After blowing a 2-0 lead in round one of the NBA Playoffs, people are looking to see how the Dallas Mavericks pick up the pieces.
Everyone from fans to NBA executives has an opinion on what Dallas should do to get better. However, the loudest – and most important – voice remains the team’s owner Mark Cuban. And in a recent interview with the Daily Beast, he admitted to one central need – playmaking.
“We need a secondary ball-handler with some size,” Cuban said. “KP will spread the court, make threes, is a great cutter, and block shots. Luka will create. We’ve got shooters with Tim and Trey [Burke] and Maxi [Kleber] and others. But we need someone to take the pressure off of Luka, so instead of him having to have the ball in his hands for 40 minutes, it could be 32 minutes, and that’s what we need.”
What’s the fix?
It’s easy to admit a need, but it’s harder to find a solution to the problem. As the Mavs head back to the drawing board, they face the reality that the roster – as currently constructed – isn’t much better than it was during Dallas’ bubble run.
However, Cuban doesn’t believe that it was solely a lack of talent that led to Dallas’ demise in Game 7. Instead, he views it as Los Angeles’ role players stepping up, while Dallas missed quality looks that might have swung the game.
“For us, when our role players made threes, we beat them,” Cuban said. “When our role players didn’t make threes, and we had plenty of open looks in Game 7, we lost. And their role players? I mean, Luke Kennard is who beat us. We did a great job on Kawhi, and it’s one of those things where you pick your poison: If Luke Kennard is gonna beat us, he’s gonna beat us. And he beat us.”
Cuban on Porzingis and Luka:
On the recent reports regarding Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic’s strained on-court relationships, Cuban stated that “they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
And when asked about Porzingis’ lack of playoff production, he added “We just used KP as a decoy.”
$158 million over five years is one expensive “decoy.” But, for Cuban, it’s not about the price tag, it’s all about winning.
“It’s all about winning because not every guy can be a decoy,” he said.
The next few months will be critical for the Mavs as they retool and restock, aiming for a deep playoff run next season. And with roughly $30 Million coming off of the books this offseason, Dallas has enough cap space to go after a secondary playmaker, as Cuban suggested.
Quality stars and starters like DeMar DeRozan, Dennis Schröder, Kyle Lowry, and Lonzo Ball may be available for the highest bidder. And Dallas needs to be a spender this summer if the organization aims to get Doncic the necessary help.
Cuban expressed that it’s not about the price tag when it comes to winning. That is far easier said than done. However, it’s time for Dallas to put the money where its mouth is and get Doncic the help he needs going forward.
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Feature image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.