Friday’s 115-112 victory over Dallas by the Bulls eliminated the Mavericks from playoff contention. Here is what you should know:
- Against the Bulls, the Mavericks were without Kyrie Irving, Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr., Maxi Kleber, and Christian Wood.
- Luka Doni was benched following the first quarter.
- Irving, who was acquired from the Nets in February, was out with a right foot injury, according to the club.
- Green (rest), Hardaway Jr. (left ankle discomfort), Kleber (rehabilitation from a right hamstring injury), and Wood (rest) are also inactive.
- Due to their defeat on Friday, the Mavericks will enter the draft lottery with the No. 10 overall decision in 2023.
The Athletic’s instantaneous evaluation:
Thus concludes the Mavericks’ season.
The Mavericks have repeatedly demonstrated in recent weeks that they are not a strong team this season. It is surely not sufficient to win a postseason series. It’s probably not even strong enough to make it out of the Play-In Tournament, let alone win one of these games.
This team acquired Irving in order to partner him with Doni and become contenders for the championship. This was not going to occur, even if the season went much worse than anticipated. The team has made it abundantly clear that they want to re-sign him, but they are aware that significant roster improvement is still necessary.
Of course, it would help if the Mavericks retained their first-round pick, which is owed to the New York Knicks but is protected in the top 10 if they lose to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Mavericks entered Friday with identical 10th-worst records, so Dallas had a larger chance of retaining the spot if they lost and concluded with a worse record than if they won. Even though there was still a minor possibility of qualifying for the Play-In Tournament, Dallas chose the pragmatic route.
How obvious was it?
During the final 24 “significant” minutes of the Mavericks’ season, they utilized a seven-man rotation that lacked centers and consisted almost exclusively of players at the end of the bench. Dallas held a 13-point advantage over Chicago at intermission, but the team had to allow Chicago the opportunity to overcome that deficit.
It was humiliating, to be sure, but the Mavericks lacked any sense of remorse. However, this season has been embarrassing; winning this game would not alter that. With a superstar as talented as Doni, their inability to qualify for the postseason, which was beyond their control, is humiliating.
Giving the Knicks the eleventh overall decision would have been humiliating. There was no possible outcome that would not have occurred; they simply chose this one. — Cato
Should Dallas attempt?
The Irving trade was viewed as a win-now decision, but the anticipated wins did not materialize. Obviously, it’s an embarrassment that Dallas has deemed its roster is so poor that the Mavericks have thrown away their slim postseason prospects for improved lottery odds. But if they sent an eleventh or twelfth-round pick to the Knicks this summer, that would be equally humiliating.
There is humiliation everywhere you look. It is understandable and reasonable to disagree with the team’s decision; I wonder what Doni thinks of it. However, it should be noted that the decision was made in a situation where there were no acceptable options.