Ever since the NBA Draft wrapped up back in June, the buzz over the Dallas Mavericks has been squarely around new rookie sensation Luka Doncic. Dallas went all in on the young European superstar, and for good reason.
The Mavericks saw a lot of reasons to forfeit a top-5 protected first round pick in next year’s draft for the rights to move up two spots and assure themselves the acquisition of Doncic. Dallas views him as a semi-polished rookie, who has already accomplished a great deal professionally on Europe’s grandest stage.
But what nobody is talking about is the fact that Dallas also signed their potential replacement for Dirk Nowitzki, as the German center prepares for his final season in the pros. Dirk is obviously a whole different animal, due to his incredibly versatile skill set, but it was important for the Mavs to shore up the center position prior to his retirement. So they signed DeAndre Jordan on a one-year deal worth $24.1 million.
Dallas made a strong push three years ago to sign Jordan, but he took a long time making his decision, and ultimately he ended up staying with the Clippers. But here we are in 2018, and Jordan opted out of his player option. Originally a Texas native, it made perfect sense for the two sides to join forces in what appears to be a mutually beneficial bond.
Jordan also played with now teammate Harrison Barnes, as the two joined forces on the U.S. national team. Their familiarity with each other’s game on their way to winning the Olympic gold medal in 2016 could carry over to the court in Dallas as soon as next season.
The Mavs were only able to muster 24 wins a season ago, but that seems like an entire different team than the quite strong and definitely improved starting lineup the team will showcase in 2018. Jordan brings a strong inside presence for Dallas, who needs help in the paint. Last season, he averaged 12.0 points and 15.2 rebounds per game, and that type of contribution would go a long way in helping Barnes and Doncic, who will be able to focus on what they do best. Jordan also has a big opportunity to soak up all that he can possibly learn from Dirk. Knowledge and experience are hard to come by, and simply being exposed to him could help improve Jordan’s game.
The Western Conference is extremely loaded with talented teams, and LeBron’s decision to join the Lakers only intensifies the competition. Expecting the Mavs to immediately make a leap to become a playoff team could be a stretch, but they have definitely put themselves in a position to achieve success in what has been a busy and positive offseason in Dallas.