NBA 2019-20: Are Dallas Mavericks back to relevance?
It's been a whirlwind off-season in the NBA this year. Much of the talk has been around the intriguing rivalry in LA, the revived hopes in Brooklyn after years in the wilderness, as well as the goings on at Philadelphia, Houston, Golden State and so on.
However, the Dallas Mavericks have been moving ahead with quiet confidence over the past few months, and it seems like they are primed for some major upsets in the near future.
For those who don't remember the times before the Golden State Warriors juggernaut decimated all opposition, Dallas used to be a super competitive team. That was the prime of Dirk Nowitizki along with legends like Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and others. They were an incredibly entertaining and highly talented team led by a passionate owner - Mark Cuban.
Cuban's smart recruitment and managing of Nowitzki's final years (unlike Kobe Bryant's) has put the Dallas team on the path to a quick recovery over the past 3-4 years. Central to this scheme has been the effective swap of drafting Luca Doncic over Trae Young.
In Young's defence, he's had a great start to his career, but Doncic looks more of a winner than him at this point in time. In addition to this, the Kristaps Porzingis trade was a major coup for Dallas.
Yes, he's recovering from a torn ACL and hasn't played in 18 months. But he's young and more importantly was already a rising star before he got hurt. Dallas have been smart to give him an extended recovery period rather than rush him back from this serious injury.
If Porzingis returns anywhere close to his level from two years ago, and Doncic continues to develop his already strong game, this team would have the talent, youth and hunger that can drive them to being serious contenders again in the NBA.
But first, Doncic and Prozingis needs to develop a ruthless streak that only the very best players possess. It will be intriguing to see how this story develops and how this year pans out for them.