Luka Doncic is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of talent, and the Dallas Mavericks are well aware of that.
That’s why they risked it all by giving up multiple assets to pair him with Kyrie Irving, which, in hindsight, may not have been the wisest choice.
While the prospect of having two elite ball-handlers and scorers like them in the same backcourt was mouth-watering from an offensive standpoint, the concerns about their defense showed up almost immediately.
Eventually, the Mavs’ playoff chances vanished right before their eyes, with their young superstar looking frustrated and out of sync in the final stretch of the season.
Things got so bad in Dallas that the team chose to give up on the season instead of pursuing a spot in the play-in tournament.
They tanked their final game vs. the Chicago Bulls to try and get a top-10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, which led to a league investigation and subsequent fine of $750,000, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The NBA has fined the Dallas Mavericks $750,000 for its resting of players vs. Bulls late in season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 14, 2023
Of course, that didn’t go unnoticed by NBA Twitter, and the fans had plenty to say about this failure.
— John Voita (@DarthVoita) April 14, 2023
The Mavs looking at a potential play-in spot pic.twitter.com/bSDVGtC8ve
— Stadium (@Stadium) April 14, 2023
— RotoGrinders (@RotoGrinders) April 14, 2023
If the Mavericks won out they still would've missed the play-in game
— John Sabine (@jsabine214) April 14, 2023
In sum – you can tank as long as you’re not transparent about it
— Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT (@3cbPerformance) April 14, 2023
The Mavs could still build around Irving and Doncic and find success down the line.
But they first need to get Kyrie to sign a long-term deal, and then they’ll have to work their way around the salary cap to find the pieces they need around them.
Otherwise, the Mavs may have just given up some valuable assets for a month’s rental of a guy who didn’t even help them reach the postseason.NEXT: The NBA Explains Its Decision To Fine The Mavericks