As good as Dallas has been, though, that doesn’t mean general manager Nico Harrison should stand pat at the trade deadline. There are always ways you can bolster your roster before a playoff run.
Here are the Mavs’ three biggest needs as we inch closer to February 10.
A Reliable Backup PG
The Mavs have finally made Jalen Brunson a full-time starter next to Luka Doncic, which is something we’d been calling for at DallasBasketball.com for a while. The results have been stellar, as Dallas has gone 7-1 since Doncic retuned from COVID protocols and has held its opponents to just 93.7 points per game during that stretch.
The problem with starting Brunson, though, is that it leaves a void in the Mavs’ bench unit when it comes to having a reliable playmaker. Sure, the Mavs can slightly stagger Doncic and Brunson’s minutes to get by for now, and second-year man Josh Green has shown promise with his flashy passing, but come playoff time, they’ll need consistent backup point guard play.
The obvious, and probably easiest, answer to this issue would be the Mavs ending up with Goran Dragic, whether it's via trade or an eventual buyout from the Toronto Raptors. Not only would Dragic help Dallas on the court, but he would help off the court by being a valued veteran voice in the locker room as well as continuing to be a 'big brother' mentor to Doncic.
If the Mavs believe that a Dragic buyout is likely, then it might make them less aggressive in pursuing other backup guard options like Boston Celtics' Dennis Schroder, who has been tied to Dallas in trade rumors.
A Big Man Upgrade
As well as the Mavs have played in the new year, their big man situation could still use a boost before the postseason begins. Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber have had their moments this season, but Dallas needs more stability at their positions when the playoffs come around. In a seven-game series, the Mavs can't be wondering if they're going to get the good versions of those two players or the polar opposite versions that clank open shots and can't secure rebounds.
Dallas doesn't have to fork out a lot to find upgrades at the big portions. This was made clear when the Mavs signed Marquese Chriss, who hadn't played in the NBA in nearly a year, to three 10-day hardship contracts. He provided such a breath of fresh air with his energy and overall play that the Mavs finally decided to waive Willie Cauley-Stein and sign Chriss to a two-year contract.
'Live & Die By The 3': Mavs Drop Game 3, Fall 0-3 to Warriors
The Dallas Mavericks had a poor shooting performance from beyond the arc in their Game 3 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Mavs-Warriors Game 3 Donuts: Role Players Roll Over in Deflating Loss, 109-100
The Mavs' designated sharp-shooters combined to miss all 14 3-pointers in a defeat that pushes them to the brink of elimination.
Warriors at Mavs Game 3 Live Scoring Update: Final Frustration - 0-3 Hole
Can the Mavs overcome bleak odds, again?
So far, the main two big men the Mavs have been linked to in trade rumors have been Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner and Atlanta Hawks' John Collins. Both of those players would give Dallas the production that it currently gets from both Powell and Kleber while only taking up one roster spot. Both Collins and Turner would be excellent fits with the Mavs as well, with Collins more so on the offensive end and Turner more so on the defensive end.
A trade for Collins seems to be more of a long-shot, given that he just signed a five-year, $125 million contract in the offseason, but Turner, who is reportedly sitting out for Indiana while he gets a second opinion on his sore foot, could be there for the taking after being in trade rumors for the last handful of years. The Pacers are currently 15-28 this season, and the frontcourt duo of Turner and Domantas Sabonis just hasn't worked out, so something have to give soon.
Before Brunson made his big leap this season, we briefly pondered the idea of the Mavs trading him to the New York Knicks in exchange for Mitchell Robinson and a first round pick. But Brunson's value to Dallas now exceeds a potential deal of that level.
Another name to potentially keep an eye on is Sacramento Kings' Richaun Holmes. Although there hasn't been any recent rumors connecting the Mavs to Holmes, Dallas reportedly had interest in him before last season's trade deadline, as well as in free agency last offseason before he ultimately re-signed with the Kings on a four-year, $55 million contract. Being 18-27 so far this season, as well as being on track to break the NBA's record for having the longest postseason drought, the Kings could be in for a big shakeup.
More 3-And-D Depth Never Hurts
When Tim Hardaway Jr. is hot, the Mavs seem nearly impossible to beat. But when Hardaway Jr. gets cold, his cold spells really hurt the offense. Hardaway Jr. is having a down year after signing his four-year, $72 million contract, but that might be more about his unnatural fit in head coach Jason Kidd's offense compared to Rick Carlisle's offense over the last two years.
The Mavs not move Hardaway Jr., but according to NBA reporter Marc Stein, finding a trade partner for him could be the key factor in Dallas being able to pull off a significant trade in the next three weeks. Even if an eventual trade of Hardaway Jr. results in getting one of the big men mentioned above, the Mavs should look to add another two-way wing to assume his role on the roster.
With the Portland Trail Blazer seemingly packing it in this season with Damian Lillard recently undergoing abdominal surgery, the Mavs could try to swoop in and grab Robert Covington, who has been underwhelming in his short stint in Portland and could likely use a change of scenery.
As mentioned earlier, the Kings could be considering blowing things up given how their season has gone, and former Maverick Harrison Barnes would fit the billing of a two-way player who could play at either small forward or power forward.
Barnes is a better player than he was when Dallas traded him the first time, and he'd also be a much better fit with this current Mavs roster. Perhaps there's a scenario out there where the Mavs could end up getting both Barnes and Holmes in the same deal while addressing two needs at once.
Stay tuned to DallasBasketball.com for all updates on the Mavs trade deadline situation.