Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Dallas Mavericks season may be over but the window of opportunity for them is just starting to open.
The Dallas Mavericks were lucky to get as far as they did. We need to keep that in perspective. Just one season ago the Mavs were a .402 team who finished 14th in the West. This year they catapulted to 7th with a .573 win percentage.
They did it all led by their 21-year-old star player, their 25-year-old comeback kid, and a collection of modestly skilled role players. 2020 was a monumental success by even the highest of standards. Teams just don’t improve like the Mavs did this past year. Ask your 2019 self what you would consider a successful conclusion to the season and I bet you’d say just making the playoffs, right?
After tying their first round series 2-2, it’s understandable that expectations rose for Dallas Mavericks fans. At that point, losing the next two games represented a “worst case scenario”. As such, some fans were left with a sour taste in their mouths following Sunday’s elimination.
But people forget the team they lost to was the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title this year. They forget this Dallas team was on pace to win Game 1 if not for a suspect ejection to Dallas’ only other threat not named Luka.
Disappointed fans also forget Luka Doncic was playing hurt nearly the entire series and the Dallas Mavericks won their first game of the LA series with their superstar on the bunch for the vast majority of the fourth quarter (foul trouble).
We also need to keep in mind Kristaps Porzingis was unavailable majority of the series and the hobbled Doncic was forced to carry the load against the deepest team in the NBA. Given the circumstances, this was an impossible series for the Mavs to win.
What the Mavs didn’t do is push their luck and do something stupid…like push KP to play through his injury or push Luka even harder than they did.
The Mavs improved by leaps and bounds this season and they laid the groundwork to another leap next season. They lived to fight another day. That other day isn’t this season, but it’s another day in the future.
The Dallas Mavericks have movable contracts (save for Delon Wright) and can be free agent players in the upcoming epic free agent class of 2021.
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The Dallas Mavericks were highly successful this season and can build on next season. The future is too bright to have Championship or Bust mentality. They are building something bigger and we’re here for it.