May 7, 2023, 12:09 pm
The Mavs were hoping to build on last season’s surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals; having seen how far Luka Doncic can carry his team, the goal was to find more support and get him over the hump. Though they weren’t able to re-sign Jalen Brunson after a monster season, Dallas went out and got Christian Wood to absorb some scoring burden and signed JaVale McGee, promising him the starting center role. Dorian Finney-Smith was working on a big new contract and Spencer Dinwiddie was set to take another step forward after a promising half-season in Dallas hte year prior. The Mavs could never find another gear and swung for the fences at the trade deadline.
How’d It Go?
Missing the playoffs when your team clearly isn’t title-calibre is far from the end of the world. It’s part of the cyclical nature of sports, especially when spending is capped and teams are generally smarter than ever. When you miss the playoffs after another round of major roster surgery and completely waste a prime year of Luka Doncic, it’s a disaster.
When the Mavs acquired Christian Wood, it seemed like a reasonable gamble. For all his faults as a player, he can contribute on offense, and the hope was that moving to a better team would inspire better habits after years of empty calorie numbers on awful teams where Wood seemed content to get his numbers and head home. That didn’t happen.
Dorian Finney-Smith’s 3-point shot abandoned him. Wood was the same guy he’s always been. JaVale McGee’s run as a starter (a truly hilarious free agency promise) was brief and essentially useless. Spencer Dinwiddie was able to deliver the best season of his career, finding a new level of efficiency as a scorer, but in a Western Conference that was absolutely loaded, Dallas once again had to lean heavily on Luka Doncic and blew things up a bit in pursuit of a second star.
Doncic’s capability kept the team in fighting shape, though forcing him to outscore the team’s shoddy roster construction was never a viable long-term plan, lest Luka be totally out of gas by the time the playoffs rolled around. With the Mavs mired in mediocrity despite a generational talent doing his thing every night, they decided to swing big at the trade deadline and lean all the way into the “outscore your problems” philosophy by trading for Kyrie Irving. After he tanked the Nets in the previous season, this year Irving shared a link to an anti-Semitic movie on his social media and was suspended by the Nets. He would later return and blow the whole thing up by asking to be traded — that was addition by subtraction for Brooklyn, except it also put the writing on the wall for Kevin Durant wanting out as well. All of that off-court nonsense aside, the Mavs saw it as an opportunity to add a top talent at a relative discount and were willing to wave everything else away to try and get Doncic a real co-star.
The season ended with Dallas pulling off a blatant late tank to miss the Play-In, earning a fine from the league for their troubles. The Mavs aren’t the first team to tank hard and put some embarrassing rosters together, but their wanton disregard for the competitive integrity of the game, featuring a 180 degree pivot in the course of a few days, was hard to watch. In the end, the Mavs weren’t able to outscore all their problems, as a flawed roster undercut everything Doncic was able to achieve on his own. They went 5-11 in the 16 games that Doncic and Irving shared.
The luster has started to come off for Jason Kidd. He earned the reputation of being a poor coach during his run with the Bucks, but a trip to the Conference Finals last season kept the wolves at bay and perhaps Kidd had learned from past mistakes. This year made it look like last season was a fluke. When defense and game management are consistent major problems from wire to wire, it’s hard to give a coach the benefit of the doubt.
Sure, the Mavs roster was light on wings and reliable bigs despite having a pretty full frontcourt rotation. The Mavs also dealt with injuries, particularly to Doncic and Irving down the stretch, and Maxi Kleber’s injury played a big part in Dallas struggling up front. You can even spin Kidd’s curious usage (or lack thereof) of Christian Wood into a positive if you want — despite Wood’s improved performance with the starting group, Kidd took a hardline stance about Wood’s inconsistent effort and defensive play, refusing to reward a player who wasn’t meeting his standards. Let’s be charitable and say that was fine.
