Reviewing the 2021 Dallas Mavericks

July 9th, 2021

By Alan Lu

The Dallas Mavericks were a solid offensive team that turned in an MVP-like season out of superstar forward, Luka Doncic, and things seemed to be on the up and up.  However, they struggled defensively all year, and after winning their first two games in the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers, things fell apart for the Mavericks from there.

The Mavericks only won one more games after winning Games 1 and 2 in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, and they lost in 7 games to the Clippers.  Kristaps Porzingis appeared to be irked that he didn’t receive more touches on offense in the playoffs, despite not shooting the ball well. 

Luka Doncic reportedly had tension with a staff member in the front office, as well as unexpected tension with Kristaps Porzingis.  The fallout relating to these stories later led Rick Carlisle to resign, and with former GM Donnie Nelson getting fired.  They hired Jason Kidd to be their new head coach, but it remains to be seen if Doncic and the Mavericks can move forward with all of the drama they’ve had recently.

Dallas Mavericks’ superstar point forward, Luka Doncic had a very good 2021 season. He averaged roughly 28 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds per game this past season, and he also made his second NBA All-Star team this year.
(Photo:
Kevin Jairaj/USA Today Sports, via Fansided’s The Smoking Cuban)

G-F Luka Dončić
2021 (DAL): 66 GP, 27.7 PPG, 8.6 APG, 8 RPG, 1 SPG, 48 FG%, 35 3PT%, 73 FT%, 25.3 PER, 59 TS%, 7.7 WS, .163 WS48

He had a very good season, as he really excelled as a scorer and an offensive player for his team, and he was a consistent threat to drop triple-doubles in games.  He allegedly had a few run-ins with his employees and teammates, but Doncic is a superstar that kept his team in virtually every game this year.

2021 Season Grade: A-
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Starting point forward on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 4 stars (4.5 stars potential)

Dallas Mavericks’ center, Kristaps Porzingis put up solid numbers in the regular season, but he played very poorly in the playoffs, as his role diminished greatly in the postseason this year.
(Photo:
Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

C Kristaps Porziņģis
2021 (DAL): 43 GP, 20.1 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 48 FG%, 38 3PT%, 86 FT%, 21.3 PER, 58 TS%, 4.3 WS, .154 WS48

He had a very good regular season, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder, but he really struggled in the playoffs.  He wasn’t nearly as effective in the postseason, and he struggled to shoot or rebound against the Clippers in their first-round series loss.

2021 Season Grade: C
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Starting center on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 3 stars

Dallas Mavericks’ swingman, Tim Hardaway Jr. played very well in his role for his team this past season.
(Photo:
David Berding/Getty Images, via FiveThirtyEight)

G-F Tim Hardaway Jr.
2021 (DAL): 70 GP, 16.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 45 FG%, 39 3PT%, 82 FT%, 15.7 PER, 59 TS%, 4.3 WS, .105 WS48

Hardaway did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he excelled as an offensive player in the regular and postseason.

2021 Season Grade: B
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Starting shooting guard on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2.5 stars

Will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season.

F Dorian Finney-Smith
2021 (DAL): 60 GP, 9.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.7 APG, 47 FG%, 39 3PT%, 76 FT%, 12 PER, 61 TS%, 4.4 WS, .110 WS48

He excelled as a shooter, and he also took on the bulk of the defensive responsibilities for his team this year.  He’s not an elite scorer, but he’s been able to reliably shoot threes and defend when he is on the court.

2021 Season Grade: B
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Starting forward on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2.5 stars

F Maxi Kleber
2021 (DAL): 50 GP, 7.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 42 FG%, 41 3PT%, 92 FT%, 10.6 PER, 61 TS%, 2.9 WS, .103 WS48

He generally excelled as a shooter and defender for his team this past season, but he didn’t take nearly enough shots in the playoffs, and he will need to be more assertive on offense.

2021 Season Grade: B-
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Starting forward on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2.5 stars

G Jalen Brunson
2021 (DAL): 68 GP, 12.6 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.4 RPG, 52 FG%, 41 3PT%, 79 FT%, 17.1 PER, 62 TS%, 5.1 WS, .143 WS48

He shot the ball really well, and he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and facilitator for his team this past season.

2021 Season Grade: B+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2.5 stars

Brunson’s contract is non-guaranteed for next season.

G-F Josh Richardson
2021 (DAL): 59 GP, 12.1 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1 SPG, 43 FG%, 33 3PT%, 92 FT%, 11.9 PER, 54 TS%, 2.4 WS, .066 WS48

He was traded to Dallas to be a 3 and D role player in the NBA for them.  He didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well, but he still played fairly solid defense.  He seemed to be in his coach’s doghouse in the playoffs though, because he didn’t seem to play very much, and it’s likely that his shooting woes were a major factor in his reduced playing time towards the end of the year.

2021 Season Grade: C-
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

Richardson has a player option that he can exercise for next season.

