June 25, 2024

Mavericks rookie defends Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving following Grant Williams’ criticism

At least one Dallas Mavericks player is brushing off recent comments made by former teammate Grant Williams.

Mavericks' coach Jason Kidd, GM Nico Harrison begin 'new chapter' | NBA.com

Williams was traded from the Mavericks to the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 8 in a deal that brought PJ Washington to Dallas. After his Hornets debut, the veteran forward made several comments that were widely interpreted as shots at the Mavericks, as he said it was great to “play for the jersey that’s across your chest, not the one on your back.” He also raised eyebrows by explicitly noting that “everybody touched the ball.”

Mavs rookie defends Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving as teammates

Essentially, Williams seemed to be implying that the presence of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving eliminated the opportunity for anyone else to contribute on offense in Dallas. That did not really sit well with Mavericks rookie Dereck Lively II, who simply responded by asking why the team would be better off with him shooting than they would be if the ball was in the hands of one of their stars.

“Why would I want to shoot a three if I give the ball to Luka and Ky, then they’re going to knock down a step back three or a side step three?” Lively said. “Having players like that there, you just have to play basketball. Not going out there, focusing on the name on the back of your jersey, focus on the name on the front of your jersey.”

In other words, Lively thinks the team-first thing to do would be to ensure that Doncic and Irving get their touches. He is probably right about that.

One report indicated that Williams’ “yapping” was one of the reasons the Mavericks were eager to get rid of him. In their minds, his parting shot at the team was probably just more evidence that they made the right call.

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