In the end, however, the Mavs’ consistent penchant for blowing leads falls at his feet, as does the team’s inability to get stops, rebound, or do anything on offense that doesn’t include heroic work from Luka Doncic. Dallas lost 15 games in which they led by 10 points or more, including two losses that featured blown leads of over 20 points. Winning even half of those games — a good team wins much, much more than half of those — has the Mavs above the Play-In. The nail went in the coffin with back-to-back losses against the tanking Hornets late in the year.
Dallas finished 24th in defensive rating. The Mavs don’t have a ton of obvious plus-defenders, but other coaches have done more with less. With a net rating of plus-0.1, the Mavs graded out as an average team, wasting all of the offensive firepower that Doncic provided. Although Dallas proved they could score with anybody, they couldn’t devise an offensive system that saved wear and tear on Doncic, leaving him susceptible to nagging injuries down the stretch when the team needed him most. It was not a good job of managing things in the big picture, and though the truth lies somewhere between Kidd’s 52-30 and 38-44 seasons, the Mavs have to reckon with whether he’s truly the man for the job.
The PlayersLuka DoncicPG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 66 66 36.2 10.9 22.0 49.6 7.8 10.5 74.2 2.8 8.2 34.2 32.4 8.6 8.0 1.4 0.5 3.6 21-22 DAL 64 64 35.5 9.9 21.6 45.7 5.6 7.5 74.0 3.1 8.8 35.3 28.5 9.1 8.7 1.1 0.5 4.5 20-21 DAL 65 65 34.5 9.9 20.6 47.9 5.2 7.2 73.0 2.9 8.3 35.1 27.9 8.0 8.6 1.0 0.6 4.3
ADP: 3/4 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 7/16 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 10/16 (8/9-cat)
Doncic was overdrafted. He will be until the end of his career. It’s just the way it’s going to be for a guy who turns box scores into personal pinball machines. That said, Doncic got a lot closer to meeting the hype than he has in previous seasons. You know that Doncic is going to pump out triple-doubles and massive scoring lines, and last season he was able to creep up towards the top-5 if you punted free throws and turnovers. The thought was that he’d need to really improve his free throws to get close to the ADP, but Doncic delivered in surprising fashion this year — he became a clear net positive from the field.
For Doncic, who carries an insane burden for his team, to hit nearly half of his shots despite the constant attention from defenses is remarkable. The efficiency spike was most definitely a surprise all things considered, but Doncic’s talent level makes him an outlier at the far right end of the bell curve. Few players are able to do the things he does, and although the Mavs’ lack of depth makes them a shaky team as far as title contention goes, it ensures that Luka will have to deliver eye-popping performances night after night after night. His season highlight was a 60-point, 21-rebound, 10-assist dazzler in a win over the Knicks. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
Statistically, Doncic was a dynamo whose numbers never slipped even as the Mavs fizzled out. On the court, you could see the frustration mounting. His defensive effort waned and Doncic spent a lot of time barking at officials. His conditioning seemed to get worse over time. For as amazing as Doncic has been, there’s still room for improvement. It’s not clear exactly how those finer points would make him a better fantasy player, but we sure would like to find out.Kyrie IrvingPG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 60 60 37.3 9.9 20.1 49.4 4.1 4.6 90.5 3.1 8.3 37.9 27.1 5.1 5.5 1.1 0.8 2.1 21-22 BKN 29 29 37.6 10.0 21.2 46.9 4.1 4.4 91.5 3.4 8.2 41.8 27.4 4.4 5.8 1.4 0.6 2.5 20-21 BKN 53 53 35.0 10.2 20.3 50.4 3.8 4.1 92.2 2.8 7.1 39.7 27.1 4.7 6.1 1.4 0.6 2.4
ADP: 27/17 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 19/12 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 12/9 (8/9-cat)
There’s no way around recognizing Irving’s talent on the court. He’s one of the few players you can comfortably expect to outdo his ADP every single season, with first-round numbers in reach whenever he’s lacing up his sneakers. Therein lies the rub, as for a variety of increasingly insane reasons, Irving just can’t put a full season together. Irving’s ability to dismantle the entire Nets franchise in the span of two seasons is an achievement in its own right, from butting heads with the coach (that the players chose) to skipping town to forcing James Harden to want out to getting suspended for sharing anti-Semitic content to asking for a trade after things seemed to be smoothing out, with his request leading to Kevin Durant also wanting out. He’s speed-running a franchise collapse; the fact that the Nets recouped some fantastic players in the associated Durant trade was the only saving grace of a nightmare run in Brooklyn.