G J.J. Redick
2021 (NOP/DAL): 44 GP, 7.4 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 1.2 APG, 40 FG%, 37 3PT%, 94 FT%, 9.9 PER, 56 TS%, 0.7 WS, .045 WS48

Redick didn’t shoot or score the ball nearly as well as he had last year, and he ended up getting hurt after playing in a handful of games for Dallas, which prevented him from being able to play in the playoffs.

2021 Season Grade: C- (C- w/NOP, and C- w/DAL)
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

Redick will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2020-21 NBA season.

F-C Dwight Powell
2021 (DAL): 58 GP, 5.9 PPG, 4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 62 FG%, 78 FT%, 16.8 PER, 69 TS%, 3.8 WS, .188 WS48

He did a very good job of making shots, and he also showed improved rebounding and defensive skills this past season.  He didn’t play much during the playoffs, but he was very effective at making shots, though he didn’t take nearly enough of them in that time span.

2021 Season Grade: B-
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

C Boban Marjanović
2021 (DAL): 33 GP, 4.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 51 FG%, 82 FT%,  22.6 PER, 56 TS%, 1 WS, .183 WS48

Marjanovic saw a decrease in his scoring efficiency and defense this past year, but he rebounded the ball better during the regular season.  He played much more, and he put up solid numbers in the playoffs, but his team struggled, especially from a defensive standpoint in their series loss to the Clippers.

2021 Season Grade: C+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

C Willie Cauley-Stein
2021 (DAL): 53 GP, 5.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 63 FG%, 63 FT%, 14.3 PER, 65 TS5, 2.8 WS, .147 WS48

He was very efficient as a scorer and interior defender, but he didn’t play nearly as much in the playoffs, nor shoot or rebound as much as he should have.

2021 Season Grade: C+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

Cauley-Stein has a team option that the team can exercise for next season.

G Trey Burke
2021 (DAL): 62 GP, 6.6 PPG, 1.3 APG, 43 FG%, 35 3PT%, 89 FT%, 12.6 PER, 54 TS%, 1.4 WS, .071 WS48

He didn’t shoot or pass the ball nearly as well this past season, and he did not play well in the limited minutes he received in the playoffs against the Clippers this year.

2021 Season Grade: D
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars

F-C Nicolò Melli
2021 (NOP/DAL): 45 GP, 3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1 APG, 33 FG%, 27 3PT%, 76 FT%, 7.9 PER, 44 TS%, 0.6 WS, .048 WS48

Melli didn’t shoot the ball well at all, and he was fairly middling defensively, but he rebounded the ball better this past season.  He didn’t play very well in the playoffs in the limited minutes he played against the Clippers in his team’s first-round series loss.

2021 Season Grade: D-
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 1.5 stars

G-F Josh Green
2021 (DAL): 39 GP, 2.6 PPG, 2 RPG, 45 FG%, 16 3PT%, 57 FT%, 8.8 PER, 49 TS%, 0.5 WS, .050 WS48
2021 (G-League): 6 GP, 13.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 45 FG%, 18 3PT%, 67 FT%, 17.0 PER, 51 TS%, 0.3 WS, .086 WS48

He did not shoot the ball very well at either the NBA or the G-League level, but he was able to do a decent job of passing, rebounding, and defending at both of those levels this year.

2021 Season Grade: D+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)

F Tyler Bey (Two-Way)
2021 (DAL): 18 GP, 1 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 32 FG%, 25 3PT%, 60 FT%, 5.9 PER, 37 TS%, 0 WS, -.033 WS48
2021 (G-League): 13 GP, 15.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 49 FG%, 33 3PT%, 77 FT%, 20.8 PER, 61 TS%, 0.9 WS, .120 WS48

He is a very athletic combo forward that played very well in the G-League and he projects into a defensive specialist role in the NBA, but he didn’t play much in the NBA this past season.

2021 Season Grade: D+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)

G Tyrell Terry
2021 (DAL): 11 GP, 1 PPG, 31 FG%, 6 PER, 32 TS%, -0.1 WS, -0.049 WS48
2021 (G-League): 13 GP, 14.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 42 FG%, 34 3PT%, 81 FT%, 12.9 PER, 59 TS%, 0.4 WS, .053 WS48

He didn’t shoot the ball well in limited minutes in the NBA, but Terry played fairly well in the G-League, as he generally excelled as a scorer, rebounder, and defender for his team at that level.

2021 Season Grade: D+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)

G-F Nate Hinton (Two-Way)
2021 (DAL): 21 GP, 2 PPG, 36 FG%, 10.4 PER, 44 TS%, 0 WS, -.015 WS48
2021 (G-League): 12 GP, 9.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1 SPG, 42 FG%, 33 3PT%, 93 FT%, 16.6 PER, 59 TS%, 0.5 WS, .105 WS48

He signed on a Two-Way contract with the Dallas Mavericks, and he generally excelled s a rebounder and defender in the G-League, but he will need to improve his shooting and scoring skills in the meantime.

