Donnie Nelson: Mavs Have a 'Never Patient' 'Shark Tank'-Style Approach to Contender Status
If you haven't noticed yet, there's something extremely special brewing in Dallas sports right now, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the underwhelming Dallas Cowboys (and trust me, I say that as a frustrated self-proclaimed Cowboys fan who is seeking change). Yes, the Dallas Mavericks, and more specifically, Luka Doncic, are wreaking havoc on the league right now.
Doncic has officially entered the MVP conversation at age 20, leading the Mavs to a 14-6 record, good for fourth in the Western Conference, while averaging 30.7 points, 10.3 rebounds and 9.4 assists per game. And in his most recent performances? Well, he went to LeBron James and Anthony Davis' house and was the best player on the floor, snapping the league-leading Lakers' 10-game winning streak. Then, he went to New Orleans and dropped a 33-point, 18-rebound double-double with five assists on the Pelicans in just 28 minutes to complete a 3-0 road trip sweep.
Something like this is completely unprecedented, given Doncic's age, but as we've learned from Day 1, and as we keep learning day-by-day, everything with this guy is unprecedented. He's a generational talent that has single-handedly accelerated his team's timeline by at least two-to-three years.
We recently talked about Doncic's rise a bonafide NBA superstar with the guy that scouted him from an early age and pulled the trigger on Draft Night to land him in Dallas -- Mavericks' General Manager and President of Basketball Operations, Donnie Nelson.
"Whenever you see Luka, whether he's in a Real Madrid jersey or a Mavericks (jersey), he brings the ability to make everyone else better," said Nelson on our Mavs Step Back Podcast. "He's a special passer. At 6-8, he can put the ball down. He can shoot the long ball. He loves big moments."
"I didn't know we'd be this good, this fast," Nelson admitted, "but we'll take it."
Given that the Mavs are now approaching 'contender status' due to the speed of Doncic's development - Dallas moved to 14-6, good for fourth in the West, following a Tuesday win at New Orleans and plays host to Minnesota tonight - the next logical question we asked Nelson was if the team would try to add the next big roster piece now, or if they'd take more of a patient approach with the group of guys they currently have.
"Well, it's never 'patient,'" said Nelson of the organizational approach. "Because we want to be as good as we can be... yesterday. ... We're always working phones, looking for every angle. That's just the way that we are, and that certainly comes from Rick (Carlisle's) desire to win. And Mark (Cuban), that's just the way he conducts his life on and off the floor. The 'Shark Tank' is something we live every minute of every day. It's 'turn over every rock,' and then turn it over three more times just to make sure."
How big is the size of said 'rocks'? Could it be Blake Griffin-sized, as we've already laid out the blueprint for in recent weeks? Or maybe it's more moderately-sized rocks for players like Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovic, Miami's Goran Dragic or Memphis' Andre Iguodala?
And despite a source telling DallasBasketball.com that the Mavs aren't in any big hurry to make a trade, amid ESPN regurgitating our Iguodala report from this past summer, we believe Nelson's comments could foreshadow a Mavs trade before the deadline. This team, having won road games against the Nuggets, Rockets and Lakers, is just starting to scratch the surface of what it could be, and if Nelson and Mavs' owner Mark Cuban see an opportunity that could elevate them into competing for the Larry O'Brien trophy this season, you better believe there going to do everything within their power to get it done.
"We're cut out to bring the best possible on the planet earth right here to our backyard in Dallas," says Nelson.
That's big words coming from a big-time front-office executive who's been on a major hot-streak for a year and a half now. Now, with December 15 coming up soon (the date where recently-signed players over the summer can be traded), we just have to wait and see how hot that fire remains.