The Dallas Mavericks had a disappointing year in the 2022-2023 season, to say the least. A rough start caused GM Nico Harrison to opt for risk at the trade deadline, acquiring Kyrie Irving for a hefty package in the process. Although Irving played well individually for the Mavericks, it did not translate to team success. Following an appearance in the Western Conference Finals last year, the Mavericks failed to make the playoffs. That is certainly one way to make a generational talent like Luka Doncic think he has a better chance of winning elsewhere. Luckily, Mavs GM Nico Harrison can double down and trade for Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton in order to prove his dedication to providing Luka some help.
Deandre Ayton had a solid season with the Phoenix Suns, but truly nothing to write home about. His year comes to a close after Nikola Jokic had him on a platter all series long, so he is not the most lucrative of assets in the eyes of Phoenix management right now. This could make him available for trade this summer, and that is where the Mavs should come in. They have the duo they need at the guard position, but they would be a quality candidate to add a dominant big alongside Luka and Irving. Trading for Ayton would require a substantial amount of investment, but if the Mavs are serious about winning with Luka Doncic, they will pull the trigger.
There are three reasons in particular why the Mavs must trade for Deandre Ayton in order to help Luka Doncic. Here are those three reasons.
*Stats via ESPN
The Mavericks can’t rebound
The Mavs were dead last in rebounds per game last season. Over the 82-game-schedule, the Mavs averaged 38.0 rebounds per contest, almost two less than the second worst rebounding team in the Brooklyn Nets. This is all the while their starting point guard in Doncic averaged 8.6 rebounds per game. It is clear they need help in the rebound department, and that is exactly where Deandre Ayton could come in.
Ayton averaged 10.0 rebounds per game during the regular season, and has a career average of 10.4 rebounds over his 5 years. This would easily be the best mark on the Mavs, and would be a saving grace for Luka. Doncic plays every game knowing he needs to be a threat to grab boards, which causes him to expend energy that he could be using scoring the ball. Having Ayton to clean up the glass would be a huge sigh of relief for the Slovenian guard.
The Mavericks can’t score from the center position
The leading scorer for the Mavs out of the center position was Dwight Powell this season. Powell averaged 6.7 points per game. Simply put, the Mavs relied on their guards to put the ball in the basket, specifically Irving and Doncic after the trade for Irving. Again, this is not a formula for success or for keeping Doncic a Maverick; eventually, the star will want some help, as it is essentially impossible to win in the NBA alone. Kyrie Irving is far from the help he needs, as the Mavs don’t need perimeter scoring. Once again, this is exactly where Deandre Ayton would be key.
Along with his 10.0 rebounds, Ayton averaged 18.0 points per game. He did that as the third option, and he did it on an efficient 58.8% from the field. This is the exact type of scoring the Mavs could use from the center spot, as it would inherently free up the perimeter for Doncic and Irving. More importantly, it establishes a commitment to Luka to bring in scorers of all types, not just perimeter guys. If the Mavs are relying on Dwight Powell for the paint points next season, Luka will not be happy; he will be if the Mavs are getting their interior scoring from Deandre Ayton.
Kyrie Irving is a free agent
There is a chance that Kyrie Irving leaves this summer, as he is set to be an unrestricted free agent. If Irving leaves, he will bring with him a large bunch of the Mavs scoring from the 2022-2023 season. In order to replace him, Deandre Ayton would be the perfect target. The Mavs could build an offense structured more beneficially to Luka Doncic’s game, allowing him to man the perimeter himself.
Irving is an isolation scorer, thus needs the ball in his hands. Luka Doncic is the same style of player in regards to him needing the ball in his hands to make plays. This makes the two contradictory to each other, as one can’t be their best when the other has the ball. Replacing Irving’s scoring production with Ayton would give Luka the offense back, and would give him a star to play alongside that doesn’t need the ball. Ayton gets his buckets off opportunities made by guards, essentially a perfect player to play with Luka and be a stable force down low for the Mavs. If Kyrie Irving leaves this summer for free agency, trading for Ayton would make even more sense for the Mavs.
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