Mark Cuban has every reason to be excited about his team’s future.
Searching for another superstar star since Dirk Nowitzki led them to a title all the way back in 2011, the Dallas Mavericks finally found one this time last year by trading their 2019 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks in order to move up two spots and select Luka Doncic, the presumptive Rookie of the Year. Dallas swung the fences for a second star in February, surrendering even more future draft capital in a trade with the New York Knicks for unicorn big man Kristaps Porzingis.
One problem: Porzingis missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and after purging their stable of future assets and squeezing their financial flexibility to acquire he and Doncic, the Mavericks have limited means of roster improvement going forward. If Porzingis, one of the most unique athletes in NBA history at 7-foot-3, fails to regain the fluidity that helped propel to him to early stardom in New York, Doncic will be a one-man show. Just as likely? Doncic and Porzingis never quite combining to reaching the level of play necessary to lead Dallas to a title.
But as Cuban tells it, the Mavericks will have ample time to continue building around either of their young cornerstones even if this partnership doesn’t prove as fruitful as possible. Why? Evolution in medicine prolonging the careers of young players.
“We saw Dirk [Nowitzki] play until 40 years, 21 years [in the NBA]…we’ll see more that,” Cuban told TMZ Sports. “Luka [Doncic] coming into the league today, the rookies that will get drafted this year that are 18, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to play 25 years if they have the skill with the new advanced technology.”
Indeed, players and teams prioritize health and safety to an entirely new degree in the modern NBA, and advancement in medical technology is one of the biggest reasons why. It’s not like Doncic, 20, will be that old in two-and-a-half decades, either.
If Vince Carter can play through his age-43 season, why can’t Doncic and other young players?