It was pretty easy to blame superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving for the Mavs’ woes last season but team owner Mark Cuban believes this blame is misplaced.
Many fans noticed that the pair didn’t immediately click and their styles of play didn’t seem to compliment each other, since the team went 5-11 in games when they both played.
Plus, the franchise went from playoff contenders to lottery contenders in a matter of weeks but Cuban says it was other players that caused problems.
“When you look at last year, we had issues that had nothing to do with Kyrie or Luka playing together,” Cuban said on The Pat Bev Podcast With Rone. “Just between injuries and everything, we just didn’t have a team that committed to their roles. The year before when we went to the Western Conference Finals, everybody knew their role, everybody just played their role perfectly. This past year, that wasn’t the case.
“And it wasn’t Kyrie or Luka, as they knew their roles, but once other guys start playing for themselves or not playing for the team, every mistake that you could possibly have is just magnified to no end.”
The Dallas owner went on to call the pair a top five combo in the league, no matter what role they are playing on the court.
“He [Irving] can play the 2 and when Luka’s out of the game, he’ll play point,” Cuban said. “Luka’s that good that when Luka’s in there, if Kai needs to run to the corner, he’ll run to the corner. If they double him and he needs to come to the foul line, just get a bounce pass and play 4-on-3, what’s better than that?”
It was clear Dallas needed a better facilitator at center to get Luka and Kyrie the kind of ball that they can benefit from.
Their defense was also an issue as they had a defensive ranking of 24th compared to sixth in the 2021-22 season.
Cuban and his front office staff have attempted to bolster the roster and surround Luka and Kyrie with some solid role players.
They signed players like Grant Williams, Dante Exum, Seth Curry, center Richuan Holmes and Derrick Jones Jr. in the hopes of making a deep playoff run (or just to make it to the postseason).
Let’s hope we don’t see any more tanking from the Mavs this coming season.