Since the Mavericks became a franchise in the 1980-81 season, at least one NBA team from Texas has been to the playoffs.
Instead, neither the Mavericks nor Spurs nor Rockets were able to qualify for even the play-in tournament.
For the Spurs and Rockets, it was pretty much to be expected. They feature younger, rebuilding cores.
For the Mavericks, though, it’s a major disappointment. They advanced to the Western Conference finals last season and seemed as if they had a chance to do the same this season.
Then things fell apart after they acquired Kyrie Irving from the Nets ahead of the February trade deadline. Irving and Luka Doncic seemed like an OK fit — but the players around them couldn’t get the job done. The Mavs missed guard Spencer Dinwiddie and small forward Dorian Finney-Smith, both sent to Brooklyn in the Irving deal.
Worse, there seemed to a major lack of chemistry after the All-Star break. Everyone got along just fine, but there seemed to be a dark cloud over the franchise. It remains today.
That’s not to imply the dark cloud is Irving. The Mavs have suggested they hope to bring him back. But there was a lot of losing, a lot of pain, a lot of disappointment after the trade.
It’s hard to remember a worse feeling about Mavericks basketball than there is today.
When they traded for Irving, they held the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Now, they are going fishing, with the future of returning to respectability very much in question.