May 21, 2019, 1:17 am
With the Western Conference stacked full of former NBA MVPs, the Mavs and their fans have been more than okay with a full-on rebuild, especially when it has helped land Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. While 33 wins during the 2018-19 season spells doom and gloom for most teams, the Mavs are ever-so optimistic about a bright young future. We’re here to break it all down.
Rebuild mode was back in full swing during the 2018 offseason, when the Mavs began a new era by trading the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 draft (Trae Young) and their 2019 first round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for Luka Doncic. It was clearly time for one legendary European to hand off the baton to what Mavs fans hope could be the next superstar for years to come. After signing DeAndre Jordan (at least they didn’t have to tie him to a chair) to a one-year, nearly $24 million deal, the chess pieces were in play to build a new future around Doncic.
The Mavs capitalized on their expiring contracts with a franchise-defining, blockbuster trade a week before the 2019 trade deadline, acquiring Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks, along with Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. Porzingis, who tore his ACL in February of 2018, never saw the floor for either tanking team and sat out the entire season.
The Mavs finished 7-18 after the All-Star break, resting many of their starters and hoping to possibly keep their top-5 protected lottery pick. It didn’t work, as they gave up the 2019 No. 10 overall pick to the Hawks in the Doncic trade. They finished the season with a gold standard farewell to Dirk Nowitzki, who wore a Mavs uniform for 21 seasons. Nowitzki’s departure (as a player) ushers in a new era of youth in which Mavs fans believe the possibility to win both now and in the future presents itself. The Mavs have nearly $38 million in cap money to spend in the summer of 2019, so it remains to be seen what kind of roster they can build with free agent acquisitions. Make no mistake: this is the most optimistic this franchise has been since their 2011 NBA Championship.
Rick Carlisle has an NBA Championship under his belt, so his leash is extremely long. Even with just 33, 24, and 33 wins in the last three seasons respectively, Mark Cuban is confident in what he has and seems more than willing to stick it out with Carlisle. Cuban and Mavs GM Donnie Nelson haven’t done Carlisle many favors either – they have churned the roster so many times since the 2011 title that Carlisle hasn’t had a core group to coach up in a number of years.
It’s tough to analyze what the 2018-19 season meant for the Mavs in terms of analytics, especially since they completed a large overhaul in the seven-player Porzingis trade. Carlisle is typically a balanced coach, but last season was as vanilla as it gets. For instance, the Mavs finished 19th in adjusted offensive rating and 17th in adjusted defensive rating.
If you twist and turn to find anything the Mavs were good at last season, they finished fourth in the NBA in loose ball recoveries per game. They also finished 10th in defensive rebound percentage. Carlisle has them hustling!
Literally anywhere else you turn, the Mavs fall in the 16th-22nd range of efficiency. They were the epitome of slightly below average. In case you are wondering, these numbers don’t change much, if at all, after the all-star break. The Mavs were in full tank mode and sat anyone with a papercut.
Carlisle will have his hands full with a new bunch next season. That bunch now involves Kristaps Porzingis, who has yet to don a Mavs jersey in a game. Something tells me Carlisle couldn’t be happier about it.
ADP: 53/73 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 50/102 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 55/98 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 72
2018-19 averages: 72 G | 72 GS | 32.2 MP | 21.2 PTS | 2.3 3PM | 7.8 REB | 6.0 AST | 1.1 STL | 0.3 BLK | 3.4 TOV | .427 FG% | .713 FT% |
All eyes were on Doncic to start the season, after he became the youngest player to ever with the EuroLeague MVP at age 19. Many wondered how his skill set would transfer to the NBA game.
After the Mavs traded up to acquire him, the opportunity presented itself. The Mavs were starving for usage and talent. There was plenty of usage available on a team begging for someone to take the reins.
He lived up to the hype, earning NBA Rookie of the Month awards five consecutive times from November through March. He achieved eight triple-doubles as a rookie, setting an NBA record for the most triple-doubles as a teenager, not to mention 24 double-doubles.
While Doncic showed plenty of promise, he left vast room for improvement in efficiency. He shot 42.7% from the field, 32.7% from the 3-point line and 71.3% from the charity stripe. Those numbers are forgivable for a rookie, but they must rise up if Doncic wants to be truly elite for years to come. His 3.4 turnovers per game were also ninth-worst in the NBA, which is why his 8/9-cat splits are so drastic.
