The inevitable ups-and-downs of a regular season got the best of the Dallas Mavericks in 2022-23. They showcased a big-time collapse, one that made them a laughing stock for the time being.

Peep how a Mavs fan reacted while they were at the middle of the nosedive:

At their best, the Mavericks were the fourth seed in the Western Conference and also one of the best defensive teams in the league. By season’s end, they were way out of those spots as they have plummeted to the bottom. They didn’t even qualify for the play-ins.

First 57 games (Oct 19 – Feb 10)

Record: 31-26

Points allowed / ranking: 111.9, 8th

Defensive rating / ranking: 114.9, 9th

Final 25 games (Feb 11 – April 9)

Record: 7-18

Points allowed / ranking:  119.4, 23rd

Defensive rating / ranking: 119.0, 28th

That’s that stereotypical painful, frustrating, and disappointing meltdown. What makes it worse is the turn started when they thought they were making a great situation awesome.

As you know, they swung for the fences and traded for All-Star scorer, but rather unpredictable Kyrie Irving in early February. While the price isn’t that steep at first glance, recent results say that it might be because it messed with their chemistry. Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie were valuable guys in the rotation, and both worked well with team star Luka Doncic. Those draft picks could be huge too.

The jury is still out, and we could all very well be proven wrong next season, but adjustments are indeed needed in many areas.

Irving and the Mavs are also stuck with each other as the former had little interest in the market, so they just re-upped their partnership – not that the point guard is at fault for the collapse. The fit with Doncic is a bit questionable, though, given that both are not gangbusters on defense, and it’s a need.

Thankfully, the front office went to work and got busy. They acknowledged the needs and did their best in the draft and free agency to plug those holes. The off-season is still long, so they may not be done.

Outside of Seth Curry, all are defense-first players that should be able to bring the needed help. 

The Portland Trail Blazers have since matched the offer sheet to Matisse Thybulle, which is a bummer since it would’ve been good and he was reportedly excited to go to Dallas.

Nevertheless, Dereck Lively II and Oliver-Maxence Prosper are both defensive stalwarts in college, with the former being a bruising presence in the paint and the latter playing that big-bodied, tenacious defender who can play forward positions. It’s intriguing to anticipate their roles and how good they are as the typically draft-weary Mavericks traded up to get them.

Richaun Holmes, meanwhile, put up 12.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in his three years as a starter for the Sacramento Kings from 2019 to 2022.

Finally, there’s Grant Williams, who was acquired via three-team sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs. 

Williams is another big-bodied tweener forward who can throw his weight around and knock down threes. He did plenty of hustle and dirty work in Beantown in his four seasons there, and he’ll now come home to his hometown looking to continue what he does best.

The 2023-24 season cannot come any sooner for the Mavs and its fans. The team did what they have to do to position themselves for a better campaign, and will now have to execute it well. We’ll see how it goes.