The Mavs are the latest group to step to the plate with a “we can fix it” attitude, and good luck to them. Irving’s numbers pre and post-trade were fairly similar, though the Mavs going 5-11 in games with both Irving and Luka Doncic active is at least of mild concern. Few players can grab hold of a game like Irving, but fewer still are worth the headaches that seem to follow him around. The Mavs may not have a ton of competition for him in free agency as a result. Between the lines of the court, Irving is a gifted player who managed to surpass his ADP by both total and per-game measure, even with all the nonsense attached. He’s not for the faint of heart but as long as he’s focused on hooping, you can expect a true cornerstone for any fantasy squad.Christian WoodPF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 67 17 25.9 5.9 11.5 51.5 3.2 4.2 77.2 1.6 4.2 37.6 16.6 7.3 1.8 0.4 1.1 1.8 21-22 HOU 68 67 30.8 6.5 12.9 50.1 3.0 4.9 62.3 1.9 4.9 39.0 17.9 10.1 2.3 0.8 1.0 1.9 20-21 HOU 41 41 32.3 8.0 15.6 51.4 3.0 4.8 63.1 1.9 5.0 37.4 21.0 9.6 1.7 0.8 1.2 2.0
ADP: 80/65 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 89/94 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 87/91 (8/9-cat)
There were a ton of reasons to be down on Wood entering the season. His run in Houston proved that he was unable to lift a team in the win column despite piling up some decent numbers, and the book seemed to be out on him as a total one-way player whose defensive effort was impossible to work around if you wanted to win some games. A trade to Dallas was immediately followed by reports that Wood would come off the bench, and while high-usage but flawed players like this have been able to thrive in pared-down roles, the fact that so much of Wood’s value came from points and rebounds spelled trouble.
Wood was given some starts over the course of the season but his on-court flaws limited his playing time, and the Mavs had aspirations that prevented Jason Kidd from letting Wood get away with bad habits. It was killer for fantasy GMs, who saw Wood deliver massive lines in his 17 starts, with averages of 20.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.3 blocks and 2.3 3-pointers in 33.1 mpg on .517 from the field and .808 at the line. As a reserve, Wood averaged 15.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.3 triples in 23.5 mpg on .514 from the field and .760 at the charity stripe. In the end, the volume dips all came to pass, but Wood was able to stay afloat thanks to improved numbers at the charity stripe. We closed our Draft Guide profile of Wood with this:
“The prospect of diminishing playing time is concerning, and we would imagine that Wood’s impressive counting stats carry a lot of weight in terms of inflating his ADP. If he can get back to average at the charity stripe he should be able to hold in the top-100 even as his popcorn numbers fall, but that’s a risky proposition given his recent history. If you’re working on a punt-FT% team then Wood is someone to consider in the late-middle rounds. He’s talented enough to deliver top-125 numbers with a steady role but his ceiling is much lower this year than it was with the Rockets.”
