Mark Cuban recently joined the Ben and Skin show on 97.1 The Eagle [KEGL-FM] to talk all things Mavericks as Dallas begins its preseason prep. Here are some highlights, edited for clarity:
How will Jason Kidd unlock Kristaps Porzingis and use him differently moving forward?
Mark Cuban: “Yeah, I mean, everybody tries to make a big deal about KP this and that. This is the first year he’s coming in healthy. And I think that makes a huge difference because he was always playing catch-up. Catching up and getting in shape, right? Catching up and getting into a rhythm, and all these different things. Now, he’s coming in and playing 5-on-5 with everybody; everybody’s looking good. I’m not worried about KP at all. He’s going to be ready.”
Are there still areas where Luka Doncic can improve his game?
Cuban: “Yeah, of course, and Luka will be the first to tell you. And so, I know he’s been working on free throws and other elements of his game. He definitely can get better and he’s been working hard. ... There’s a lot of areas that we can improve. I mean, I think, of the 15 main roster guys, I think 12 of them are or have been 40% three-point shooters. And so, there’s always going to be space on the floor, and the guys who aren’t are Willie Cauley-Stein who’s going to be rim running and Boban [Marjanovic], who thinks he’s a 40% percent three-point shooter who is just Boban and plays his way. So, there’s going to be so much space on the court that it’s really going to be tough just to take the ball out of Luka’s hands. And if they do, the ball is going to move and find an open shooter.”
Why was it so important to secure Tim Hardaway Jr. in free agency?
Cuban: “Just because Timmy has got the quickest three-point shot release in the NBA. Timmy can always get that shot off when you need him to. He’s improved his game. If you look at his numbers and his attacks at the basket last year versus previous years, he was like No. 4 in the NBA in charges taken. So, he cares a lot on defense. He just made significant strides and he had a great chemistry with Luka. Those types of things. When you see somebody improving and working hard on defense, you want to bring them back.”
What is the biggest difference with the team that Mavs fans will see this season?
Cuban: “Style of play and defense. ... I think defense will be the biggest change. I think there’s a lot of room for us to improve and I think we have the personnel to do it. Bringing in Reggie Bullock and Sterling Brown will make a difference I think in J-Kidd’s schemes. There will be a lot more principles that we’ll adhere to, that guys can fall back on and know what to do in certain circumstances. I just think we’ll be a better team defensively and if we can move up the ladder in the defensive rankings five or six spots, I think that’s a huge move that could make us a top five or six team.”