The Dallas Mavericks are certainly one of the biggest winners of the NBA offseason after significantly improving their roster.
They pulled off a major coup in the draft by landing exciting European prospect Luka Doncic via a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.
In free agency, they followed that up by capturing All-Star center DeAndre Jordan at the second time of asking.
On the rise
The Mavs finished with one of the worst records in the Western Conference last year at 24-58 but they should show a marked improvement with their new recruits.
As well as their summer acquisitions, Dirk Nowitzki signed a one-year deal to play for a 21st campaign in the league and he’s expecting it to be a much better season.
“I think we should be a lot better than last year,” Nowitzki said, per Mavs.com. “That’s not a secret.”
The addition of Jordan, in particular, will prove to be key for the Mavericks as they were crying out for a defensive big who can protect the rim.
“I think DeAndre should be great for what we do for our system,” Nowitzki said. “When you’re in coach (Rick Carlisle’s) system the (center position) has a great roll presence, a great rim presence on both ends.
“And there’s obviously not a lot (of centers) that are better at that – he might even be the best at that in the league.
“He’s a runner, he’s a rim protector, he’s a roller, he finishes as high above the rim as anyone, so we’re really looking forward to start working with him.”
There is also a real buzz in Dallas about what rookie Doncic can bring to the table after finally arriving in the NBA following a successful stint with Real Madrid in Europe.
The Slovenian is fresh off winning multiple MVP honours and the Euroleague title.
Nowitzki can’t wait to see what the 19-year-old can deliver.
“Obviously we’ve put a lot in Luka’s basket, so hopefully he’s going to develop nicely,” Nowitzki said. “I think he’s got all the tools.
“He’s smart, he’s already got a great basketball IQ for 19 years old. So hopefully he’s going to bring a lot to the table.”
There’s clearly an anticipation across the league to see Doncic in action as the NBA has scheduled the Mavericks’ regular season opener against the Phoenix Suns to be one of the televised games.
It will pit the young point guard against the number one overall pick Deandre Ayton in an intriguing matchup.
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