When you’re right, you’re right.Tim Hardaway Jr.SF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 71 45 30.3 4.8 11.9 40.1 1.8 2.3 77.0 3.0 7.7 38.5 14.4 3.5 1.8 0.7 0.2 0.8 21-22 DAL 42 20 29.6 5.0 12.6 39.4 1.9 2.5 75.7 2.4 7.2 33.6 14.2 3.7 2.2 0.9 0.1 0.8 20-21 DAL 69 30 28.4 5.8 13.1 44.5 2.0 2.5 81.3 3.0 7.6 39.0 16.6 3.3 1.8 0.4 0.1 0.9
ADP: 140/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 160/138 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 187/166 (8/9-cat)
The notoriously streaky Hardaway lived up to his reputation once again. His bounce-back from the 3-point line was nice but at the end of the day we got the same story, in that Hardaway was a must-stream at times but never good enough to play his way into long-term plans for standard-league GMs. He peaked with a couple weeks of top-60 output in March but you always knew the other shoe was going to drop, and the Mavs’ plummet down the standings limited his appearances in the final week of the year. THJ battled some nagging injuries throughout the campaign but they never really impacted his statistical performance. The Mavs need some work this summer and although Hardaway’s game will likely fit with whatever the new group is, he may see his place in the pecking order impacted.Reggie BullockSF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 78 55 30.1 2.5 6.0 40.9 0.3 0.5 70.3 1.9 5.1 38.0 7.2 3.6 1.4 0.7 0.2 0.5 21-22 DAL 67 36 28.0 3.0 7.4 40.4 0.6 0.7 83.0 2.1 5.8 36.0 8.6 3.6 1.2 0.6 0.2 0.6 20-21 NY 65 64 30.0 3.8 8.6 44.2 0.8 0.8 90.9 2.5 6.1 41.0 10.9 3.4 1.5 0.8 0.2 0.7
ADP: 140/160 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 245/220 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 263/261 (8/9-cat)
Bullock was able to deliver another low-end 3-and-D season, fitting in comfortably as a starter in Dallas. He started playing a ton down the stretch as the Mavs needed someone to fill Dorian Finney-Smith’s defensive shoes, but Bullock was doing a lot of cardio and rarely caught your eyes in the box score. A collapse in his free throw numbers hurts his overall rankings, but managers who streamed Bullock during those heavy-minute days could usually count on some triples and a steal or two. It’s not thrilling but Bullock is a good fantasy glue guy when he’s playing well, and is just a reliable plug-and-play option for coach Kidd. You know what you’re going to get every night, even if it’s not impressive.Josh GreenSF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 60 21 25.7 3.4 6.4 53.7 1.1 1.6 72.3 1.1 2.8 40.2 9.1 3.0 1.7 0.7 0.1 1.2 21-22 DAL 66 3 15.5 1.9 3.8 50.6 0.5 0.7 68.9 0.4 1.1 36.0 4.7 2.4 1.2 0.7 0.2 0.6 20-21 DAL 38 5 11.3 1.0 2.2 44.7 0.3 0.6 59.1 0.1 0.6 17.4 2.4 2.0 0.7 0.4 0.1 0.4
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 227/235 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 240/248 (8/9-cat)
It’s been a gradual climb since Green entered the league, but this season saw him put a real stamp on a role. Previously Green had been more an agent of chaos than anything else; someone who could use his athleticism to fly all over the court and get involved in a number of ways, though consistency and decision-making were big problems. We saw a third-year leap from Green, who became an indispensable part of the rotation and played a variety of roles from perimeter stopper to backup ball-handler. His importance increased when the Mavs lost some of their depth at the trade deadline, but even before then Green had proven to be a capable fill-in starter. Monitoring the injury report was key for fantasy GMs, as Green’s numbers were better when he was starting. As a reserve, he averaged 7.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.0 3-pointers in 22.6 mpg on .589 from the field, but as a starter Green was able to deliver 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 0.6 steals and 1.4 3-pointers in 31.3 mpg while shooting a respectable .487 from the floor. There were a few weeks where Green was a hot add in fantasy, but the bulk of his improvement came on the court rather than in the box score. A more decisive player who’s willing to attack, the young Green should be a part of the future in Dallas.Maxi KleberC, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 37 5 25.1 2.1 4.6 45.6 0.7 1.0 71.1 1.1 3.0 34.8 5.9 3.6 1.4 0.3 0.8 0.7 21-22 DAL 59 21 24.6 2.4 6.0 39.8 0.8 1.1 70.8 1.4 4.3 32.5 7.0 5.9 1.2 0.5 1.0 0.8 20-21 DAL 50 40 26.8 2.3 5.5 42.2 0.7 0.7 91.9 1.7 4.2 41.0 7.1 5.2 1.4 0.5 0.7 0.6
