Luka Doncic has been in the league for five years now. In that time, the best player he has played next to was pre-New York Jalen Brunson, who at best was a very good role player. No matter how good Luka has been, he was never going to make it or win a Finals without another star. A recent comparison to this can be seen in Lebron's first stint in
Cleveland or even Giannis before Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. Kyrie Irving going to Dallas will finally give Luka the necessary Robin to his Batman that he has so desperately needed. However, is it the right Robin that Luka needs?
A simple answer to the question above is a quick and easy NO. Now, don't get me wrong, Kyrie and Luka are going to be must see TV. They will be a dynamic duo that will cause opposing defenses headaches as they will be impossible to guard. On paper, this
new Mavericks team will be an offensive juggernaut that will have elite scoring on all three levels. Teams will no longer be able to double Luka and Kyrie will finally have floor spacing to work with as he no longer has to deal with the shooting threat or lack there of from Ben Simmons and Nic Claxton.
Despite everything above being true, there is still one major flaw with the Kyrie trade; DEFENSE. Yes, defense is actually still a thing in the NBA. Four of the top five teams rank top five defensively, with the one being the Denver Nuggets who are still in the top half of the NBA in defensive rating. If you want more proof, just look at last year's Finals matchup. The Warriors ranked second in defensive ranking while the Celtics ranked first. So yes, defense is still an important aspect of NBA basketball. This does not spell well for the Mavericks and their new starting lineup, especially considering that the two players they gave away for Kyrie were two of their better defenders.
Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, and Christian Wood. This is most likely going to be the next starting lineup for the Mavs. Although this team will put up points, I don't see a way where they don't give up at least 120 points a game. Luka can't play defense. Kyrie can't play defense. Tim Hardaway Jr essentially can't play defense. Teams can usually get away with one bad defender and can do their best to hide him. THREE BAD DEFENDERS however, is a different story. There is no way on God's green earth that this team is going to be able to play any type of perimeter defense. Add that with the fact that Christian Wood is their rim protector and you get a team that is primed to be the 30th ranked defensive team and having final scores like the one below. No matter how good their offensive will be, they are destined for an early playoff exit unless the team they play shoots like Ben Simmons after a stressful day. This combined with the fact that Kyrie will most likely be gone after this year unless the Mavs pay him 200 million dollars, makes this a regrettable deal for the Mavericks.
On the other side of the Kyrie deal, you have the Brooklyn Nets. A year ago, the Nets had a core of KD, Harden, and Kyrie. Now all that is left is KD after trade requests and blockbuster deals. Most people after the Kyrie trade looked at the Mavs and if the deal made them contenders in the West. Almost nobody has looked at the Nets side of the things and I think they are really the ones that people should be talking about.
Now before you call me a moron, hear me out. After Steve Nash was rightfully let go the Nets promoted a new coach in Jacque Vaughn. Under Vaughn, the Nets gained a new defensive identity. After being one of the worst defensive teams under Nash, the Nets have been a top ten defense even with Kyrie in the lineup. After the Kyrie trade, the Nets new projected starting lineup will most likely be Dinwiddie, Finney-Smith, KD, Simmons (or Royce O'Neill), and Claxton. That lineup will easily be a top five defensive team in the NBA and most likely will be the best defensive team in the league.
I know what you're probably thinking, there are two sides to basketball and teams play offense too. Will the Nets be elite offensively? God no, not even close. However, the team still has arguably the greatest offensive threat in KD and have other scorers like Dinwiddie and Seth Curry off the bench. In the playoffs, the game slows down and half court offense becomes even more prominent. KD excels in these types of games and can provide a big enough offensive punch to make up for the lack of offensive threat that some of his teammates provide. I truly believe that with a couple calls/fouls going their way, I can see the Nets finding their way to the Eastern Conference Finals and can put up a fight to make it to the Finals.
With all that being said,
THE BROOKLYN NETS WON THE KYRIE TRADE