Kyrie Irving at this point in his career in the NBA has proven he is the most unusual superstar the league has ever witnessed; he left LeBron James high and dry in Cleveland after most expected him and LeBron to go for a rematch against the highly-powered Golden State Warriors but Kyrie had other plans. He felt he deserved a spotlight much like LeBron and Curry at that time period and massively failed at being the face of the Boston Celtics, becoming the eventual black sheep before pairing up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn where that experiment also flopped due to the Nets lacking any sort of identity; and now wi finds himself in Dallas pairing up with phenom Luka Doncic; to make for one of the most unorthodox duos in recent history. 2 wings whom we could never picture doing much without the basketball in their hands, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban seems to be keen on taking the rest of the NBA world for a loop with his new dynamic back-court going into next season and beyond; and seeing what could materialize with both Kyrie and Luka at the helm with all the right components in place. Head coach Jason Kidd seems to be fitting out and could get the ax going into the off-season but assuming Kyrie re-ups for another 2-3 years we can’t help but fathom they could very well do something special together with a full off-season together and much needed continuity which hasn’t been the case in the second half of this campaign.
As it stands the Mavericks are on the outside looking in with hope being all they possess to get into the Play-In Tournament, but one must admit assuming the Mavericks squeak into the tournament they could wreck absolute havoc,get out of the play-in, and low and behold if Luka and Kyrie are clicking going into a first round series against any of the top seeds in the Western Conference. The Mavericks’ problem is not Luka Doncic nor is it Kyrie Irving who is becoming more and more of a scapegoat the more he keeps jumping around from team to team, it’s their horrid defense and losing a defender the caliber of a Dorian Finney-Smith certainly won’t help the cause, one of if not the best defender the Mavericks possessed in last year’s roster which got all the way to the Western Conference Finals in last year’s playoffs. So who’s to blame? Well Jason Kidd has been given the benefit of the doubt ever since he last coached the Milwaukee Bucks, he excelled as one of the Lakers’ assistant coaches on the championship team from The Bubble and due to leading the Mavs all the way to the Conference Finals last season he’s been excused in Dallas despite failing to integrate now Wizard Kristaps Porzingis into the Mavericks’ offense. Porzingis remained the stretch 5 he was under former head coach Rick Carlisle; and Jason Kidd quite frankly labeled Porzingis washed last season and incapable of starring alongside Luka.
Well Porzingis has enjoyed his best campaign at the NBA level since his early days with the Knicks when he had everyone believing former coaching legend turned general manager Phil Jackson was the new Jerry West; and from the looks of it Kristaps will be sure to garner a 3-4 year offer somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 100 million dollars this coming off-season due to his unexpected resurgence in Washington. So it’s safe to say assuming Jason Kidd gets the boot in Dallas, we might very well never see him get another head coaching gig again at the NBA level. I’ll be completely honest, it’s sort of mind boggling he can’t rack up wins with two players the caliber of a Luka and Kyrie but at least it goes to show those who believe stock-piling big names together equals success it’s not always the case. I mean just look at the hand former Laker head coach Frank Vogel was dealt, Russell Westbrook,Carmelo Anthony,Dwight Howard, and LeBron James for practically a full-season and the Lakers couldn’t even make the playoffs last year. I was never a fan of Kyrie Irving joining the Mavericks but being how unusual his career arc has been in the NBA it would not surprise me one bit if he spends the next 2 seasons rotting away in Dallas and ultimately out of the NBA altogether.
So the question begs to differ, can Kyrie Irving defy the odds and manage to bring a championship to Dallas alongside Luka Doncic assuming he re-ups for another 2-3 years? I believe it’s certainly possible, but the Mavericks will have to invest in bringing in a difference maker on the defensive end in that porous front-court. That difference maker could come through the draft this summer or free-agency but one thing has been left clear, the Mavericks miss Dorian Finney-Smith’s rim protection and athleticism; not to mention the lone game they won in the Conference Finals Finney-Smith was one of the main catalyst with 23 points and 6 rebounds in a must win Game 4. Retracting back to Kyrie and Luka, it will take a coach who’s been around the block a few times to keep the Mavericks dynamic back-court in sync for a full-season and a possible deep playoff-run, specially with a ever growing disgruntled Luka who’ll have one foot out the door in Dallas over the next few years if things don’t change for the better. Hefty task for Mark Cuban if you ask me,specially if he’s counting on Kyrie to be the main culprit to help Luka bring back the title to Dallas,Texas. More than anything, Luka’s leadership will be tested as he seeks to replicate the same success someone he’s often compared to in LeBron James achieved in Cleveland with Kyrie Irving 2016. But they don’t call him Luka Magic for nothing so we shall see how it all materializes going forward, till next time.