The Dallas Mavericks have enjoyed an impressive run of success over the last decade and a half, finishing at or above .500 in each of the last 16 seasons. The last time the Mavs finished below .500 was back in 1999/2000, Dirk Nowitzki‘s second NBA season, when the team had a 40-42 record.
This season, however, the Mavs will face a major uphill battle to get to 41-41. Just a dozen games into the season, Dallas is already eight games below .500, at 2-10. Nowitzki, battling an Achilles injury, has missed time, as have veteran guards Deron Williams, J.J. Barea, and Devin Harris. The club’s top offseason addition, Harrison Barnes, has looked good, but his 21.3 points per game haven’t been enough to get Dallas more than a pair of victories so far.
It’s unclear at this point whether or not the Mavs will enter a full-fledged rebuild, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who tweets that the team is definitely keeping an eye on some young players as potential targets. There’s no sense at this time that the Mavericks will blow up their roster, but if they don’t turn things around and some of their veterans want to be traded to contenders, the Mavs could attempt to accommodate them, tweets Kyler.
Meanwhile, in a piece for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor identifies Dallas as one of a handful of teams that should be tanking this season instead of going all-out to contend. As O’Connor observes, despite having some decent pieces in Barnes, Wesley Matthews, Justin Anderson, Dwight Powell, and Dorian Finney-Smith, the Mavs’ roster “badly needs an infusion of young talent.”
One team executive tells O’Connor that he thinks Dallas would only tank if Nowitzki’s injury issues persist throughout the year. In that scenario, veteran center Andrew Bogut would draw “plenty” of trade interest, according to the exec. The Mavs also hold their own first-round pick for 2017, so a bottom-five finish would give the team a chance at a top prospect.
What do you think? Should the Mavs hope they can get healthy and turn things around, or is it already time to start looking toward the future? If Dallas does decide to focus on next year, which of their vets should be on the trade block, and which ones should be retained as building blocks? Jump into the comments section below to let us know what you think!