Dallas Mavericks: The biggest setback allows for a promising comeback

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Free agency has just begun and the Dallas Mavericks have wasted no time making headlines around the NBA. On Thursday afternoon it was announced that former Mavericks’ guard Jalen Brunson signed a four-year, $104 million deal with the New York Knicks. This came as a surprise, as it was reported on Wednesday that Brunson was planning to meet with Dallas.

Now with the Dallas Mavericks second best player out, what does it mean for the upcoming future?

In the month of June, the Dallas Mavericks lost or traded five players from last season’s roster. Aside from Brunson leaving, the Mavs traded away Sterling Brown, Marquese Chriss, Trey Burke and Boban Marjanovic.

Combined, all four players saw around 99 minutes in total playing time during the playoffs.  They all combined for just 65 points in the postseason, in contrast to someone like Dwight Powell who had 58 playoff points alone.

However none of that matters because the squad improved drastically by adding depth to a position they struggled with the most: center. On draft night the Mavericks acquired center Christian Wood to improve themselves at the center spot. And if that wasn’t enough they also signed veteran JaVale McGee Thursday.

Both players will provide tremendous boost for a squad lacking a dominant presence down low. Yes, losing Brunson hurts, but adding two big man to a roster already lined up with capable shooters will do wonders.

If you break down Wood’s offensive numbers to Brunson’s, they are honestly pretty similar. Last season Wood averaged a double double with 17.9 points per game and 10.1 rebounds. For the season he shot 50 .1 percent from the field and made 39 percent of his threes. In contrast, Brunson averaged 16.3 points per game to go with 3.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Oh and he too shot 50.2 percent from the field and hit 37.3 percent of his threes. The difference? Wood can provide the same amount of offensive points as Brunson, while also grabbing boards down low.

Against the champion Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks lost game six due to their inability to snatch rebounds. Overall the Warriors outrebounded the Mavs 51 to 34. This really hurt Dallas on the defensive end as they lost the rebound battle by nine boards. This is where Wood can provide tremendous benefit as last season he averaged 8.5 defensive rebounds.

Just go back and look at his November 29th game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He finished the match with 21 rebounds, as 18 of those were on the defensive side. He has also dominated against other big man around the league such as Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic.

He isn’t the only dominant presence coming to town, as the team also brought in Javale McGee. Remember McGee played for Dallas during the 2015-2016 season. The difference between then and now? Since he last played for the Mavs, McGee has gone on to win three NBA championships and improved his points and rebounding numbers.

For Phoenix last season he averaged 9.2 points and 6.7 rebounds. The only other time he averaged more than six rebounds? go back to the 2018-2019 season. Remember the last game he played for the Suns was against the Mavericks. During game seven he put in six points, six rebounds and had one steal and a block all in under 16 minutes.

Some other numbers include his season 81 blocks, 23 more than Dallas’ team leader.

Oh and who can forget this highlight of McGee bullying Doncic during the playoffs.

Not to mention Dallas played most of last season with without their 2020-2021 third leading scorer in Tim Hardaway Jr. Remember two seasons ago Hardaway Jr. had one of his best seasons averaging 16.6 points on 44.7 shooting. When playing at a high level, the veteran shooting guard has the ability to match the same offensive presence as Brunson. Assuming Dallas keeps him on the roster, they will rely on him to make up for Brunson’s lost presence.

So yes, losing Brunson hurts, but there is plenty optimism for the team.

There are also plenty of free agents for Dallas to look forward too including:

Gary Payton II

Goran Dragic

and Avery Bradley.

The team has also been linked to acquiring young point guard Collin Sexton.

dark. Next. Jalen Brunson gone: Why and what now for the Mavericks?

So hang on tight Mavs fans because the excitement is just beginning. Not to mention there is no telling what General Manager Nico Harrison might have up his sleeves.