Are the Dallas Mavericks the favorites to win the NBA Title after Kyrie Irving Trade?
The blockbuster trade involving the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets has landed Kyrie Irving in Big D. Does this make the Mavs the title favorites?
Every year around this time there is a ground breaking trade that shifts the tides of power in the NBA. Last year it was James Harden heading to Philly to join forces with Joel Embiid and the Sixers. This year it’s the Mavs who made an “all-in” mid season move to set up a run to the NBA Finals.
Nets and Iriving finally split
After months of speculation, controversy and conflict the Brooklyn Nets have finally offloaded Kyrie Irving. The relationship between the All-Star guard, the franchise and the city had grown strained over the course of the last couple seasons and Brooklyn finally decided to cut ties with Irving once and for all.
It seems wherever he goes the spotlight follows him, both on the court and off the court. On the court he is one of the best in the world. He is widely considered as one of the best ball handlers ever and his numbers speak for themself. He is averaging 27 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists this year, which is just about par for the course for throughout his career.
When it comes to Irving, there is a whole lot of good but also some moments when he puts his team in uncomfortable situations. He is a man of his beliefs and he does not bite his tongue if given the opportunity to express his feelings, however controversial as they may be. Everything from flat earth claims, to Covid conspiracies, to anti-semitic posts on social media make daily life with Irving a handful.
Can Mavs improve on WCF trip?
If Kyrie is on the court and not causing a stir in the media, there is no question is an a valuable asset to any team. He has made every squad he has been on better, no matter with the Cavs at the beginning of his career, the Celtics for a short time or the Nets for the last few years.
So how much better will he make the Mavs? Dallas is coming off a surprise trip to the Western Conference Finals last season, on the shoulders of Luka Doncic. Mark Cuban has constructed a young team loaded with talent that is built to stick around for quite a while. Luka is the heart and soul of the team and basically everything revolves around the Slovenian.
Irving is a point guard first and a scorer second. He has proven that throughout his career. In Cleveland he and LeBron James learned how to coexist on the same court which led to an NBA Championship is 2016. In Brooklyn he was paired up with Kevin Durant and with James Harden for a short while. The Brooklyn Big Three spent more time on the sidelines then they did together on the court but when they were on the court there was never a problem with points distribution, although they never reached their full potential.
Irving and Doncic could be deadly
The Mavs gave away quite a bit to bring in the eight time All-Star. In return for Irving, Dallas sent Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith to Brooklyn. Both have played second fiddle to Doncic in their time in Dallas, but both were instrumental in the Mavs run to the Conference Finals last year. They gave the Mavs a second and third scoring option while keeping defenses from doubling teaming the Slovenian with their sharp shooting from the perimeter. Losing them hurts, but bringing in Kyrie is almost priceless.
If the Mavs are going to be favorites, they will have to prove it against the top teams not just in the West, but in the East as well. Right now they sit at 28-26 after an up and down first half of the season. Luka Doncic has been hit with a heel injury that could keep him out for a brief time which will delay the debut of Dallas’ new Dynamic Duo. With Irving hopping on board their record is expected to go up, but how can the new look Mavs matchup with the rest of the top teams across the league?
In the West, you have the Denver Nuggets, who finally look healthy enough to make a deep run in the playoffs. They are led by Nikola Jokic, but with Jamal Murray and a secondary cast of Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. the Nuggets have been one of the most complete teams in the league. The Grizzlies sit in second in the West, and they are a very similar team to the Mavs. Led by superstar, Ja Morant, with key pieces to the puzzle in place already the Grizzlies are looking to be the new reference point in the West as they continue to mature as the seasons go by.
Denver and Boston the teams to beat
Boston is looking like the best team in the East, with a fantastic starting five and a deep bench that can play a big role later in the season. They got to the Finals last year, and this year look like the odds on favorite to get there again out of the Eastern Conference.
There are number of other teams that the Mavs are going to have to prove they are ready to contend with. In the West, the Clippers and the Suns are eyeing a run to the finals and in the East Milwaukee is hungry for another title while Joel Embiid and the Sixers are hoping to break through the barrier and get to the finals for the first time in decades.
There are a few things that are clear. First, having Kyrie on your team is always a welcomed addition. Second, the Mavs gave up a lot of their secondary scoring to bring the dynamic point guard to Dallas. Irving is going to have to show that he can coexist with Luka Doncic, while hoping some of the role guys can step up and fill the shoes of Finney-Smith and Dinwiddie. I’m not ready to crown Dallas the favorites for the title in NBA this year, but Doncic and Irving might have something to say about that come June.
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