If there’s one team that made a move at the trade deadline, it’s the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs already have one of the best players in the NBA with All-Star Luka Doncic, and they’ve just snatched up Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from the Charlotte Hornets to help them improve their defense. They’ve made it clear they’re not settling for their current seventh place rank in the West (they certainly seem like a better team than that), and they’re hoping this new addition can help them out in multiple positions. And in even better news for Dallas, it appears Doncic could return from injury this week! Here’s a look at this current Mavericks team – and where to get cheap tickets to see them in action!
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Is Luka Back?
If there’s one player on the Mavericks’ roster who is the key difference-maker, it’s Luka Doncic.
Doncic was named 2019’s Rookie of the Year, and this year he became a first-time All-Star. The 20-year-old Slovenian recently suffered a sprained ankle that has kept him out for seven games, but he says he’s ready to get back on the court. The Mavs’ phenomenal point guard averages a team-high 28.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game, so that’s good news for Dallas indeed. The team has been .500 in games that Doncic has missed this season. (He was out for a handful of matchups in December for ankle ailments as well.)
The Mavs are hoping, as they prep for a postseason run, that this will be the end of his injury issues. As a whole, they aren’t that deep, and they’re already lacking center Dwight Powell who’ll be out for the rest of the season. (They traded for Willie Cauley-Stein in January to make up for that loss.) Doncic plans to return this Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings, but even if he decides against it, he’ll definitely be back in action as a starter in the NBA All-Star Game this weekend. LeBron chose Doncic for his team.
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How will Michael Kidd-Gilchrist fit in?
Swimmingly (we assume).
The more negative among fans and experts say this move isn’t really the improvement the Mavs were looking for at the trade deadline. Instead, they’d been seeking a veteran player with more postseason experience, and MKG only has four playoff games on his resume. Still, the Mavs picked him up after the Hornets waived him on Saturday. Kidd-Gilchrist is a versatile defender, and according to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the 26-year-old had a great first practice with the team. Carlisle told reporters, “He’s everything that we’re trying to be about in Dallas, as a culture.”
And as we know from teams like this year’s Philadelphia Sixers, a solid locker room culture is important.
It’s not like MKG will necessarily be starting immediately, but the Mavs are hoping he’ll be able to guard at nearly every position. He could also pair well with Kristap Porzingis in the frontcourt. Even if he doesn’t add a lot of firepower on offense, Carlisle is optimistic that Kidd-Gilchrist is improving, “He’s a great competitor, a helluva defender, a great rebounder, and a guy who is working on his shooting, and his 3-point shooting is getting better every year.”
And yes, the Mavs sorely need some help on defense. They’re 26th in the league when it comes to defensive rating. While Dallas might be known for their winning offense (and their dynamite road game), when they actually get down and play tough defense, that’s when they’re at their peak. The coaches are hoping that Kidd-Gilchrist will be able to play multiple positions on the court, likely center and power forward. While MKG hasn’t played much this season and needs some conditioning, word is that he’ll be ready to play and suit up for Wednesday’s game.
After the NBA All-Star Break – where you’ll be able to watch Doncic start! – the Mavs will hit the road to take on the Orlando Magic on February 21st and the Atlanta Hawks on the 22nd before returning to the American Airlines Arena to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on the 24th and the San Antonio Spurs on the 26th. Get tickets to see them play – we’ve got options starting as low as $14 right now!