant man down low. Compared to the rest of the NBA this post-season, the Dallas Mavericks struggled in defensive ratings.
During the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks ranked 10th overall in defensive rebounding. The team averaged 35.5 rebounds a game, in comparison to top team Oklahoma City who averaged 41.2. It wasn’t just defensive rebounding that hurt Dallas, it was also blocked shots.
In the playoffs Dallas ranked 11th in blocks per game. As a team they struggled to reach three blocks shots a game. The woes didn’t stop there. Down in the paint, the Mavs allowed 47.3 points. This was ranked as the second worse percentage in the NBA. Defense did not prove to be Dallas’s specialty during the playoffs. Look for Dallas to upgrade down low either by trade or free-agency.
Dallas Mavericks Improvement No. 2
Two-Way Wing Player
With Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis leading the way, Dallas needs a guard who can help on the defensive and offensive end. Tim Hardaway Jr. proved to be a valuable asset for the team, but struggled to stay consistent at times. In game six against the Los Angeles Clippers, Hardaway Jr. shot a mere 26.7 from the field. Along with that, Hardaway Jr. went 2-11 from behind the arc in a game in which Dallas needed him the most.
His inconsistency continued on the defensive end as well. In game 5 against the Clipper, Hardaway Jr. struggled to contain All-Star Paul George. George who shot 12-18 from the field in game 5 and didn’t have much of hand in face during the game.
While Hardaway Jr. has been somewhat of an asset on offensive, the Mavs need someone who’s going to contribute on both sides of the court. With all signs pointing to Hardaway Jr. staying in Dallas, the team needs to look for a guard who can contribute on the defensive side of the court.
Dallas Mavericks Improvement No.3
In the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks struggled to shoot above 40% from the three-point line. As a team, they shot just 34.6% from behind the arc. In their final game against the Clippers, the team went 11 for 37 from the arc and made just 29.7% of their shots. While the team has yet to take the number of three-point shots the Houston Rockets take per game, they still need someone who can shots from far.
Some key free-agent players who could help Dallas from the arc include Joe Harris and Reggie Jackson. Harris is a skilled shooting guard who can fire it up from long-range. During the playoffs, Harris shot 58.3% from behind the arc and provided plenty of long-range points for the Brooklyn Nets. Back on August 7th, the Nets guard went 5 for 7 from the three and had an amazing 72.7% from the arc.
Like Harris, Jackson has been lighting it up from the three. The Dallas Mavericks saw this first hand as Jackson went 57% from the three-point line. Both players could provide plenty of long points for Dallas and could increase the team’s already amazing offensive proficiency.
Dallas Mavericks Improvement No.4
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A true point-guard
One final factor that could help sway games for the Dallas Mavericks, would be an assist heavy point-guard. While Luka played the point-guard position this season, Dallas could benefit from someone who could take the ball out of his hands and guide him to open shots.
There is no question about Luka’s skill and value as a player. However at times, the European guard has a tendency to turn the ball over. Across the NBA this season, Luka ranked third in turnovers per game. He averaged around 4.3 turnovers and that number went up to 5.3 during the playoffs.
We all know his efficiency is getting to the basket and knocking down shots. Having a ball-handler who can create shots for Luka and take the pressure off him, would really benefit Dallas. One upcoming free-agent who comes to mind is Goran Dragic. We already know him and Luka have a solid relationship off the court, and who knows maybe that could translate on the court as well.
What do you think? What’s your to-do list for the Dallas Mavericks?