2021 Season Grade: D+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Back end roster player, possible back end of the rotation player in the NBA
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)

Dallas Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle led his team back to the playoffs this year, but after a disappointing first-round exit and reports of unresolved tension amongst him and his team, Carlisle resigned and joined the Indiana Pacers in the offseason.
(Photo:
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images, via Bleacher Report)

Their 2020-21 Head Coach:
Rick Carlisle
2021 (DAL): 42-30, 3-4 in the playoffs
Coaching career: 836-689, 63-70 in his playoff career, won an NBA championship with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks

He had a fairly solid year with the Dallas Mavericks, as he got them to more wins than expected in the regular season.  Carlisle had a near MVP season out of superstar point forward, Luka Doncic.  They were a solid offensive team that looked to be an intriguing team heading into the playoffs this year.

They ran into a tough first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and after winning the first two games, they couldn’t close the deal as they lost in 7 games.  They couldn’t defend well enough, they didn’t find a way to make use of Kristaps Porzingis, and his tendency to play too many centers in the postseason made them too slow to guard the Clippers down the stretch.  Still, Carlisle is a major upgrade over Bjorkgren, and he at least could get the Pacers to get on the same page and to winning basketball, or to the playoffs at the very least in the East.

2021 Season Grade: C+
Expected 2022 NBA Role: Head coach of the Indiana Pacers
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2.5 stars

Their New, Incoming Head Coach:
Jason Kidd
2021 (LAL): N/A
Coaching Career: 183-190, 9-15 in his playoff career

He’s a Hall of Fame point guard that has coached a handful of seasons in the NBA prior to being an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers.  He’s largely credited with helping Giannis in his developmental years in the NBA. 

He’s a player-friendly coach that can get players to like him, but as a tactician, nothing really stands out about how he fared as an NBA head coach.  He did have a weird moment in Brooklyn where he tried to get Tyshawn Taylor to spill a drink on the court, because they were out of timeouts, and he tried to get Taylor to help them manufacture one, to no avail.  It’s uncertain if he’ll make as big of an impact that Dallas are hoping him to make, but the logic is that maybe he’ll get Doncic and Porzingis to be on the same page together.

Expected 2022 NBA Role: Head coach of the Dallas Mavericks
Projected 2022 NBA Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)

A Brief Summary of the 2020-21 Dallas Mavericks’ Season:

The 2020-21 Dallas Mavericks had a solid regular season, but they blew a 2-0 lead in the first round to lose in 7 games to the Los Angeles Clippers this year.  They also seemed to have chemistry issues that may have led them to implode down the stretch in the postseason, and Dallas has already went ahead to make changes to their coaching staff and to their front office for next season.

The 2020-21 Dallas Mavericks’ Season Grade: C

The Dallas Mavericks’ Projected 2021-22 NBA Rotation

Projected Starters:
C Kristaps Porzingis
F Maxi Kleber
F Dorian Finney-Smith
G Josh Richardson
G Luka Doncic

Key Reserves:
G Jalen Brunson
G Trey Burke
F Dwight Powell
C Boban Marjanovic
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Others competing for a spot in the rotation next season:
G-F Josh Green
F Tyler Bey (Two-Way)
G Tyrell Terry

Other players that are currently projected to be on their next season’s roster:
G-F Nate Hinton (Two-Way)

Impending Restricted Free Agents:
F-C Nicolo Melli – Not Expected Back

Impending Unrestricted Free Agents:
C Boban Marjanovic – Expected Back
G-F Tim Hardaway Jr. – Not Expected Back
G J.J. Redick – Not Expected Back

Dallas will likely bring Boban Marjanovic back, and they may look to re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr. and J.J. Redick, but Hardaway could end up pricing himself out of Dallas’ range as he could sign elsewhere, and Redick indicated that Dallas wasn’t his ideal team to be traded to as he was blindsided by New Orleans’ management, and his lack of time there could lead him to also sign elsewhere.

Players with an Impending Player Option:
G-F Josh Richardson – Expected Back

Players with an Impending Team Option:
C Willie Cauley-Stein – Expected Back

Projected Offseason Plan for the Dallas Mavericks:
Depending on who they choose to re-sign or not, the Mavericks might have enough room to spend for one big-name free agent in the offseason, or several mid-tier players.  They could look to get athletic 3 and D wing players, or extra players that can handle the ball and create off the dribble, and they need more scorers so that their team won’t have to be so singularly dependent on Luka Doncic.  That way, it could allow them to be a more dynamic offensive team and to be a more versatile team for the playoffs.

Projected 2022 Dallas Mavericks’ Win-Loss Record, and 2022 Season Prediction:
48-34, 5th in the Western Conference in 2022

Expected 2022 Season Outcome:
Dallas could fight for a top-4 seed, but are likely going to be a mid-tier playoff team in the West next season.

 Dallas has a solid offensive team, but they will need to improve their defense and their team chemistry issues.  Otherwise, they might top out as a mid-tier playoff team that may get bounced out fairly early in the postseason, despite having one of the best players in the league in Luka Doncic.

I primarily used Basketball-Reference, RealGM, and No Trade Clause for research purposes. Thank you for reading.

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