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 321/313 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 258/250 (8/9-cat)
Though he may not start or score a ton, in recent seasons Kleber has emerged as the pillar in the Dallas frontcourt. He’s a bit of an amalgamation of all the other players the Mavs have cycled through; Kleber can step out and hit 3-pointers and he’s the team’s best rim protector, though he’s not particularly elite at either and he struggles to rebound. That’s mostly a compliment, but as you pan out you can see why the Mavs might have wanted to kick the tires on someone like JaVale McGee or Christian Wood. Unfortunately, injuries prevented the Mavs’ most versatile frontcourt option from playing a big part this year, as Kleber missed over two months with a right hamstring problem and then had to get back up to speed. The arrivals of Wood and McGee were already working to push Kleber’s ceiling down and things just didn’t break his way this year. On the positive side, Kleber did boost his FG% notably, thanks to a larger percentage of shots taken inside the arc, and improved his 3-point percentage after a rough go in the previous season. Unfortunately a dip in blocks did him in, as that’s really the backbone of Kleber’s modest fantasy appeal. We’ll see how the Mavs rework the frontcourt this time around.Dwight PowellC, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 76 63 19.2 2.6 3.5 73.2 1.5 2.2 66.7 0.0 0.1 0.0 6.7 4.1 0.9 0.6 0.3 0.9 21-22 DAL 81 70 21.9 3.3 4.9 66.8 2.0 2.5 79.6 0.2 0.5 35.1 8.7 4.9 1.2 0.5 0.5 0.8 20-21 DAL 57 18 16.5 2.1 3.4 61.8 1.7 2.1 77.9 0.1 0.4 23.8 5.9 4.0 1.0 0.6 0.5 0.7
ADP: 140/160 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 200/203 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 263/261 (8/9-cat)
Powell is a safety blanket up front for the Mavs. He doesn’t have a very high ceiling anymore but he’s also the most consistent performer; and perhaps that’s more of a bug than a feature when you do so few things on the court. Powell sets decent screens, converts the few shots that end up on his plate and tries to box out. It’s a simple formula but one that makes you reliable to your coach. Powell ended up taking over the starting spot for JaVale McGee but his general inactivity meant that fantasy managers were unable to benefit much from his promotion; Powell had just 17 games of double-figure scoring all year, and six of those saw him score 10 points right on the nose. He had a category-boosting FG% but on such low volume that you needed to ride with him for the long haul to feel a real benefit. Powell’s dip in blocks also prevented him from moving the needle in a real way; he was just a deep-league plodder that was better suited to roto formats.Jaden HardySG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 48 5 14.8 3.0 6.9 43.8 1.4 1.6 82.3 1.3 3.3 40.4 8.8 1.9 1.4 0.4 0.1 1.0
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 312/318 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 332/351 (8/9-cat)
Hardy slid in the draft and that all led to a nice steal of a pick for the Mavs, who grabbed a talented, score-first guard to help bolster a major area of need, both in terms of the depth chart and skill set. Unfortunately, Hardy is still a relatively raw prospect, and Jason Kidd found it difficult to overlook the growing pains that would come with giving Hardy a major role right out of the gate. His first real crack at playing time didn’t come until December 10, and that proved to be a one-off as his next chance to log legitimate minutes came on January 5. Hardy did deliver some big games along the way — 25 points on 8-of-17 FG, 29 points on 8-of-12 FG, 22 points on 9-of-21 FG — but they were surrounded by poor shooting nights and limited minutes, with Kidd generally unwilling to reward one of those big games with the same workload the next night. Hardy was unable to generate much beyond those random pops unless the Mavs were dealing with injuries to their top scorers. He should play a bigger part next season but volume-based scoring guards have to walk the tightrope in fantasy, and Hardy didn’t exactly get a ton of playing time to work out the kinks as a rookie.Justin HolidaySF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 46 2 15.3 1.7 4.4 37.7 0.1 0.2 62.5 1.0 3.1 32.2 4.5 1.2 0.9 0.4 0.4 0.5 21-22 SAC 73 64 27.7 3.5 8.9 39.0 0.7 0.8 80.6 2.4 6.5 36.1 10.0 2.6 1.7 0.8 0.5 0.9 20-21 IND 72 52 30.3 3.6 8.7 41.3 0.9 1.2 78.8 2.4 6.3 38.2 10.5 3.6 1.7 1.0 0.6 0.8
