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Harrison plans to update roster – but maybe not with All-Stars

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Moving the Dallas Mavericks to the next level in the NBA landscape is a little more scientific than just piling a few extra All-Star players on the side. point guard Luka Doncic and rolls them down the pitch.

So said Nico Harrison, Mavs general manager and president of basketball operations.

“I don’t think it’s just about having All-Stars,” Harrison said during Friday’s exit interviews. “There are tons of teams – and I’m not even going to waste my time naming names – that have a bunch of All-Stars and they were sitting at home watching us play (in the finals of the Western Conference).

“You have to keep improving the roster, but I don’t think it’s just about getting a group of All-Stars. I think it’s about having people fit together – starting with Luka – and people who can fit around him I think that’s more important than getting All-Stars.

After watching Golden State make its way with the Mavs on the boards in a series of conference finals the Warriors won, 4-1, Harrison noted that it was pretty obvious where the holes in the attack were. Dallas.

“If you look at the series (against the Warriors), we lost two games on the boards, and I think that’s significant,” Harrison said. “We need to find someone who can help us on the rebounds, be a rim protector. I think we have to understand that, of course.

Harrison also said that re-signing future free agent Jalen Brunson is the franchise’s top priority, the Mavs also need to improve their roster on the perimeter in addition to helping on the inside.

“You always want to add depth,” Harrison said. “Obviously the inside part, it’s no secret. We got beat up on the boards.

Jalen“But at the same time, our best formation was small. But when you play every other day (in the playoffs), at some point you burn out.

If the Mavs can’t execute a trade or get the players they want through free agency, maybe they can find what they want in the June 23 NBA draft when they pick No. 26. in the first round.

“There are definitely kickers (backs) in the draft,” Harrison said. “But I think when you look at our position where we are, we don’t control who we draft because there are 25 people ahead of us.

“We will have done our homework, but we don’t have control. Maybe that kicker (fullback) goes to 24. When you’re 26, I don’t think you control your own destiny.

It will be the first time Harrison has selected players in the draft since the Mavs had no draft picks when he was hired last summer. But he hasn’t let the 2021 draft come and go without at least acknowledging it.

“We prepared again last year for the draft, but it felt like a mock draft,” Harrison said. “Now it’s real, so it’s not like a simulation. It’s like Top Gun is coming out.

“You are not in the flight simulation. You’re actually flying the plane, so it’s real. That’s really the difference, I think. You know what you’ve got, you know the players that might be in this area, so now you’re tuning into it.

During his nearly two decades as an executive at Nike, Harrison was so committed to his job that he worked with some of the NBA’s greats, including Michael Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd and Tim Duncan. Those relationships, along with his close relationship with agents and other current players, could perhaps give Harrison an edge when free agency rolls in starting June 30.

“I think we’ll be able to have conversations with people that we want to have with for sure,” Harrison said. “But in this league you can be friends with whoever you want, but will they come to us for the money we have for them? I don’t think so. I don’t see that happening.

“But at the same time, when there’s a player we want – and we have the money to pay for him – we’re going to get a seat at the table, for sure.”

Giving the Mavs the brass of owner Mark Cuban, coach Jason Kidd, assistant general manager Michael Finley and Harrison some commentary when it comes to roster additions and subtractions will be none other than Doncic. Harrison wouldn’t have it any other way.Lucas

“I think you’re crazy trying to build a roster and not include your best player,” Harrison said. ” That does not make sense. I think from a leadership perspective, you want your best player, you want your coach, you want their input involved, you want them involved in the decisions. It is important.

“(Socic will) know everything we do. We will have his opinion. We’re going to talk a lot, first of all, and we’ll keep him involved. He will give us his opinion on things and we will give him our opinion, but he is going to be involved in the process, for sure.

Due to Doncic’s stature as one of the top five players in the world, Harrison said the four-year veteran has earned the right to have a seat at the table when the Mavs make roster decisions. that would affect the future of the franchise.

“We’re going to have a million things on the boards and we’re going to be throwing ideas back and forth,” Harrison said. “Because the thing is you look at Luka, as great as he is, he has a different point of view than I might have or maybe Fin or maybe even J-Kidd. So we want to accept that.

“We might have a different point of view than he has, and we want him to understand that as well. I think it’s a two-way street.

The first year under Harrison was a resounding success, with the Mavs finishing fourth in the Western Conference with a 52-30 record and having home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2011. The Mavs are also out of the first round. the playoffs for the first time since 2011 by beating the Utah Jazz in six games.

And in the Western Conference semifinals, the Mavs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to Phoenix and upset the heavily favored Suns in seven games. The Mavs surprisingly won Game 7 in Phoenix — Dallas led that contest at one point by a remarkable 46 points — against a Suns team that finished the regular season eight games better than any team in the entire NBA. .

spencerAdditionally, Harrison’s big acquisitions this season included signing free agent forward Reggie Bullock last summer and completing a blockbuster midseason trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis and a pick of second round at the Washington Wizards for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.

Between that, and the injuries and cases of COVID-19 that got the Mavs off to a poor 16-18 start this season, Harrison said, “I don’t know if I would call it fun. It’s hard. It’s hard. It’s rewarding, but it’s a challenge. It’s really difficult.

“But then again, I’m the kind of person I’m going to have fun with no matter what. At the end of the day, I have fun and have fun. But when you go through that, it’s intense and it’s a lot.

Was Harrison’s first year at the helm of an NBA franchise what he thought it would be?

“No, it wasn’t, and I’m not saying that good or bad, because I really had no expectations,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect.

“The first year it wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I’m enjoying it. And now I know.

And the same goes for the other 29 NBA teams, as the perception of the Mavs seemingly changed overnight. Teams that advance to the NBA version of the Final Four — as was the case with the Mavs this season — are described as elite.

“Twenty-six teams watched us play last week,” Harrison said. “I think if you look at next year, no, we’re not going to sneak up on anybody.

“They’re going to see us coming, and that’s a good thing. And they should see us coming. This is the position you should want to be in.

And the Mavs were in that position this season. With Doncic as the only All-Star.

Twitter: @DwainPrice