What they learned was despite a 32-23 record at the NBA trade deadline, the Mavericks were a .500 team with Kristaps Porzingis on the floor. A third straight first-round exit was likely inevitable if Dallas stayed conservative during trade season.
Out went Porzingis and in came two veteran role players, Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans. The trade not only gave the Mavericks additional depth, but by breaking up Porzingis' contract into two players, future financial flexibility.
The Mavericks finished the season with a 20-7 record, second to only the Boston Celtics. Per ESPN Stats & Information research, Dallas went an NBA-best 11-2 in clutch-time performances with a point differential of plus-43.