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 348/341 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 395/383 (8/9-cat)
Holiday used to be a sneaky, reliable fantasy value for savvy managers. A guy who plays every night that’s capable of solid 3-and-D numbers was a great snag at the end of drafts or off the waiver wire, but those days appear to have passed him by. He struggled to find playing time with the Hawks and although the Mavs gave him a few kicks at the can following the trade deadline, Holiday was unable to generate much of note for fantasy GMs. His 3-point percentage cratered and his steal rate dipped, leaving Holiday as a player who did more to tear down your field goal percentage than build you up anywhere else. It’s a little surprising that a Dallas team so light on wing depth and spacing didn’t find more use for Holiday, but the fact that he wasn’t all that involved doesn’t speak well to his future outlook.Davis BertansPF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 45 1 10.9 1.5 3.6 43.1 0.3 0.3 86.7 1.2 3.1 39.0 4.6 1.2 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.2 21-22 DAL 55 14.4 1.7 4.9 35.4 0.7 0.7 90.0 1.4 4.1 33.0 5.5 2.1 0.6 0.3 0.2 0.3 20-21 WAS 57 7 25.7 3.4 8.4 40.4 1.8 2.0 87.0 3.0 7.5 39.5 11.5 2.9 0.9 0.6 0.2 0.6
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 361/342 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 412/385 (8/9-cat)
Bertans battled injuries throughout the season, but the real issue here is that he just can’t guard anybody. He turned a career year into a massive deal and while Bertans has the capability of lifting a team’s offense, it’s been a few seasons since he’s been worth the trouble. Credit the sharpshooter for bouncing back in his area of specialty, becoming a solid marksman after a dreadful 2021-22 season by 3-point percentage, but Bertans has played his way out of a full-time spot in the league. He’s just a 3-point specialist for deep leagues and the fact that the Mavs, who really needed anything they could get on the wings, didn’t dial him up, speaks volumes.JaVale McGeeC, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 42 8 8.5 1.9 3.0 64.0 0.6 1.0 58.5 0.0 0.1 40.0 4.4 2.5 0.3 0.1 0.6 0.9 21-22 PHO 73 16 15.8 3.9 6.2 63.0 1.4 1.9 71.1 0.0 0.1 22.2 9.2 6.6 0.6 0.3 1.1 1.3 20-21 DEN 45 2 14.8 3.1 6.1 51.3 1.0 1.4 66.2 0.1 0.5 21.7 7.3 5.1 0.8 0.4 1.2 1.3
ADP: 140/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 371/379 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 408/428 (8/9-cat)
McGee rode a strong season as the backup to Deandre Ayton to a nice payday in free agency, signing a three-year, $20 million deal with a player option in Dallas. The Mavs allegedly promised McGee the starting center gig as part of negotiations, and recent seasons have shown that McGee can be a positive low-minute addition thanks to his rim-running and ability to guard the rim. After snaking his way to a top-200 season in 15.6 mpg with the Suns, fantasy managers saw enough potential in a starting role to make McGee a late-round flier. Things flamed out quickly, however, as McGee was moved to the bench by early November and fell out of the rotation shortly after that. The per-minute stats remained viable, but McGee played far too little for them to actually come into play.Frank NtilikinaPG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 47 5 12.9 1.0 2.8 36.4 0.5 0.7 66.7 0.4 1.4 25.4 2.9 1.3 1.2 0.3 0.1 0.6 21-22 DAL 58 5 11.8 1.5 3.8 39.9 0.4 0.4 96.0 0.7 1.9 34.2 4.1 1.4 1.2 0.5 0.1 0.5 20-21 NY 33 4 9.8 0.9 2.4 36.7 0.2 0.5 44.4 0.7 1.5 47.9 2.7 0.9 0.6 0.5 0.1 0.3
