Dallas Mavericks can’t get over the hill, struggling with identity

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

Who are the Dallas Mavericks? If you’re like me, you’re not too sure. And by the looks of things, head coach Jason Kidd isn’t quite so sure either. Coming off a loss that brings them back to .500, the 14-14 Mavs are having a bit of an identity crisis as of late.

Are the Dallas Mavericks the try-heard defensive machine that made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals? Or are they a fledging poser struggling to even make the playoff cut? Based on how things have gone, they appear to be much closer to the later than the former

The Dallas Mavericks can’t continue as-is and simply must find a way to mix things up and break from their rut.

Perhaps the 2022-23 season is a hangover from last seasons surprising success. Perhaps it’s the result of losing their playoff standout Jalen Brunson in free agency. Perhaps it’s just a regression to the mean and an unavoidable inevitability.

Whatever the answer, it’s painful for everyone involved and solutions need to be found.

Jason Kidd has recently been experimenting with his core group of players. Mixing and matching new additions and bumping out…well, you get the drift.

The Dallas Mavericks are built largely as a 3-and-D team with Luka Doncic as the maestro and everyone else his orchestra. When the defensive effort is high and the shots are falling the Mavs can beat anyone. When one of those elements is missing, Luka has to do everything by himself and that’s just not a long-term formula for success.

Financially commitments have flopped leaving Dallas between a rock and a hard place. Tim Hardaway Jr and JaVale McGee are both falling short of even the most modest of expectations and are virtually untradeable at this point.

The Mavs are also short on draft picks making options on the trade market limited, to say the least. Dallas doesn’t have many options other than mix and match and hope something sparks. It’s a bleak reality in Mavs Land right now that there’s no clear solution to get over the hump.

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Experiments and effort. That’s what the Mavs can do right now. Will it be enough? Probably not but it’s all they have at the moment.