The Blog Boys are back! After a brief summer hiatus, we are back to discuss the NBA offseason! In this issue of the Blog Boys, we grade the Mavericks offseason as a whole, decide who had the best/worst offseasons in the league, and discuss any noteworthy free agents still on the market.
1. With the offseason hitting a quiet note, how do you rate the Mavs offseason as a whole, draft included?
DuPont: I’d like to think the Mavs hit the refresh, rather than reset, button on their roster. The front office positioned themselves to draft a player who can compliment Dennis Smith Jr. and potentially engage Smith Jr.’s versatility playing off the ball. Dallas utilized free agency to identify another team weakness from last season by adding DeAndre Jordan, an uber-athletic defensive stalwart to pair alongside an aging yet lethal Dirk Nowitzki in the frontcourt. There are still areas of need such as depth at the wing position. Overall, this offseason leads me to believe the Mavericks are looking to re-establish themselves in the Western Conference after missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
Konkle: I think they have had a great offseason. Potentially securing your future in Luka Doncic, for what I feel wasn’t too steep a price, and adding an All-Star caliber center who just so happens to fit perfectly into the roster/system currently in place should do nothing but benefit the Mavs, this year and beyond. If we are grading on a 1-10 scale, I would give their offseason a solid 8.5. They lose a few points for losing McBuckets and Seth Curry, but still a win overall.
Mulford: I’d call this one of the best offseasons in Mavs history. Drafting what is seen to be an elite playmaker in Luka and signing a defensive and rebounding monster in DeAndre; I’d call that one hell of a successful summer. Now, losing shooters like McDermott and Seth Curry definitely hurt but it doesn’t outweigh the additions of Luka and DJ. Over the past two summers, the Mavs have positioned themselves to have a bright future with Dennis and Luka leading the way. MFFL’s all around the world should definitely be encouraged and excited for the what’s to come in Dallas.
Rathbun: I give the Mavs an A-. Losing quality shooters that thrived in Carlisle’s offense like McDermott and Curry will hurt. But getting Doncic in the draft as well as landing DeAndre Jordan should create some looks that have been missing since the Tyson Chandler days due to Jordan having the ability to finish above the rim. Jordan will also give the middle of the Mavs defense a boost that it desperately needed. Doncic can handle the ball better than Matthews can so it will allow Wes to play off the ball more and get him back to his catch and shoot ways. Being able to play off the ball more should help Matthews become even more effective from the three point line. Also, just from a fan excitement perspective, the front office did a great job assembling a team that should get the attention of the fans more than it has the past few years. Dirk’s record breaking 21st season with the same franchise and the forming of a young nucleus in DSJ, Doncic, Barnes, and Jordan should draw a lot of interest this year.
2. What teams in the league do you think had the best offseason? Worst offseason?
DuPont: I think it’s far too early to judge who had the best and worst offseason, those evaluations will become more evident as the season progresses. Golden State has to top the best offseason list for acquiring an elite-level talent at bargain-basement value though we likely won’t see him in action until March. DeMarcus Cousins is recovering from a torn achilles, but his skill set was never contingent on an ability to play above the rim akin to other centers such as Dwight Howard or Rudy Gobert for example. Cousins joined the Warriors, earning Golden State the best offseason, but the team he departed may have had the worst. New Orleans not only lost two key starters from a playoff roster over the offseason in Cousins and Rajon Rondo, the Pelicans also lost their inside connections to Anthony Davis. Davis is under contract for the next three seasons and New Orleans has squandered most, if not all incentive for the three-time blocks leader (2014-15, ’18) to keep his real estate off the market beyond 2021.
Konkle: I think the Mavs belong in the best category. You could also throw teams like Oklahoma City, Toronto, and I even really like what Phoenix did through the draft. Oh, and there is also that purple and gold team who might have landed the best player on Earth. I guess you could throw them in.
But there is undoubtedly no bigger loser than the Houston Rockets. Carmelo Anthony is a name, for sure. But even at his best, he still doesn’t give the Rockets what they need or replace what they lost in Trevor Aliza or Luc Mbah a Moute. What really propelled that team to the next level was their wing’s ability to defend multiple positions effectively, while still making shots on the other end. Melo can make shots, but he has shown little desire or ability to do what’s necessary on the other end. A flaw that will make him difficult to play against the truly elite teams in the postseason, even if he is significantly better than he was a year ago.
Mulford: When you sign the best player in the world and arguably the greatest player of all-time, you’ve had a really good summer. The Lakers are definitely near the top of the list, despite the confusion of their other signings. The rich continued to get richer as the Warriors added Boogie Cousins. I’d say with the combination of Luka and DeAndre, the Mavericks are in top-5 of best offseasons so far. And I really liked the Suns draft, adding DeAndre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, and Elie Okobo.
