Dynasty Dash: Mavericks vs Pelicans (Part Two)
Over the summer many changes were made to multiple NBA teams. Some teams moved players and became title contenders, others lost stars and tumbled down the power rankings, and more than a handful made moves that could serve as precedents to contending squads.
Two teams that made moves over both the 2019 trade deadline and the off-season free agency pool are the New Orleans Pelicans and the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams have young cores teeming with promising players, both are in the Southwest Division, and both have the potential to form future dynasties that can contend for titles.
We’re going to break down the two squads in terms of offense, defense, development, and their respective front offices. At the end, we will look at what needs to happen for both of these teams to ensure they can create their own basketball dynasty.
Pros: The Doncic mania may be true. Many are already calling him the new face of the league, after starting this season on a torrid pace after a sensational rookie year. Porzingis shows promise as he works his way into a more traditional big man role, aiming to average more rebounds and develop a stronger presence in the low-post. Porzingis looks a little rusty coming off an ACL tear, but it doesn’t look like it robbed him of any speed or strength in the long-term. Players like Delon Wright, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Jalen Brunson also show promise; they figure to feature prominently for a competent team with solid coaching.
Cons: While Doncic and Porzingis have superstar futures, most of their teammates seem to possess much lower ceilings. Outside of those two, there are no players on this team that look like they could possess All-Star potential, although they do project to be solid, role-bound contributors. Veteran leadership could be an issue on this team. While the coaching staff and front office are solid enough, losing Nowitzki is a huge hit to this team’s playoff experience; J.J. Barea is a good leader, but there is only so much he can realistically teach this younger core.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: Getting the number one pick in the draft was a huge turning point for this franchise, especially since AD was already on his way out after the drama that ensued last season. Picking up one of the most hyped talents of the modern era in Zion Williamson, as well as trading down for springy big man Jaxson Hayes, the Pelicans made out like thieves in the draft. Also, they nabbed a star-studded cast of young players in the Davis trade like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart. They should all be able to blossom now that they are out of expectation-loaded L.A. The veteran leadership on this team is nothing to scoff at either, with people like Derrick Favors, J.J. Reddick, Jrue Holiday, and E’Twaun Moore all capable of aiding the development of this young squad.
Cons: Without Zion, this rebuild does not work out to nearly the same level of long-term success. Many are skeptical about his rookie season already, citing that a 6’6” 19 year-old who weighs almost 300 pounds will not be able to handle the strain of 82 games. Adding to this, Zion is out for 6-8 weeks with a torn meniscus that only will cause more anxiety for the Pelicans.
Winner: New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: When you think NBA owners, one financial maverick comes to mind: Mark Cuban. Cuban is a well-respected owner who cares about the players on his team, has brought a ring to the franchise, and will launch investigations if he feels the team has been cheated (like after the 2006 Finals). Rick Carlisle has shown that he is a coaching staple of the modern NBA and an all-time head coach; the Mavericks would not be able to succeed without him. Other notable people in the organization are God Shammgod who is the player development coach (and has the coolest name – and basketball moves – in the country), as well as assistant coaches Jamahl Mosley and Darrell Armstrong who have both been a part of the organization for a long time.
Cons: Last season, an investigation was opened looking into the Mavericks front office, due to reports that it was “A corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior." Cuban was ordered to donate $10 million dollars to women’s charities after it was found that the organization was guilty of acts like these. When a front office is under fire, sometimes the team will struggle just as much. Look at the Lakers in recent years or the Knicks with Dolan at the helm. These issues may not directly transfer into the play of the team, but it is a factor to consider nonetheless.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pros: The way the offseason was handled by the Pelicans gives fans hope for the future regarding potential trade moves and doing what’s best for the team. Coach Alvin Gentry has been around the league for a long time and knows how to develop young players. Gentry’s gritty and team-oriented style of play is very good for a team’s culture, and with the core they have now, the union between coach and roster should eventually produce positive results.
Cons: The Pelicans have many new faces on the coaching staff, including Chris Finch and Jamelle McMillan, as well as coaches entering their sophomore year like Joe Boylan and Michael Ruffin. It can be tough to develop a young team with a new coaching staff. Also, with Anthony Davis, the Pelicans failed to build a solid team around him; the lack of a competitive roster caused Davis to create drama and ask to be traded to the Lakers. If NOLA wants to make Zion their franchise poster child, they need to continue to build around him and strive to create better and better teams.
Winner: Dallas Mavericks
Overall Winner: TIE (Mavs 2 - 2 Pels)
Both of these teams have bright futures, and only time will tell to see if they will develop into future dynasties. The future of the league is wide open this season - it’s anyone’s for the taking. Let me know what you think! Find me on Twitter @CameronLeft_ .