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What the Dallas Mavericks Need Going into 2021 NBA Season

| November 11, 2020 3:19 am PDT
Dallas Mavericks' Biggest Needs 2021 NBA Season

The rise of Luka Doncic has been a great story for the Dallas Mavericks. Not only has Doncic morphed into one of the best players in the NBA almost overnight, but he also successfully handed the Mavs a generational player just as one (Dirk Nowitzki) exited the league.

Not so fast, right? As far as crowning Dallas, I’d agree.

Doncic himself has already exceeded expectations, however. He’s one of the most versatile offensive players in the league, and his presence played a huge hand in Dallas running the league’s most efficient offense in 2020.

On paper, the Mavs are a constantly dangerous and explosive offense, but Doncic can’t do it all on his own, and the Mavs also leave a lot to be desired defensively. There’s also the matter of big man Kristaps Porzingis, who is currently Luka’s running mate.

This team is close to contending, but to take things to the next level, some holes need to be filled. In an effort to gauge how they do that, here’s a look at the Dallas Mavericks’ biggest needs for the 2021 NBA season.

Replace Stephen Silas

It’s somewhat rare for an NBA team needs articles to include anything about coaching, but I can’t ignore it here. Dallas was so good on offense last year that Stephen Silas earned himself a job, and now he’ll be calling the shots for the Houston Rockets.

Dallas now has to worry about fending off a bright mind inside their division (as if the Rockets weren’t already enough to handle), but they also have to consider how to replace him.

Luka Doncic is a rising star, but he’s also one for humility. He was vocal about the impact Silas had on the Mavs, but also on his progress individually.

Dallas needs to keep rolling with his core concepts, but they also need to make sure another bright offensive mind is working with Doncic, ensuring there isn’t a sudden drop-off.

Doncic is a student of the game, and with someone like him leading the way, the rest of the Mavs are in pretty good hands. But in the ultra competitive Western Conference, Dallas can ill afford to turn stale going into 2021.

Replenish the Supporting Cast

You could point out that Kristaps Porzingis can never stay healthy, or may not be quite the second star Dallas needs. I say give it a little time.

The real problem for the Mavs may quickly be revealed to be their depth. It was pretty good to start the season, but injuries took their toll, and as free agency approaches, more bodies could be headed elsewhere.

Courtney Lee and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can go, but J.J. Barea and Trey Burke served a purpose. There’s even a chance Tim Hardaway Jr. (player option) skips town, and big man Willie Cauley-Stein could do the same.

None of that sounds that damaging, but the Mavs have to cross their fingers that Dwight Powell can successfully return from a devastating injury, too.

Dallas is actually fairly deep, and they have a plethora of shooters they can build around Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. However, if that depth begins eroding without proper adjustments, it could become a problem in a hurry.

Land a Defensive Stopper

Dallas is set on offense. Doncic and Porzingis account for a massive chunk of their usage, and they have a bunch of shooters to use even if they don’t make big depth moves.

What they really lack is one guy who can set up shop as a shutdown defender on the perimeter, or really make penetrating scorers pay around the rim.

Don’t get me wrong, Porzingis is a decent defender and a terrific shot-blocker. Just check out his defensive highlights.

But he’s just one dude, and he isn’t always the most healthy. Dallas needs to get their offensive stars some help, whether it be on the outside or down low.

Landing both would be amazing, but getting one defensive stopper of any kind – that could also ideally help out on offense – would do the trick.

Realistically, I think the Mavs need your classic 3-and-D player here. Someone that wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the offense (i.e., can operate without the ball) is ideal, with free agents like Kent Bazemore, Jae Crowder, or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all fitting the bill.

Should Dallas look for help on the inside (19th in points allowed in paint), big men like Derrick Favors or Bismack Biyombo could prove useful and maybe even come at a discount.

Summary

Dallas is in a pretty good spot. They have a rising superstar, a second viable star (when healthy), and a brilliant offensive system with plenty of depth.

They parlayed all of this into a winning season, and took the Los Angeles Clippers to six games. We even got instant history, with Doncic dropping a game-winner for the ages on the collective NBA world.

Doncic and the Mavs are here to stay. The question, of course, is how quickly (and how far) they can ascend the ladder in the Western Conference.

Golden State is getting healthy, the two teams in L.A. are likely to be favored ahead of them, and there are other teams around Dallas working to keep them from enjoying more progress in 2021.

Knocking out some of the biggest needs seen above may go a long way in ensuring Dallas doesn’t just stay among the top playoff threats, but gives this team a chance at doing something truly special.

If you buy into the Mavs now, you can bet on them in several different capacities wherever you do your online betting. Whether that’s to win it all, make the playoffs, or win their division, of course is up to you.

There’s a lot to consider with the 2021 NBA season approaching, and this venture into the Dallas Mavericks’ biggest needs covers just one team. For a few more NBA teams and their biggest issues, hit the links below.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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