Should Mavs Fans Really Be Excited?

Jalen Brunson, Luka Doncic, and Rick Carlisle. Photo credit Jerome Miron
The Dallas Mavericks made a bigger splash than past summers with the 2018 NBA Draft. The leveraged this year's 5th pick and a first-round pick next year to acquire the most polished player available. Luka Doncic, a 6 '8 point-forward-shooting-guard Slovenian with professional experience, was the Mavs target from the beginning. Their second pick, Jaren Brunson, won the John R. Wooden and Naismith Men's College Player of the Year awards. More importantly, they both bring a winning background to a team that has lost that feeling.

As a fan first, even I sipped the kool-aid of what adding two young accomplished players with Dennis Smith, Harrison Barnes, and Dirk Nowitzki to the starting five could give the Mavs the fractional chance of having a winning season and getting back to the playoffs. Boston was able to do it young talent. Utah and Philadelphia both were lead by young, rookie talent.

For full disclosure, I was content knowing that Dallas would select the freakish Mo Bamba from Texas, by way of Harlem, New York. I was set that we would do the obvious and select this kid on pure upside alone. If he could become an outside shooter with inside presence, we would have a building block piece with Dennis Smith for a fastbreak offense.

I also relegated that with the pick of Bamba, our best hope was to get back in the NBA lottery next year and add young talent to a young roster. But, it typical Mavs fashion, we tend to think we are only one or two players away from winning. This was clearly a last attempt to use the 40-year old legs of Dirk to carry our hopes in the playoffs. The additions of two young accomplished rookies, one budding star, with a hall-a-fame coach and hall-of-fame player, are just enough to get MFFL's excited. Perhaps, too excited.

Let's let the excite prevail for a minute. If the Mavs want to make a run this upcoming season it will take some obvious gambles in free agency? DeMarcus Cousins, returning from a ruptured Achilles, or DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard, may not interest you at all if you have the future of the franchise in mind. It will take a lot of money to woo any free agent to come here, especially any current or past All-Star. Yet, the Mavs front office will not have the same reservations as us fans.

There is no doubt that the Mavs will pay top dollar for any of those three players. The other option is to offer Houston Rockets stand out Clint Capela a huge offer with the hopes that it will not be matched by his current employer. After all, they have to re-sign Chris Paul and woo LeBron, perhaps. Dallas area native Julius Randle has become a name to look for if the Lakers become the landing spot for two max players to join forces.

Either way, Cuban has the cap space to spend so he will spend if it offers him the chance to get back in the playoffs one more year with Dirk.

This "all in" strategy has its own share of consequences. In order to move up in the draft to acquire their next foreign superstar, we gave up next year's first-round pick unless we finish near the bottom of a bottomless league. Tanking in the NBA to get a top-5 pick has become an art form. This is the most heated race of the year, not getting a top 5 playoff seed.

Here lies the proverbial line in the sand for us. Do you want them to win at all costs? A nod to the aggressive nature we have been groomed to accept from a franchise that wouldn't let a championship team have the chance to repeat simply because they wanted to be different.

Or, do you want to truly see the team rebuild? Are you comfortable with 33 win seasons, marketing around the inevitable departure of Nowitzki, and the promise of a process?

The truth is I haven't decided myself. I suspect other Mav's fans feel the same way.

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