The Dallas Mavericks will be in for a tough next few games with Christian Wood out due to a thumb injury. The Mavs’ marquee offseason acquisition fractured his thumb against the Atlanta Hawks on January 18, and it remains unclear until when he won’t be able to play. Thus, Luka Doncic and the Mavs, who already have had their fair share of difficulties this year, will have to figure out a way to weather the storm until their second-best player returns.
However, if their most recent loss against the Washington Wizards is any indication, then it seems like an already-challenging task threatens to be an even more daunting one to overcome. Despite Luka Doncic’s 41-point performance, the Mavs were not able to pull out the victory. And for a team looking to hold off other teams in the Western Conference playoff race, such a performance is truly unacceptable.
Nevertheless, it’s not too late for the Mavs to shake things up. After all, the Mavs pulled off a surprising trade deadline move last year when they traded away Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. Who knows just what the Mavs front office has planned, especially as they try to improve on their 25-24 record at the time of writing?
Alas, many are a plans in a man’s heart; but it is tangible action that the Mavs sorely need if they were to maximize an MVP-caliber season from Luka Doncic. Here is the dream scenario the Mavs should be shooting for with the NBA trade deadline approaching.
Mavs’ dream scenario: Acquire Jordan Clarkson, Jalen McDaniels, and PJ Washington
A few of the Mavs’ key role players have seen their performances decline from last season, namely Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith. It’s evident that the Mavs need an infusion of energy towards their ranks even as they play at the second-most glacial pace in the NBA.
So if that scenario above reads like a dream, that’s because that is, indeed, a dream outcome for the Mavs. Those three may not be the most realistic trade targets, but who cares? The Mavs need help, and those three players have the requisite skillsets that complement Luka Doncic’s game to a T.
Jordan Clarkson will provide the Mavs with the necessary shot creation and injection of energy. Clarkson has proven himself to be an incredible piece for the Utah Jazz, tallying a career-best 21.1 points and 4.3 assists per night to help fill Donovan Mitchell’s shoes to the best of his ability.
And Clarkson could help fill the shoes of yet another offseason departee in Jalen Brunson, who bolted for “greener” pastures in the New York Knicks. Brunson broke out last year after earning a larger role, as he played an instrumental part in the Mavs’ run to the Western Conference Finals. His loss has remained a sore spot for the Mavs; Spencer Dinwiddie has performed well enough, but it’s clear that the Mavs need another ball-handler to relieve Luka Doncic of his heavy offensive burden.
Moreover, with Christian Wood out, adding yet another player who can create shots for both himself and for others is a must. Jordan Clarkson fits that bill. However, the Jazz have reportedly remained unwilling to part ways with Clarkson despite his upcoming foray into free agency. This makes acquiring the 6’4 guard, perhaps for Tim Hardaway Jr., the mere stuff of dreams. But that’s what this is all about, no?
In addition to Clarkson, adding two young, 3 and D pieces in Jalen McDaniels and PJ Washington would be the cherry on top of the Mavs’ perfect trade deadline. McDaniels and Washington, both 24 year-old forwards in their fourth-year in the NBA, project to be incredible role players who can contribute to winning at a high level.
McDaniels, in particular, has a game similar to that of Dorian Finney-Smith, someone who can make 3s at a solid enough clip, crash the boards with reckless abandon, and bother elite perimeter scorers. Meanwhile, Washington is a stretch four/five hybrid with fast hands and an underrated penchant for protecting the rim, similar to the injured Maxi Kleber.
The problem is that the two are stuck with the Charlotte Hornets, a franchise that fell off drastically from their 43-win 2021-22 campaign. However, that is the double-edged sword. The Hornets’ struggles is the reason why these two may be attainable in a trade. And if so, the Mavs should be all over that opportunity.
The Mavs have most of their future draft picks too, so a trade wouldn’t be exactly difficult to pull off. The only question is just how much draft capital will they be willing to relinquish in a trade.
Jalen McDaniels and PJ Washington may not be the kind of players that can carry a team offensively (or defensively, for that matter). The Mavs will also have to pay them soon should they acquire the two, as they are headed for free agency in a few months’ time.
But the two have room to grow still, being as young as they are, so the Mavs should very well be justified if they decide to trade away picks for players that could grow alongside Luka Doncic.