NBA Season Review: Dallas Mavericks’ Rebuild to Reclaiming Imperial Glory

The 2018-2019 National Basketball Association (NBA) season did not really progress to be a good one for the Dallas Mavericks, but it was not necessarily bad either.

Billionaire team owner Mark Cuban has been rebuilding his disgruntled franchise for the last two years as their 2011 Larry O’ Brien championship paved to an unwanted aftermath—perhaps, technically, because they did not run back their winning core in the following season.

But, that is not actually the point of last year’s case.

The Mavericks, in the beginning of the season, completely looked to be on their way to play more competitive basketball and had a real shot to make it to the playoffs.

At one point in the regular season, despite having a 20-22 record for 12th place, Dallas was statistically in the hunt for a playoff spot, being only nine games back of the first placers in the ever-wilder Western Conference.

Dallas’ 2018 offseason acquisitions proved to be worth taking as DeAndre Jordan buried all of his free throw issues in deep memories, thanks in huge part to the Mavericks’ underrated player development staff.

The Mavericks finished in a three-way tie for the 12th spot with its Southwestern Division rivals Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans with a 33-49 win-loss record.

But, the best thing is, the past season proved that Cuban and Rick Carlisle do not have to worry transitioning to another era that lies ahead on one of Texas’ trio of heavyweight franchises.

Auf Wiedersehen, Dirk

After being drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the ninth overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, Dirk Nowitzki was traded to Dallas along with Pat Garrity in exchange for Robert Traylor.

Twenty-one full seasons later, and who would have predicted that all #MFFL would witness their first-ever homegrown superstar and Hall-of- Famer?

Nowitzki came in the league as a late-bloomer.

Despite only scoring 8.7 points per game in his rookie year, Nowitzki drastically improved his scoring averages in the succeeding years, scoring 17.5 points in his second year.

A true forefather of the stretch-four position, Nowitzki announced his retirement last season after spending all of his career in Dallas, leaving Vince Carter as the last man standing among the 1990’s draftees.

Nowitzki, who currently ranks as the sixth best scorer in NBA history with a total of 31, 560 points scored, finished with career averages of 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.

Apart from being a well-known volume scorer, Nowitzki also cemented his legacy as a future first-ballot Basketball Hall of Fame inductee by winning numerous awards in his tenure, most notably winning the 2006-2007 Most Valuable Player (MVP) award as well as the 2011 NBA Finals MVP after defeating the trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat in the Finals.

Bridging the Gap

While Nowitzki’s retirement seems to be the end of a lengthy chapter in the face of the Mavericks’ franchise, it is hard to deny that Dallas fans would not wait for too long to witness another homegrown superstar right before their eyes.

In the 2018 NBA Draft, Dallas traded their fifth overall pick Trae Young for the overhyped Slovenian teenage sensation Luka Doncic, echoing their historic draft acquisition on Nowitzki 20 years ago and, boy, oh boy, they did no wrong.

In his rookie year, Doncic already showed glimpses of his versatility after tallying 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and six assists while only missing 10 regular season games.

Though Doncic failed to lead the Mavericks to the post-season last year, chances are the percentage of making it this upcoming season will likely increase following the acquisition of former New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis before the trade deadline.

All that, along with the continuous growth of their young players like Maxi Kleber and Jalon Brunson, time will only tell if the Mavericks are ready to once again claim their position at the top of the league.

Editor’s Note: This piece only contains updated information prior to the 2019 NBA Draft and 2019 NBA Free Agency.

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Follow the writer on Twitter: @KristoffBellen.

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