It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if Doncic rose to a top-25 level someday, but it’s still a wait-and-see approach with the 20 year-old stud. He is a few seasons away from being an elite fantasy option, particularly while he develops his efficiency stats. There is no doubt the potential is there, but he is still too risky to be chosen in the early rounds.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: N/A (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: N/A (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 0
2018-19 averages: 0 G | 0 GS | 0 MP | 0 PTS | 0 3PM | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TOV | .000 FG% | .000 FT% |
Porzingis sat out the 2018-19 season with a torn ACL, which he suffered in February of 2017. He has played just 48 games over the past two full seasons.
Injuries aside, the time off hasn’t been too great for Porzingis, who can’t seem to keep out of the public eye for negative reasons. Injury news has been buried by offseason reports of alleged rape and fights at night clubs. It hasn’t been the best PR lately for the big man.
From a fantasy perspective, Porzingis finished the 2017-18 season with top-20 per game value in 48 games, which shows how capable he is from a fantasy perspective. He is an elite source of blocks and hit nearly two threes per game at the center position the last time we saw him. His role on the Mavs looks to be similar to that on the Knicks, so the green light will be there for him to shine. If you can stomach his durability concerns, he will an extremely high risk-reward pick in the early-mid rounds.
ADP: 139/116 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 330/319 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 377/351 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 51
2018-19 averages: 51 G | 20 GS | 15.6 MP | 7.3 PTS | 1.3 3PM | 3.1 REB | 0.7 AST | 0.2 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .359 FG% | .780 FT% |
Dirk Nowitzki brought about his silent farewell tour, averaging career-lows nearly across the board. That doesn’t take away from a legendary 21 seasons in Dallas.
From a fantasy perspective, Dirk finished as high as 4th overall in value when he was at an MVP level. Seasoned fantasy vets know the efficiency and sweet flamingo fadeaway delivered thousands of fantasy championships over the years. He changed the game for the international market and now passes the Dallas torch to 20-year-old Luka Doncic. What a joy it was to see them overlap in careers and share the court for one season.
Who can forget his final game in Dallas that ended with 30 points, eight boards, three assists, one block and five 3-pointers in 33 minutes? Dirk finished his career sixth all-time in NBA scoring, along with 14 all-star selections, the 2011 NBA Finals MVP and the 2007 NBA MVP, among a laundry list of awards. What a run. Thank you 41.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
ADP: 100/75 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 153/159 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 139/140 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 65
2018-19 averages: 65 G | 63 GS | 31.6 MP | 18.1 PTS | 2.5 3PM | 3.4 REB | 2.4 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.6 TOV | .393 FG% | .841 FT% |
Tim Hardaway Jr. came over to the Mavs as a side dish in the Porzingis swap. The move wasn’t great for his fantasy value, as he saw a decline by over three minutes per game in 19 games in a Mavs uniform, which impacted the rest of his numbers.
Hardaway is known for being a points and threes specialist, and he comes at a great cost of efficiency. He struggled to keep a top-150 ranking for much of the season. He had the green light on an awful Knicks team and couldn’t capitalize. Playing with a depleted Mavs roster didn’t help much either, which shows there isn’t much reason to trust Hardaway as a fantasy asset to be excited about.
On top of his great inefficiencies, Hardaway had surgery for a stress injury to his left tibia over the offseason. The Mavs do expect him to be ready for the season, but wild inefficiency, less usage with Porzingis back, potential offseason acquisitions and returning from a leg injury makes him sound like a player who shouldn’t be trusted to hold much value in any format.
ADP: 126/NA (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 117/105 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 147/119 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 77
2018-19 averages: 77 G | 22 GS | 21.6 MP | 10.6 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 5.3 REB | 1.5 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .598 FG% | .772 FT% |
Dwight Powell was best known for bursting onto the fantasy scene in a big way to close out the season, serving on several fantasy championship rosters. His high efficiency and late season opportunity was a perfect storm to become a hot pickup during silly season when it’s anyone’s guess as to who will play on any given day down the stretch.
Perhaps the strong finish got to Powell’s head. He declined his $10.2 million player option, becoming an unrestricted free agent for the summer of 2019. It’s unlikely he will find similar money this season, but all it takes is one team. He could be playing the long game and looking for more guaranteed money over a longer stretch of time. At age 27, it makes some sense Powell wants to secure his future after a nice finish to the season.
