The Dallas Mavericks are quickly running out of time. After dropping their game in Philly last night, one in which they desperately needed to win, they're now 3-7 over their last 10 games and sit 3 games under .500 (37-40) and in 11th place. That's a bit of an issue considering they went all in at the trade deadline to bring in Kyrie Irving, and now have a real chance of missing the playoffs altogether.
Looking at the teams ahead of the Mavs, tiebreakers become important. The first being H2H, and this how the Mavs stack up
vs OKC (10th): 1-2
vs NO (9th): 2-2
vs LAL (8th): 3-1
vs MIN (7th): 1-2
Since they tied NO, if they were to finish with the same record the next tie breaker would be the division winning percentage since both NO/DAL are in the same division, but neither lead it. At the moment, the Pelicans own that at 10-5 vs 9-6 with one more division game left (MEM) and the Mavs have one left as well (SA). If they both finish 10-6 in the division, the next tie breaker is the conference record, which is 26-21 vs 27-23.
Basically, the only team you could argue the Mavs have a chance of leaping is the Lakers, but LAL has a 2 loss lead over DAl with 6 games to play.
So when asked how things are going in Dallas, Kyrie Irving had a pretty accurate description
Now because Kyrie Irving loves to talk about context, here's the full quote
OK, so this was your typical Kyrie word salad, and I wouldn't even say he's wrong for the most part. Minus that line where he said
"So I wanted to finish out with Brooklyn, finish out with the season that we had going and I didn't get the chance to do that"
Umm, Kyrie. You demanded the trade. You didn't get a chance to do that because YOU were the one that demanded out. As a result, they traded you, then KD, and decided to retool. It's not like he was traded against his will or anything. You didn't have to ask for the trade, you could have played it out.
In terms of the fit in Dallas, it's basically gone how most expected. Offensively they have the potential to be lethal, but when it comes to the elite teams and the contending teams, you have to be able to get stops. Since the Kyrie trade, the Mavs rank 24th in defense in the NBA. Only the Kings are worse in terms of playoff teams, but not by much. Unfortunately for the Mavs, their issue is more than just Kyrie/Luka. It's pretty clear Jason Kidd has no clue what he's doing, the role players are streaky, and this looks like a team that's just ready for this season to be over.
Last night's game against the Sixers is a perfect example. This was a 2 point game heading into the 4th quarter, and when things got tight, nobody but Luka could really do anything. He went 2-3 in his 6 minutes, but everyone else? All other starters were 2-12, including 2-5 from Kyrie (-10). They turned it over 6 times which is asking to blow a close game.
If you were asked what the Mavs identity is, what would you say? Give the ball to Luka and Kyrie and just hope for the best? In a playoff series where defense becomes more important, how do the Mavs expect to survive? Shit, they can't even defend well enough now despite their season being on the line.
This of course brings up the next big question. What do the Mavs do? Luka doesn't seem thrilled which is the most important thing for that franchise, but given what they traded to bring in Kyrie, can they afford to let him walk for nothing this summer? But if he stays, is this looking like a winning combination that can compete for titles? Remember, this was a win now trade that doesn't seem to be producing too many wins.
If only the Mavs could have seen this coming. Who could have foreseen adding Kyrie Irving would only bring more problems than solutions to your franchise? The whole point of taking the Kyrie gamble is the basketball stuff is supposed to outweigh the drama. When that doesn't happen, is it even worth it? Sure doesn't look like it.