The big news in the NBA today is the blockbuster trade which sent Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks for Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected first round pick in 2029, and second-round picks in 2027 and ’29.
Mavs.com flipped the channels to watch various TV talk shows since the trade was announced, and the consensus was enlightening.
“I think Dallas got a chance to get to the Finals,” Stephen A. Smith, the host of ESPN’s First Take, said. “I think Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic together are spectacular offensively and can derail a lot of teams, no matter what they lack defensively.
“Because they’re so potent offensively, it forces opposing offenses to be more efficient, and I don’t think everybody in the West can pull that off. Outside of the Denver Nuggets, I don’t see anyone that you can definitive say is going to take out the Dallas Mavericks.”
ESPN’s analyst Kendrick Perkins hopped on SportsCenter not long after the trade was announced and said everything is “going to be OK” with the Mavs in this deal.
“We saw what Luka did with Jalen Brunson last year,” Perkins said. “Obviously, they went to the Western Conference Finals. And two, with the West being wide open, I don’t know a better backcourt that can outlast (Doncic and Irving) in the West right now.”
Over on Fox Sports 1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, co-host Skip Bayless took things a step farther by saying: “At a glance, I look at this and I say, ‘Dallas just stole Kyrie Irving! They just stole him. Kyrie Irving.’
“On any given night he will have some highlight that you and I will sit back and say, ‘There’s nobody on earth that can do that.’ “
Shannon Sharpe, the co-host on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, added that: “The objective is to win a championship. I think when (Mavs governor) Mark Cuban made this deal he’s looking at it like, ‘Ok, we did get to the Western Conference Finals with Jalen Brunson (last season). I like to think Kyrie is a better player than Jalen Brunson.’ “
Reporter Zach Lowe, on ESPN’S NBA Today, suggested that the Mavs are going to shred whatever defense they’re up against because of the exceptional skill sets Doncic and Irving brings to the table.
“This offense is going to be incredible — Luka with shooting, Kyrie with shooting,” Lowe said. “It’s all going to be incredible. They’re going to be very hard to stop.”
Lowe even pointed out that one of the Mavs’ patented plays – the pick-n-roll play – was used very often by Cleveland when LeBron James and Irving led the Cavaliers to an NBA championship in 2016.
“The whole point of it is you can’t switch, and (the Mavs) have a counter for every defense,” Lowe said. “One can screen, one can handle the ball. They can switch roles.
“If you trap, you’re dead. If you hedge, you’re dead. If you switch, you’re dead. And Kyrie can flare out for threes. I think they should lean really, really hard into that because it’s an action that’s going to be tough to guard. If you surround those two with shooting, forget the one-ball problem. They’re going to score like gangbusters. This is going to work.”
James, who now plays for the Lakers, was so dejected his team was unable to acquire Irving that he told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon: “It’s definitely disappointing. I can’t sit here and say I’m not disappointed on not being able to land such a talent, but someone that I had great chemistry with — and know I’ve got great chemistry with on the floor — that can help you win championships, in my mind, in my eyes.”
Former NBA guard Jay Williams said the Mavs should have championship aspirations dancing in their head.
“I think they have a chance to win a championship,” Williams said on First Take. “I think offensively they are uniquely different.
“I think it’s going to become how much can Luka buy into giving the ball up early, getting Kyrie involved. But they do lead the league in iso possessions per game, so it does fit stylistically with how they play.”
Colin Cowherd, host of The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FS1, said of the trade: “I think this is going to work with Luka and I think it’s going to work immediately. Here’s why. The Eastern Conference has more good defensive teams.
“Five of the top six defensive teams in the NBA are in the East. You’re talking about two of the great scorers in the NBA in the last decade — Luka and Kyrie. They’re going to score a lot, and the West is wide open.”
Doncic is currently second in the NBA in scoring at 33.4 points per game, and Irving is 11th at 27.1 points per contest. Together, they’re the highest scoring duo in the league.
“When they’re on the floor together I think it will look at times magical, dynamic,” Cowherd said. “It’ll be fun. It’ll get me to a television.
“But I like that Mark Cuban basically went out and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to swing big.’ That is a message to Luka. ‘I’m swinging big. We’re not sitting on our hands. We’re going to out-bit people, we’ll outbid the (Los Angeles) Lakers, we’ll outbid the (Los Angeles) Clippers, we’ll outbid the (Phoenix) Suns.’ That messaging I like a lot.”
On the Keyshawn, JWill and Max show on ESPN, co-host Max Kellerman said of the trade: “I get it from Dallas’ point of view, when you have a chance to get a singular talent and you already have another one.”
Before Kellerman could finish his sentence, Williams jumped in and said: “You do it.”
Kellerman added: “Oh, but how’s it going to work? You figure that out later. Go get the blue chipper when you can get it. That’s what they did. I get it from their point of view.”
Doncic leads the NBA in first-quarter scoring at 11.6 points per game, while Irving leads the league in fourth-quarter scoring at 9.5 points per contest. As a duo, they comprise one of the most potent backcourts in the history of the NBA.
“We’re talking about Luka Doncic, who, in my eyes, is LeBron James minus the athleticism,” Perkins said. “And we’re talking about a Kyrie Irving — one of the most skilled players to ever play the game of basketball. Kyrie Irving is going to play at an elite level.
“You’re putting him and Luka in the backcourt together in the Western Conference that is wide open that you can’t just point a finger at no team in the West and say, ‘That team is the favorite, clear-cut’ This duo is dangerous.”
Williams described Doncic as a “poor man’s LeBron James” who is only 23 years old.
“He is not as athletic as LeBron James, but more skilled at this stage of his game than LeBron James was,” Williams said. “So, if you’re telling me if he’s a combination of scoring ability like James Harden, but has the passing ability and leadership aspects to a degree like LeBron James. . .we’ve already seen this script before with Kyrie and LeBron. So, it’s the same exact thing.
“Kyrie plays off the ball, they’re one of the top teams in the league in isolations per game, they double-team Luka down the stretch. You can’t double-team Luka now when Kyrie’s on the floor. It works out perfectly for the Mavs, and this is a year window where you go and win the chip. You tell me a better year to win the West than this year when it’s wide open.”
Share and comment