The Dallas Mavericks walked out of the NBA trade deadline as massive winners after they acquired P.J. Washington from the Charlotte Hornets and Daniel Gafford from the Washington Wizards. The new duo combined for 33 points and 14 rebounds off the bench in their debut, which was a 35-point win over the table-topping OKC Thunder.
The moves were made with Doncic’s input, similar to the Kyrie Irving acquisition last winter. Luka was honest about his input in the process of team-building, realizing how important his voice can be.
“You can see how important it is. You can see the impact [Daniel Gafford and P.J. Washington] have, so I think it’s really important.”
Doncic also complimented the caliber of players both stars are after they effortlessly blended into the Mavericks scheme to help the team beat the contending Thunder in their franchise debut.
“It’s tough to come to a new team and get all the plays and all the defensive schemes — just play basketball. We were able to do some stuff today, so step-by-step, they’ll get it. It’s going to be way easier for us.”
The Mavericks are on a four-game win streak and could enter the All-Star weekend on a six-game streak. Their next two games are against the Wizards and Spurs. They’re still the No. 8 seed in the West with a record of 30-23.
Doncic is averaging 34.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 9.4 assists this season. With Joel Embiid’s injury, Doncic is a clear frontrunner to win his first scoring title while potentially entering MVP talks if the Mavericks record can improve.
Should Luka Doncic Be Involved In Roster Decisions?
Reports suggest that Doncic was one of the main voices pushing for the PJ Washington acquisition, with Adrian Wojnarowski saying Doncic was extremely excited to play alongside him. In addition, Doncic’s response to the Gafford acquisition led to him saying he’s wanted a center like Gaff on the roster for the last three years.
Doncic is starting to share his input with the franchise now. He had infamously said in 2021 that he lets the front office do what they do while he focuses on the court. But the loss of Jalen Brunson in the summer of 2022 led to Doncic taking a more active role in team building, also pushing for the Kyrie Irving acquisition last season.
The Mavericks have made many missteps in their team-building around Luka. Kristaps Porzingis was a bad fit who later admitted to actively not trying to win games with the Mavericks in the 2021 playoffs. Last season saw them lose Jalen Brunson for nothing, with their attempt at replacing that production with Christain Wood.
Doncic was against the Mavericks tanking the last few games of the season last year, but he understands the benefit of having gotten Dereck Lively II in the draft because of that decision.
Luka runs the Mavs’ offense with almost everything going through him. If he doesn’t feel comfortable with the teammates that he has, he won’t even find success on the court. He’s seen the Mavs trade many of his friends and allies in recent seasons such as Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Boban Marjanovic.
The additions of Gaff and PJ make this the best roster Luka has had in his tenure with the Mavs. He’s played a role in creating the nucleus of this squad and has to deliver at the highest level to prove his decision was a smart one.
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