His player decline obviously throws a wrench into any fantasy outlook. Even if he returns to the Mavs, he will play in Porzingis’ shadow (until he’s hurt again) and likely wouldn’t have much value. Powell is a player who needs upwards of 27+ minutes to see value in standard formats. Add Powell to the list of Mavs on the “do not draft” list.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 167/148 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 180/153 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 71
2018-19 averages: 71 G | 18 GS | 21.2 MP | 6.8 PTS | 1.1 3PM | 4.6 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.5 STL | 1.1 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .453 FG% | .784 FT% |
Maxi Kleber was another Mavs beneficiary of the #TeamTank movement of late season. He was in a timeshare with Dwight Powell, and now both find themselves as free agents heading into 2019 free agency.
Kleber flashed some decent potential late in the season, inching toward top-150 status in standard formats. Much of his fantasy prowess will be dictated by where he ends up next season. Fortunately, the Mavs have intentions of bringing Kleber back, but things can change in an instant in the NBA. If a sizable free agent fish decides he wants to play next to Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavs will open up the checkbooks.
If Kleber catches on in a situation where he is seeing more than 25 minutes per game, he can exhibit some nice sleeper potential in standard leagues. Keep an eye on where he ends up after the dust settles of what could be a wild free agency period.
ADP: 97/145 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 260/245 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 245/240 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 58
2018-19 averages: 58 G | 8 GS | 19.4 MP | 10.9 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 1.7 REB | 2.7 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .430 FG% | .831 FT% |
Trey Burke is a recognizable name who has showed flashes of fantasy potential over his career. That fact alone is why he was being drafted at all last season, let alone in the top-100 in ESPN leagues.
He played 21 minutes per game in 33 games for a lowly Knicks team last season and wasn’t able to crack any fantasy relevance other than the occasional scoring outburst from time to time. His minutes declined for the Mavs, as they saw no reason to give him much time in a contract season.
Burke once again finds himself likely switching uniforms in the summer of 2019 as an unrestricted free agent. At age 26, Burke possibly has something left in the tank, but he can’t be much more than a backup point guard who can turn some heads once in a while. He’s another ignore on draft day.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 218/231 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 255/275 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 73
2018-19 averages: 73 G | 38 GS | 21.8 MP | 9.3 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 2.3 REB | 3.2 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.1 BLK | 1.2 TOV | .467 FG% | .725 FT% |
The Mavs acquired Jalen Brunson with the 33rd pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He served as a healthy backup point guard for most of the season, appearing in 73 games and averaging a quiet 21.8 minutes per game. His playing time seems to indicate the Mavs have found their backup point guard for the next few seasons.
That will be Brunson’s role moving forward. He isn’t a player that gets you excited to roster. He had his moments, finishing 218th in total value in 8-cat leagues. That does serve some deep-league appeal, but Brunson won’t be the guy who springs up out of nowhere. His ceiling will be waiver wire fodder in standard leagues unless an injury comes at the guard position and he sees 30+ minutes per game.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 161/153 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 205/201 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 81
2018-19 averages: 81 G | 26 GS | 24.5 MP | 7.5 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 4.8 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.9 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.9 TOV | .432 FG% | .709 FT% |
Finney-Smith spent the year as a reliable swingman off the bench in Carlisle’s rotations. He does a little bit of everything and has a high motor out on the court, which instantly earns minutes at any level of basketball.
He played a healthy 81 games last season, averaging nearly 25 minutes per game, but couldn’t crack the top-150 as a player who should be owned. He was waiver-wire fodder for much of the season, added for hustle stats. His efficiency struggled, which depressed value.
Finney-Smith finds himself as a free agent this summer, which will likely hurt his fantasy value. Landing with the Mavs would be a favorable scenario, but even that possibility should be tempered as the Mavs have cap space to try to win now and long-term. He won’t be on any draft sheets next season.
ADP: NA/139 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 383/377 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 393/379 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 34
2018-19 averages: 34 G | 6 GS | 12.6 MP | 4.0 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 1.6 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .414 FG% | .667 FT% |
Courtney Lee was yet another toss in from the Porzingis trade. At 34 years young, Lee currently makes the second-most on the Mavs roster at $12.3 million. He is entering the last year of his deal, which means the Mavs have to make an interesting decision.
Lee’s status with the Mavs will largely depend on what they do in free agency. If they can land a respectable free agent, they can use a stretch provision in his contract which would free up $7.6 million and keep Lee on the books longer. As he is in a contract year, Lee could be a piece in yet another Mavs trade, sending him to a team which wants to take on expiring deals.
