One season after making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals, the Dallas Mavericks failed to even qualify for the NBA Play-In Tournament, marking a significant low point during the Luka Doncic era.
Dallas knew it needed to make some moves this offseason to avoid another disaster, and that resulted in a busy summer for the Mavs.
While this squad looks to contend again, though, there's a few players we should already lower expectations around. With that in mind, here are the three Mavericks most likely to disappoint during the 2023-24 season.
1. Kyrie Irving
Let me get one thing clear: Kyrie Irving is still one of the best players in the NBA.
He remained productive last season despite having a tumultuous time on and off the court, averaging a 27.1 points, 5.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. The Mavs (rightfully) pursued an extension with Irving this offseason to keep him around and succeeded, locking down the All-NBA point guard on a three-year, $120 million contract.
Irving's production on a per-contest basis certainly warrants that pay day, but his availability leaves a lot to be desired for a max-level talent. The former No. 1 overall pick has played in only 60, 29 and 54 games over the last three campaigns. Even going back to the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, the guard played in just 20 of the Brooklyn Nets' possible 72 matchups.
Whether it be injuries or off-court issues, Irving hasn't exactly been reliable at all times. And that's a major problem for a Dallas team that needs a second star alongside Luka Doncic to share the offensive load.
The results from Irving's brief time with the Mavs last weren't stellar, either. Dallas posted a dismal 8-12 record when Irving was actually on the floor, which sealed this team's fate after acquiring him at the deadline.
He still has a long ways to go in terms of building chemistry with Doncic and the rest of his relatively new teammates, but he's not going to make progress on that front if he's in and out of the lineup.
If he misses at least 1/4th of the upcoming campaign for the fifth straight season, that should be viewed as a disappointment. Dallas needs him available, or risks being in Play-In Tournament territory again.