Doncic, Irving believe full season with Mavs will make encore better than debut that flopped
Long international flights and an erratic schedule with fewer games than normal for the Dallas Mavericks will be part of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving’s first preseason together.
The All-Star pairing’s hurried attempt to gel following the big trade last season, which failed when the Mavericks wilted late and missed the playoffs a year after reaching the Western Conference finals, will be preferred over that.
Last year, everything happened so quickly, Irving said. “There was so much expectation on us to win quickly and significantly. It’s Kyrie and Luka. Why do you people always lose games? As a result, we were asked several questions for which, in all honesty, we were not prepared.
Irving reasoned that because they weren’t healthy, they weren’t prepared. In the first 18 games of the first starting lineup of All-Stars in the team’s history, Doncic and Irving played together just nine times due to injury.
Irving skipped the Mavericks’ last two games of the regular season when they publicly tanked (and were subsequently fined $750,000 for it) because they didn’t believe they would qualify for the play-in round even if they won.
Dallas also managed to keep their 2019 first-round draft selection out of the Kristaps Porzingis deal with the New York Knicks. On draft night, the Mavs acquired two first-round picks.
Irving re-signed with Dallas on a $120 million, three-year deal with a player option in the final season, giving him and Doncic at least two seasons to see whether or not the duo can function as a unit.
“Last year, he arrived in the middle of the campaign. There wasn’t much time left. We immediately started playing games,” remarked Doncic. “Creating chemistry takes time, especially on the court. We have the whole preseason and training camp. It’s going to be much better.
Starting with a thigh ailment that troubled Doncic at the Basketball World Cup with Slovenia in the Philippines, camp and preseason will be challenging.
Prior to playing a practice game against Doncic’s previous EuroLeague team, Real Madrid, in Spain, the Mavs will face Minnesota twice in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “Gotta talk to Luka; he’ll probably want to play the whole game in Madrid,” remarked head coach Jason Kidd.
Doncic and Irving believe that the preseason will be better than what they experienced six months ago, regardless of how it plays out.
Irving stated, “I’m looking forward to starting from day one like we are doing now. “And the components are already there. Some of the young men here are really active.
Another difficulty late in the previous season was the roster. The Mavericks forfeited Dorian Finney-Smith, their greatest defender, and Spencer Dinwiddie, a key cog in their playoff run in 2022, to get Irving from Brooklyn.
Dallas was losing games it should have won because it just couldn’t duplicate their successful defensive strategy from its run to the Western Conference Finals.
A fresh combination of seasoned players and young talents makes up the Mavericks.
After competing against him while playing for Brooklyn, Grant Williams, a frontcourt newcomer whom Irving supported, was acquired by Boston in a trade.
The Golden State star Stephen Curry’s younger brother, Seth Curry, joined the franchise that helped launch his career seven years earlier.
Dereck Lively II of Duke and Olivier-Maxence Prosper of Marquette, both defensive-minded prospects, were acquired by the Mavericks in a trade down in the draft.
Josh Green, a 2020 first-round selection, Jaden Hardy, and Tim Hardaway Jr. could all see time in the backcourt as rotation players and a healthy Maxi Kleber should help the inside defense.
Kidd was never preoccupied with Doncic and Irving. The roster surrounding them was his main worry. It’s better, in his opinion.
They will coexist if the proper elements are present, according to Kidd. “They coexist at a high level starting on day one. When you speak about two of the top players in the world, you can be sure that they’ll perform well and put us in a winning position.
Irving claimed that at points during their debut, he and Doncic were too passive with one another. In their first home game together against Minnesota, they lost 124-121. In the closing seconds of the game, they passed back and forth three times without attempting a shot.
This time, they will have a number of extra months and games to iron out the problems.
“On the court, we’re both murderers. Everyone is aware of it, Irving said. We need to maintain a constant attitude as a club and train the young players even more than we already do while working with other players who have more league experience.