After an unexpected conference finals berth in the 2021-22 season, the Dallas Mavericks and Luka Donic have begun this season with a 14-13 record, leaving them underwhelmingly sitting as the eighth seed in the western conference. Per usual, superstar point guard Luka Donic is meeting and surpassing all expectations put forth for him, sitting third in the NBA MVP race despite the Mavericks’ lackluster record. One of Lukas' co-stars, Christian Wood, is also performing quite well. As a role player, Christian Wood provides a floor spacing scoring punch off the bench in the frontcourt position. The question of why the Mavericks are underperforming is pertinent in the heads of many fans and analysts alike.
Last season, the main gripe with the Dallas Mavericks was the individualism of the offense. Everything was run through Doncic and throughout the history of the NBA, a championship has never been won with an offense solely dominated by a single player. The front office tried fixing this issue by trading Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie, who would play the role of a secondary ball handler. While Dinwiddie dampened the loss of star player Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks, the loss of your second-best player and playoff breakout player would always be an issue for the Mavericks. The sad reality for the Mavericks is that they are a team centered around defensive negative Luka Doncic. It will be hard to build a quality defense, so I believe they should invest heavily into building up their offense and their rebounding.
As expected, the Mavericks are top ten in offensive rating and middle of the pack in defensive rebound percentage. John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks could be a perfect addition to help bolster the offense and fix the perpetual rebounding problem the Mavericks are faced with. Collins's best season was in 2019 when he averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds per game while being able to shoot the three and play adequate defense as well. However, contract discussions and coaching changes have made his role within the Hawks team unclear and many reports have pointed to him being unsatisfied in Atlanta. Collins recently signed a long-term extension with the Hawks, which would alleviate tons of stress within the Mavericks, who are dealing with salary cap issues due to Doncic’s monstrous contract. The Mavericks could potentially deal Davis Bertans and use some of that draft capital to swindle the Hawks into giving them an extremely undervalued asset in Collins, who would be the perfect rebounder and pick-and-roll partner for Luka Doncic in the future.