The Dallas Mavericks had a tremendous 2021-22 season. Anchored by the all-around superstar Luka Doncic and first-time head coach Jason Kidd, the Mavs finished the campaign as the 4th best team in the West. However, the team’s historic run was capped off by a devastating Western Conference loss to the eventual champions, Golden State Warriors.
Heading into the new season, Dallas is hoping to bounce back stronger, and a former Maverick may have just figured out what the team needs to win the chip.
DJ weighs in on the Mavs
DJ Mbenga was a journeyman his entire NBA career. However, he reached the Finals more than some of the most celebrated NBA stars, winning two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and making it to the 2006 NBA Finals with the Mavs. So, regardless of his role in the teams mentioned above at the time, Mbenga ultimately knows what a championship-caliber team is made of.
Speaking to Mavs.com ahead of the new season, Mbenga reckoned that the Mavericks “can make it this year coming up.” Having functioned as a center and a fan-favorite during his playing years, Mbenga emphasized the need to bring in a well-rounded big man with incredible “energy.”
“They don’t need a lot of stuff,” Mbenga said of the current Mavs. “They have to get a good big man who can bring the good energy and rebound and block shots. Especially the energy, because that’s the key.”
Build around Luka
Like some of the most notable analysts in the sport, Mbenga also stressed that Dallas should build a team around Doncic. For “Congo Cash,” the Mavs should follow the 2011 blueprint in which they stacked the team with a couple of elite players to aid Dirk Nowitzki.
“They need a few guys who can defend and protect Luka (Doncic),” Mbenga pointed out. “They have Luka with the older guys, so you want to keep that base just like Golden State has with those three guys. Now you’re building around that, just like they built with Dirk (Nowitzki) and got the team they wanted and they won the championship (in 2011).”
“That’s exactly what they need to do with Luka and those other guys,” he added. “Bring in a good big man who can defend, and the most importantly, bring in people that bring energy, so people who come in the game can come in and have an impact.”
It’s a bit too early to tell if Mbenga was right about his speculations, but we’ll see how things would play out for the Mavericks this season.