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The Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving experience has been a disaster for the Dallas Mavericks thus far logo 2023-03-25 Damien Peters

The Dallas Mavericks are currently outside of the playoff picture despite having Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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The Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic experiment doesn’t seem to be working for the Dallas Mavericks.

The win-now pressure

At the NBA trade deadline, the Mavericks' front office was desperate to pair Doncic with another star to help carry the offensive burden during the grueling regular season and give them another elite scoring option come playoff time.

Doncic was reportedly pushing the front office to add star power, and team owner Mark Cuban caved, trading Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a 2029 first-round pick, and two future second-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets for Irving and Markieff Morris.

It was a move that shook the NBA to its core, and many experts around the league anticipated Dallas to take off up the standings and transform into a genuine title contender led by an unstoppable backcourt.

Struggling for wins

What they didn’t anticipate, however, was that the fit would be uncomfortable, the Mavs would lose continuity and chemistry, and also underestimate the importance of Finney-Smith – who was by far their best perimeter defender.

Since Irving landed in a Mavs uniform, the team is just 7-12 in a 19-game sample size. To make matters worse, the roster is 3-7 when Doncic and Irving play together, 0-2 when only Doncic has played by himself, 3-1 when only Irving has played, and 1-2 when neither has suited up.

Besides, when Kyrie is out there as the lone star, the Mavericks have an under .500 record in all facets since his acquisition - not ideal for a team with title hopes.

It’s now or never

The pressure on the Mavs reached breaking point last night, as they fell to the lowly Charlotte Hornets on their home floor with both Kyrie and Luka in the line-up. The results in the Western Conference didn’t help either, and astoundingly, the Mavs now find themselves 11th in the standings and outside of the playoff picture altogether.

With just eight games left in the regular season, it’s now or never. If the Mavs were to miss out on the playoffs, it would be labeled a historically bad season considering their early season success and comfort in the standings before deciding to take the ultimate gamble on pairing Luka with another star.

If the duo fails to co-exist and lift this team to the postseason, the franchise could see Kyrie walk for nothing this offseason and be left without depth and draft capital as a result of a failed experiment. 


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