Regardless, Lee doesn’t look to fit in to the Mavs’ youth movement, which means he won’t see the light of day in fantasy value. Even if he switches teams, it would be hard to see him make much of an impact elsewhere due to his age. The days of fiesta Courtney Lee are gone. He is simply a locker room presence at this point in his career.
ADP: 139/136 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 304/324 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 222/284 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 38
2018-19 averages: 38 G | 0 GS | 19.8 MP | 10.9 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 2.5 REB | 5.6 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.0 BLK | 1.9 TOV | .418 FG% | .705 FT% |
J.J. Barea came into the 2018-19 season off a solid finish the season before, so he was drafted as a hail mary pick in standard leagues. He started the season with a sharp decline in efficiency before suffering a torn Achilles to end his season.
Barea was in a contract year, so the injury did him no favors. He enters next season at the age of 35, so questions about retirement are certainly looming after such a devastating injury. Fortunately for the Streakin’ Rican, the Mavs have nostalgia and will always have a soft spot for him. Not to mention, they have Bird rights over him as well. That could serve to land him one more contract in Dallas.
Even if Barea overcomes his injury in time for the season and earns a spot on the Mavs roster, he, at his best, serves as a late-week assists boost in standard head-to-head leagues. The Mavs have supplanted him with Jalen Brunson, which lessens his role moving forward, if re-signed. Safely ignore Barea on draft day.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 288/290 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 332/354 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 68
2018-19 averages: 68 G | 2 GS | 15.8 MP | 6.3 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 1.6 REB | 1.8 AST | 0.5 STL | 0.5 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .380 FG% | .761 FT% |
Devin Harris etched out nearly 16 minutes per game in 68 games during the 2018-19 season, which isn’t too shabby for a 36-year-old guard buried on a thin depth chart. The problem is, none of his efforts translate to the fantasy game.
The 2009 NBA All-Star (yes, really), like most Mavs, became a free agent when the clock struck midnight back in April. He cruised through the end of the season with ankle sprains, an injury which has lingered throughout his career. There is no telling if a team will entertain any minimum on an elder statesman point guard this late in his career.
Retirement has to be a looming option. Even if it’s not, Harris is not on any fantasy radars whatsoever.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 344/341 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 322/306 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 36
2018-19 averages: 36 G | 4 GS | 11.1 MP | 3.9 PTS | 0.3 3PM | 3.6 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.6 TOV | .491 FG% | .625 FT% |
Averaging a solid 12 minutes per game during the Mavs dog days over the last few seasons, Mejri will pop an occasional double-double once a season and float atop a deep-league waiver wire.
He remained in his end-of-the-bench big man role once again in the 2018-19 season. After averaging over 63% shooting from the field in his first three seasons, he saw a decline below 50% which did him no favors. Mejri enters the offseason as a free agent, but the Mavs retain his Bird rights in case they want a lowly center who can play a few minutes here or there.
In case you are in a Tunisian-only fantasy league, give Mejri a look next season. Otherwise, don’t bother.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 380/378 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 422/415 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 42
2018-19 averages: 42 G | 0 GS | 10.8 MP | 4.0 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 1.5 REB | 0.5 AST | 0.1 STL | 0.1 BLK | 0.4 TOV | .452 FG% | .789 FT% |
Who? If you watched any Mavs games this season, you might have thought a fan won a contest to come play 10 minutes per game. Seriously, google him.
The 28-year-old rookie appeared in over half of the Mavs’ games last season, starring mostly in the #TeamTank finish to the season. His 2019-20 salary is not guaranteed but becomes fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster after June 29.
His value to NBA franchises comes as somewhat of a sharpshooter and a player fans root for since he has no expectations. There is simply no upside or reason to think about having him in any dynasty or redraft leagues next season.
It’s a bright and healthy baby boy! This team has all of its fingers and toes accounted for coming out of the womb, now it just needs time to grow. Mark Cuban isn’t one to sit too patient, for better or worse, so expect the Mavs to attempt to spend big this summer. Whether that works out for them remains to be seen, but count on them trying.
With Luka Doncic at age 20 and Kristaps Porzingis at age 24 next season, the team is set up to make a run sooner and later. Admittedly, the team looks pretty barren once you get past these names, but the cap space and expiring contracts open this roster to much creativity if the right pieces are willing to come.
The upcoming season target is likely a playoff spot at best for the team, but its a step in the right direction. If they can crank out 20 more seasons out of Luka Doncic to match Dirk’s 21 seasons, the sky is the limit. It should be a fascinating offseason for the young Mavs.