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 391/398 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 466/474 (8/9-cat)
Ntilikina was set to compete for the backup PG work in training camp, with the departure of Jalen Brunson opening minutes behind Luka Doncic and Spencer Dinwiddie. With out-of-position wing Josh Green looking like his main competition, plus Kidd’s prior willingness to let Ntilikina play as a perimeter stopper, it seemed like he had it in the bag. Unfortunately, a late-camp ankle sprain knocked Niltikina out until November, and he didn’t start playing consistently until December. The fact that Green played well meant that Ntilikina was fighting an uphill battle, and he would move in and out of the rotation for most of the season. He’s more of a situation weapon than a full-on rotation option at this point.Markieff MorrisPF, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 35 2 10.1 1.3 3.3 40.9 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.8 2.0 39.4 3.8 2.0 0.9 0.3 0.1 0.5 21-22 MIA 17 1 17.5 3.2 6.7 47.4 0.5 0.5 88.9 0.8 2.3 33.3 7.6 2.6 1.4 0.4 0.1 1.2 20-21 LAL 61 27 19.7 2.5 6.2 40.5 0.6 0.8 72.0 1.1 3.4 31.1 6.7 4.4 1.2 0.4 0.3 0.9
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 385/378 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 410/404 (8/9-cat)
Morris is well past the point of effectiveness. He signed with the Nets, taking on the old Blake Griffin role of “end-of-bench forward who can theoretically shoot but won’t ever play” and filled that spot well before being traded to the Mavs. Dallas was already working with a loaded frontcourt group (in terms of volume of players) and was rarely a consideration for Jason Kidd. Morris established a new career-low in playing time and it’s hard to see that reversing course.McKinley Wright IVPG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 28 1 12.0 1.6 3.5 46.9 0.5 0.7 68.4 0.3 1.0 32.1 4.1 1.7 2.1 0.3 0.2 0.7 21-22 MIN 4 2.8 0.5 0.8 66.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.5 50.0 1.3 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.3
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 399/399 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 401/407 (8/9-cat)
Wright earned a two-way contract out of training camp after spending his rookie season with Minnesota. He had a few stretches of regular playing time but was entirely reliant on injuries above him on the depth chart. Wright’s overall steadiness makes him a reasonable emergency guard, and Jason Kidd wasn’t afraid of giving him double-digit minutes when the opportunities were there, but Wright didn’t have much to offer for fantasy purposes beyond modest assists, and even then was only relevant in very deep formats.Theo PinsonSG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 40 1 8.1 0.8 2.2 35.6 0.3 0.3 84.6 0.6 1.6 35.5 2.4 1.6 1.2 0.2 0.0 0.3 21-22 DAL 19 7.1 0.5 1.8 26.5 0.4 0.4 100.0 0.3 1.4 23.1 1.7 1.1 0.8 0.3 0.1 0.2 20-21 NY 18 1.9 0.1 0.5 11.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.1
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 407/400 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 478/467 (8/9-cat)
Pinson has carved out a role in the league thanks to his personality and work behind the scenes; he’s a beloved part of any locker room even if he rarely sees the floor. His season culminated in a big triple-double in the finale, and while that was only because of the Mavs’ shutdowns, you can never take that away from him. Pinson had a run of regular minutes in February but was mostly a fantasy afterthought.A.J. LawsonSG, Dallas Mavericks
Season Team GP GS MPG FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% 3PTM 3PTA 3PT% PTS REB AST STL BLK TO 22-23 DAL 15 0 7.2 1.5 2.9 50.0 0.1 0.5 25.0 0.7 1.7 40.0 3.7 1.4 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.2
ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 482/477 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 506/498 (8/9-cat)
Lawson began the year in Summer League with the Mavs and ended up back in Dallas after a short stint in Minnesota on a two-way contract. His only two performances of note came in the final two games of the year, when the Mavs were sitting just about anyone who was in the regular rotation.
