Charles Barkley: Luka Doncic's Mavs 'Need to Make a Trade'

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Charles Barkley has seen enough.

“This Dallas team,” the “NBA on TNT” analyst said recently, “they need to make a trade desperately. The way they play, just giving the ball to Luka and just let him go one-on-one with everyone standing around. 

“That’s not going to win anything. And I love Luka, but they got to change that.”

Not just when it comes to responding to Barkley about your beloved Dallas Mavericks, but really, when it comes to Chuck and any team, some ground rules must be put down; some framework should be understood.

In this case, regarding the wildly entertaining Barkley: If you follow the NBA, you know it’s sort of an open secret that he doesn’t exactly “study game film” or “take volumes of notes.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s automatically wrong.

Certainly the Mavs ask Doncic to do too much, to be, as coach Jason Kidd said the other day, “super-human.” 

At the same time, Kidd is correct in preaching that this is not (instant) “oatmeal,” that “it’s going to take some time to cook.”

So know that there is nothing Barkley is spotting from his studio in Atlanta that the staff working at Mavs HQ does not see.

But here’s the problem with the gloss-over analysis: “They need to make a trade” is, whenever it’s uttered by a media person or a fan …

Wrong.

“Make a trade” belongs in the “Do Something!” family of analysis in that it is so vague as to not qualify as “analysis” at all. The Mavs, if they have true-contention aspirations, or, maybe more realistically, eventual true-contention aspirations, need to improve this roster. 

Shot-creators. Ball-handlers. Defenders. Rebounders.

LISTEN: Is Mavs ‘Dynamic Duo’ of Doncic & Porzingis Back to Stay?

On this episode of the Mavs Step Back Podcast, host Dalton Trigg is joined by Jay Appaji of Mavs Film Room to recap the Mavs’ comfortable win over the Spurs. How much of Doncic and Porzingis playing like superstars together consistently is on them, and how much of it is on Jason Kidd’s play style?

Studs. Stars.

All of it.

“Make a trade” doesn’t really do any of that.

Team owner Mark Cuban has said it was “time for a change” in the front office, for a different collection of voices and a different way of attacking problems. So Kidd succeeds Rick Carlisle and replacing general manager Donnie Nelson is Nico Harrison and now comes the “non-oatmeal.”

“Make a trade”? Of 7-foot-3 big man Kristaps Porzingis for an equally valuable piece? How will that make Dallas better? (Isn’t it easier to work toward KP doing what was accomplished in Friday’s win at San Antonio, in which Luka was good for 32 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists and Porzingis good for another 32 points, seven rebounds and three blocks?)

“Make a trade”? For Raptors refugee Goran Dragic? Even assuming Dallas gives up nothing in his acquisition, Dragic is not going to turn the standings on their head.

Any other bright ideas that will fulfill not only Barkley’s vision of “need” but will actually make the Mavs the equal of the Golden State Warriors?

The trade deadline is Feb 10 and the Mavericks have time to explore. … to get at least incrementally better on the path to title contention. 

But “make a trade”? No. That demand is vague and empty. … entertaining as it is it to hear Charles Barkley at least paying a little attention to the Dallas Mavs.

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