A early February, before the NBA began to tremble with the most turbulent market in recent times, the Mavericks circulated placidly with a positive balance and settled in playoff positions. Then they brought in Kyrie Irving and everything fell apart. Since the point guard has played with Luka Doncic the balance is 5-13 and now accumulates four losses in a row. “Losing is very frustrating, especially when we have such a talented group,” says the Australian point guard. The team is eleventh in the Western Conference with 36-39 and has dramatically complicated its chances of reaching the play-in.
Losing is very frustrating, especially when we have such a talented group.
The responsibility is not Irving’swho has not set up (for now) any of his usual fires, but his arrival has further unbalanced a squad that had no balance. Doncic needed help for the team to climb to the next step, that of fighting for the ring. Another thing is that the ideal assistant was Irvingan extraordinary player, one of the best in the NBA in handling the ball and one-on-one, but with the need to absorb many possessions and clear defensive deficiencies, two aspects he shares with the Slovenian.
No defense and no rebound
But what was clear was that only with Irving was it difficult for the matter to work. Mavericks front office must have been the only place they didn’t see the convenience of moving in the market to get someone to defend, to protect their own hoop and to help in the rebound. The problem that already existed at the beginning of the season has not only not been corrected but has worsened.
In the last 18 meetings, since Doncic and Irving were able to meet after the return of the Slovenian due to injury, Dallas has only won the rebounding battle twice and has received an average of 56.0 points in the paint, which is 47.1% of the total. That area is a black hole.
Without help from the bench
From the bench there has not been much help either. In some of the first defeats with his stellar couple, Jason Kidd he acknowledged being little more than a spectator. He has been unable to break the fall. “We have to find a way to stop the bleeding,” he said after the second straight loss to the hopeless Hornets.
We’ve got to find a way to stop the bleeding
His team now faces an unimaginable scenario in mid-February, when the most optimistic saw the Mavs even fighting for the ring. Doncic, after receiving his sixteenth technique of the season, will serve a one-match ban. He will do it in Indiana against the Pacers. Then there will be another three games away against the Sixers, the Heat and the Hawks and the regular season will end with three games at home against the Kings, the Bulls and the Spurs.
A final of the West that has ended up being detrimental
After the two straight losses against the Hornets that have set off all the alarms, no rival can be considered easy for the Mavericks, who are one game behind the Thunder and the Lakers in the fight for the play-in. Staying out can mean the final collapse of a team that last season played in the Western final.
That was detrimental. It showed a deceptive reality. Everything that was not done last summer in the market to strengthen the structure may be done now, although in a forced and urgent manner given the risk of collapse. Irving’s continuity is by no means ensured by his changing character and because he wants the maximum contract and Doncic has already publicly shown his frustration and has shown signs of being fed up.