For worst, like DuPont said it is too early to really have an opinion but I wasn’t a fan of the Rockets offseason. Losing Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, two important pieces who brought a defensive prowess and ultimate team effort, and replacing them with a declining Carmelo Anthony is questionable. Yeah, Melo can still get buckets on a good night, but that’s not what this team needed. Last season was their shot to beat the Warriors and I see that shot to be dead and gone.
Rathbun: A tie between the Lakers and Warriors. The Lakers won the LeBron sweepstakes and the entire NBA thought they were the biggest winner of the offseason, rightfully so. Then All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins signed with the already All-Star loaded Warriors out of nowhere. He will be rehabbing from his Achilles injury and there is no guarantee he is the player he was before but a death lineup of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green, and Cousins is ridiculous. I can’t wait to see it but I also loathe it at the same time – a feeling it seems like many NBA fans have.
Worst offseason has to go to Miami because they couldn’t find a taker for their $98 million, malcontent center Hassan Whiteside who absolutely imploded at the end of the season. They didn’t really do much in free agency either. I am assuming they are betting that their young guys like Tyler Johnson, Justice Winslow, and Josh Richardson come into their own this season. I would also throw Philly in here just because they lost shooters who really helped Ben Simmons be able to drive and kick it out with the departure of Ilyasova and Belinelli. Sure, they brought in Wilson Chandler who can shoot it but he is always hurt and his contract isn’t great. They also just lost Zhaire Smith to a broken foot – so the rookie curse still lives in the city of brotherly love.
3. Are there any free agents still on the market that you think could help a team this year? Any players that would make sense for the Mavs to take a flyer on?
DuPont: Jamal Crawford remains on the market and that’s interesting to me. Over the past three seasons, Crawford has missed a total of five games. Mind you, the three-time sixth man of the year is approaching his 19th season in the league. But unfortunately, the Mavs are in desperate need of perimeter shooting and Crawford shot just over 34 percent from long range over that three-year stretch. Rodney Hood is an intriguing prospect though we’ve seen what can manifest when playing time is not consistent. Hood shot 38.1 percent from three during his last full season with Utah and shot 37 percent last season playing with both the Jazz and Cavaliers. The only problem? Hood is a restricted free agent meaning Cleveland can match any offer. Hood has not signed any offer sheets with a little over two months until TNT’s opening night doubleheader. Maybe the Cavs are playing mind games or maybe they’re waiting for someone else to step in?
Konkle: I think for the most part, the roster is set. And I’m fine with where that stands, but if at all possible, some cheap shooting would be nice. As noted earlier, losing McDermott and Curry stung. So trying to find some other guys who could somewhat replicate their marksmanship would be gravy.
Mulford: I think Jamal Crawford is definitely the biggest name left on the market. I’d expect to see J-Crossover to sign with a contender some point before training camp. Why not the Warriors? A reunion in The Bay for Crawford and he can almost guarantee himself a ring. Two shoots still available are Rodney Hood and Nick Young. Hood, coming off a not-so impressive second half in Cleveland, is still only 25-years old and has room to grow. And for Swaggy P, yes, the antics are there but he won a ring last season in Golden State and is still a efficient shooter from deep. Could help a team in need of shooters.
As for the Mavericks, I think they’re done forming this roster and will have the last few spots decided on throughout training camp and preseason.
Rathbun: They already have 20 guys on the roster to bring to camp so I don’t expect them to sign anyone else, especially a free agent that is a household name. But I am a little curious as to why we didn’t hear any rumblings of the Mavs looking into guys who play on the wing and can shoot it like Aaron Afflalo or Corey Brewer. My guess is that Dallas is staying true to its youth movement as much as possible and wants to develop its young wing players like Finney-Smith and Doncic. I would like to see Gian Clavell invited back to training camp because he had a good camp last year with Dallas. In the couple of regular season games Clavell played he shot 40% from three and he also fits the Mavs youth movement.
We are the #BlogBoys. Why the #BlogBoys? Well, you can thank Kevin Durant for that. Durant recently did his fair share of ranting about the supposed “blog boys” and how analysts/writers didn’t watch basketball nor know what they were talking about. Now, that may reign true other places but not here at Dallas Sports Fanatic. We’re pleased to bring you content and insight about your favorite local teams that we are proud of, whether Durant is a fan of us or not.
The #BlogBoys will be a round table discussion between a few of our Mavericks staff: Mike DuPont, Reese Konkle, Michael Mulford, and Trevor Rathbun. We will touch on Mavericks specific topics while also speaking on what’s going on league-wide around the NBA. A new edition will be posted every Friday so sit back, grab yourself a cupcake, and welcome to the #BlogBoys!
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