Is Kyrie key to Mavs’ victory?



Luka Doncic warms up before taking on the San Antonio Spurs on 2/23

On Sunday afternoon the Dallas Mavericks shook the NBA with a single trade. The Dallas Mavericks acquired an eight time all star, and NBA champion Kyrie Irving, in exchange for professional basketball players Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finey-Smith, and some draft capital.

The main headline around the Mavericks was young superstar, Luka Donic, didn’t have any help from the other players around him. And that we would never reach success if we kept the roster we had. And with losing a young talent in Jalen Brunson is free agency to the Knicks, for a while that narrative was right.  The Mavericks’ record after the Irving trade is 31-29 which puts them right in the middle of a stacked western conference.

There was a lot of controversy in trading for the tremendous Kyrie Irving. In the 2020-2021 season Irving only played 29 off and on games because of the NBA’s vaccine mandate. In the 2020-2021 season, Irving’s former team, the Brooklyn Nets were 30-23 without Irving and 8-12 with him. This stat started narratives that Irving was a “locker room cancer” and that the team would be better off without him. Especially with Irving’s lingering injuries, that also sidelined him for a majority of the games.

When Irving played in his three year run with the Brooklyn Nets, he was averaging 27 points per game and six assists, and efficient shooting. 

There was no doubt that Irving was a generational player that was still in his prime, but teams stayed wary of him because of his off-court antics and his inability to play games.  

Fast forward to the 2022-2023 season the pressure was all on the Brooklyn Nets and Irving. They lost one of their best players and fell short in the playoffs with one of the best players of all time, Kevin Durant. The Brooklyn Nets were in a good place. All their players were meshing together and they were dominant in the east.

Until Kyrie was suspended for eight games for supporting a anti-sesmtic movie on his social medias. Unlike his other suspension this one was different. This not only affected the Jewish community, but also put the Brooklyn Nets organization in a bad spotlight with the U.S. After Irving served his sentence, the team played basketball as usual, until he requested a trade. He would later go to the Dallas Mavericks. 

Within the few minutes of this trade happening, the NBA community wondered what the general manager and owner Nico Harrison and Mark Cuban were doing. Trading for a controversial player that could potentially only be in Dallas for half a season is extremely risky.  

Irving debuted against the LA Clippers, without Doncic he dropped 24 points with five assists in the Dallas Mavericks win. The team would be 2-0 with Irving in his first two games, proving that you should take risks. The reason why Irving fits so well with the Dallas Mavericks is because of his tempo control. He plays at a fast pace that makes the defender make impulsive decisions, because if the defender decides to fully commit to Irving, then he will just pass it out to the other Mavericks on the floor. Irving finally brings another playmaker and star to this team, and star power can take you a long way. 

However, once Doncic came back, that slightly changed. The Dallas Mavericks stars debuted against the Sacramento Kings in a back to back. This was an amazing showcase of the new Mavericks. Doncic had 27 points, while Irving had 28. The Dallas Mavericks would go on to lose this game, and then get destroyed at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, even though Irving scored 26 in the fourth quarter. 

So what’s the issue? Why aren’t two of the best players in the league winning, why isn’t it working? These were the questions spirling throughout the minds of NBA fans and analyzes. There’s no doubt that both players are amazing players, but there is doubt if  they can fit together. Doncic plays at a very slow and lethargic pace, while Irving plays guns blazing and fast, so there is obviously a big difference in play. 

But I have no worries at all that they will get it together and win games. Irving has co-started with some of the best players of all time and debatably the best player of all time in the all time leading scorer LeBron James. So this is not new to Irving in the slightest. But Doncic on the other hand is completely new to sharing the court with another star. As much as I hate to admit it, Doncic has had no help in his five years in the NBA. So he is so used to taking on the burden of the whole offense, Doncic is not used to sharing the workload. 

This is a good problem to have. People only get better when they are surrounded by good people. With the new acquisition of the champion, Irving, the Dallas Mavericks are looking to change the culture of the team, and get back to winning.Is IS