It is this writer’s opinion that fantasy basketball should be fun, first and foremost. If you’re stressing out constantly and living and dying with every shot attempt, you’re in too deep. As such, this award can only go to Luka Doncic. While Kyrie Irving bested him in terms of per-game value, the joy of watching Doncic pile up gaudy stat lines every night outweighs the permanent nervousness that comes with waiting for Irving’s next unexpected absence. Luka is a phenom, and though he won’t ever match the ADP, you can at least make it close with some punting, and the sheer enjoyment of watching him work has to count for something intangible. Set-and-forget players are worth their weight in gold, let alone ones who are this good.
The Mavs’ organizational failure probably knocked Doncic out of the MVP race but there’s no denying that he just put together the best season of his career. Driven by career-high shooting marks, Doncic was among the league’s scoring leaders and a nightly triple-double threat. He’s not a perfect player, but nobody is. Luka is a superstar in every sense and it’s going to be on the team to make sure that he sees a long-term future in Dallas. In a results-based business, Doncic’s brilliance has been wasted so far.
This is a tough one to hand out given how concentrated the fantasy value is in Dallas. There’s only a few guys who managers should’ve even bothered to look at in most leagues, so by default this almost has to go to Christian Wood. It’s not necessarily fair, as Wood was able to hold steady thanks to some much-improved free throw numbers, but he couldn’t deliver on hopes that moving to a better situation would clean up his game.
In the end, we have a very talented player who can’t get out of his own way. A leopard can’t change his spots and Wood is limiting his own market by failing to improve as a defender. The Mavs haven’t seemed to be in a rush to re-sign the big man, who might face an underwhelming market given all the stuff he’s put on tape in recent seasons. No good team is going to want Wood to be a franchise pillar; the Mavs weren’t even good and they didn’t trust him to start. The statistical output will get the job done, but Wood hasn’t proven able to play at ceiling level consistently. Maybe this is just who he is.
One to Watch
Josh Green built on a quiet first two seasons with a breakout in year three, and as he grows more comfortable on the floor it’s easy to see how he can solve some problems for this team going forward. The Mavs may never want to rely on Green being a significant part of the scoring attack but his increased willingness to call his own number, as well as the burgeoning ability to run point and create for his teammates, gives Dallas some much-needed versatility. Add in his athleticism and defensive mettle, and there’s a lot to like as a prospect. Green needs to keep his foot to the pedal because the Mavs could really use a young wing option. Any roster retool should create more work for Green, and as he expands his horizons across the court the Mavs might want to see exactly how much he can handle. The baseline is enough to intrigue and we might see Green get the chance to scratch the ceiling going forward.
One Burning Question
Do the Mavs re-sign Kyrie Irving? Dallas has taken a few swings at getting Luka Doncic a real co-star, and there’s no doubt that Irving is the most talented player that Luka has ever worked with. Did Irving enjoy his time in Dallas enough to re-up? Would that even matter? Perhaps his market is so cool that the Mavs are the only suitor offering a major role, a massive paycheck and a theoretical chance at competing. For Dallas, was the test drive of Doncic-Irving good enough to commit heavy salary to a player who has blown up every locker room he’s been in that didn’t have LeBron James? Or was clearing some longer-term salary with this trade a big enough win already? Whatever the case, the Mavs are losing time here. Doncic can’t be happy with the organization’s failure to build around him adequately, and that urgency could manifest itself in a max deal for a player with significant baggage and limited team success (again, aside from when he was riding shotgun with LeBron). The offensive upside of a Doncic-Irving duo is nearly unbeatable, but the downside risk is as big as it gets. Dallas is staring down a franchise-altering decision this summer.
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