Dallas Mavericks: Is Rick Carlisle Still the Right Coach?

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

While the Dallas Mavericks had one of their best seasons in five years, is Rick Carlisle still the right man to lead the team?

After three straight seasons of missing the playoffs, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle‘s team finally completed their rebuild with a playoff appearance. They had an uphill battle with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Dallas gave LA a run for their money until the Clippers scored two double-digit wins to close out the six-game series.

It can’t be denied that this was a great season for Dallas as the team is showing promise. Luka Doncic proved to be what the Mavericks were looking for to transition from Dirk Nowitski. The Mavericks also saw great performances from Kristaps Porzingis and a surprising rise from Tim Hardaway Jr. Those key pieces made for a strong showing from Dallas this season.

The future is looking bright with players rising to the occasion. Dallas appears to be building around Doncic and Porzingis for the future. One question that hasn’t be brought up that should be entertained is, “Is Rick Carlisle still the right guy to coach the Mavericks?”

Cases for Rick Carlisle with Dallas Mavericks

Eight out of the 12 seasons Carlisle has coached the team they have made the playoffs. Carlisle leads Maverick teams to wins that even resulted in an NBA title back in 2011 against a strong LeBron James-led Miami Heat team.

Even when the team was losing the previous three seasons, the players seem to respond well to Carlisle. The organization believed in him and stuck with him through the tough times. Their patience paid off with a strong 2019-2020 season.

The Mavericks are just hitting their stride and any change to the franchise wouldn’t make much sense. Dallas is literally one big man who can rebound away from being a dominant team in the Western Conference. Doncic and crew have gotten comfortable playing with each other. It may be too early to hit the panic button.

Cases Against Rick Carlisle with Dallas Mavericks

Despite all the playoff appearances the Mavericks have had under Carlisle, the team has only been passed the first round twice in 12 seasons. This is something that a franchise looking for more can no longer accept moving forward.

The pressure is now on Carlisle to consistently win since Dallas has proven to be winners. First-round appearances can’t be in the cards for the Mavericks with all the talent they have on the roster.

There will be some questions regarding if he will be able to develop Doncic into an NBA MVP. So far, it looks like he’s got the talent to do it, but not much evidence can be shown that Carlisle can do that. Since Carlisle started coaching the Mavericks in 2008, Doncic is the only Mavericks player to be an all-star and he technically didn’t get drafted by Dallas since they picked Trae Young to go to Atlanta in a trade.

Dallas also has to consider what could happen if they keep Carlisle too long. For example, Philadelphia Sixers head coach Brett Brown spent several seasons with the team but never could make the Eastern Conference Finals despite all their talent. While Carlisle has had success and has won an NBA Finals title, there’s a point where a new voice might be what the Mavericks need.

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Final Analysis

The Mavericks are one of the most exciting young teams in the league that is poised for big things. Carlisle should get credit for bringing out the best in his players. It would be a surprise to not see Dallas make a deeper run in the playoffs the next few years.

The concern comes with how much patience does owner Mark Cuban have in Carlisle’s rebuild that appears to be complete. Another first round loss next season should start bringing up some questions for the Mavericks.

Next. Upgrading the roster isn't the Mavs top priority this year. dark

For now, Carlisle has Dallas in position for long term success. How long does Carlisle have to win titles before the team moves on from him will soon be the team’s most commonly asked question.

  • Published on 09/29/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 09/29/2020 at 11:30 AM