With the 2021-22 NBA season just around the corner, all eyes are on the Dallas Mavericks who are still armed with Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic. Along the sidelines is new head coach Jason Kidd. They have added some key role players, too. The Mavs’ chances are good this year given their offseason activities. However, there are still questions that can only be answered once the 2021-22 NBA season kicks off. Here’s five of them.
5 Big Mavs Questions for 2021-22 Season
1. Will Jason Kidd unlock Kristaps Porzingis?
Fans were delighted when the team named Jason Kidd as their head coach. As for one, Kidd is the perfect basketball mind to get in the ear of Luka Doncic. Safe to say that the Mavs will have no problem in that regard. The next thing that came to fans’ minds is if Kidd’s genius be enough to unlock Kristaps Porzingis. After all, the Latvian, though very productive, seems to have remained a fixture in the Luka Doncic show. There are tons of questions on his defense, particularly the lack of it. Also, Porzingis seems to disappear in some games, too.
Kidd has some experience in dealing with big men though. He was the one responsible for honing Giannis Antetokounmpo’s handles as he put the Greek Freak in the point guard spot during his stint in Milwaukee. Obviously, Kidd won’t do the same. But we can assume that Kidd is already examining how he can unveil more of Porzingis’ potential.
2. Will it trickle on over to a more fluid Doncic-Porzingis duo?
Unlocking a player’s potential is one thing. Integrating him with a fellow star is another. We’ve seen a lot of star duos who guided their teams to multiple titles. To name a few, there’s Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and David Robinson, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and many more. Even those who failed to win the title like Karl Malone and John Stockton, Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire deserve recognition. On the flip side of the coin, there are have been star duos who have miserably failed. The Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis duo didn’t work out that well in Seattle. The Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady duo ended due to the former’s injuries.
Mavs fans would obviously want the Doncic-Porzingis duo to be regarded as one of the best of all time. They have some potential. Both players were made to play this era’s brand of basketball. Jason Kidd’s task will involve how to properly integrate the two. Doncic one-man shows are fun. But Porzingis needs to have a bigger role for them to actually win.
3. Is it time for Doncic to win MVP?
Doncic has been in the MVP conversation since entering the league. That’s how good the Slovenian is. Fans were on the lookout ahead of the first Doncic-LeBron James duel. Even the late but great Kobe Bryant was well-aware of Doncic’s abilities. In the 2019-20 season, Doncic finished fourth in MVP voting. Last season, he finished sixth. The slight dip could mean lots of things or nothing at all. Are the voters getting frustrated that Doncic isn’t leading his team to a title? Are the Mavericks falling behind? Or is the just filled with so much talent that a lone player can’t just dominate? Whatever the case may be, one thing is for certain. Doncic has not won the MVP race because the Mavs are still stuck in mid-tier status. As such, the Slovenian will only be crowned league MVP if the Mavs finish within the top three of the Western Conference.
4. Will the Mavericks win the title or at least make a deeper playoff run?
In the past two seasons, the Mavericks have been booted out in the first round by the LA Clippers. It’s quite unfortunate that the Mavs had to face a powerhouse squad in the very first round. Despite those heartbreaking defeats, we can still take a lot of good things from those series. As for one, they stretched it all the way to seven games which is a good feat in itself. Another thing is that the Mavs needed that experience. They need to face off against the best to be the best.
As such, the question now is, can the Mavs go past the first round? With Kawhi Leonard expected to miss a chunk of the season, not everyone is hyped about the Clippers’ chances. However, this doesn’t mean that it’ll be an easy route for Dallas. The West is always stacked. They cannot rely on luck or try to dodge opponents which are way stronger than them. The only way to their title hopes is to get better and better each day.
5. How far is Mark Cuban willing to go to give Luka what he wants?
At this point in Doncic’s career, he has pretty much accumulated the power and control that one desires. As the franchise player of the team, it’s a given that Doncic can and will influence front office decisions moving forward. After all, he’s the one on the court. He’s the one orchestrating plays, keeping tabs on his teammates, and so on.
It’s easy to say Mark Cuban and crew will do anything to make Doncic happy. But the reality is, those front-office executives have a lot of pride in them. Yes, Doncic is the most important player on the squad and the goal is to make him a champion. But at the end of the day, it is the task of these executives to evaluate the team and make the moves they believe are right. They don’t want a lone player telling them what to do. Besides, it will make them look bad and lazy bums.
Starting this season, we may hear fans call Doncic “GM Luka” or GM Doncic” if the Mavs pull off good transactions. This is good if the Mavs actually win. But if they don’t, then the front office will become a laughing stock.