Rather than give him the ability to perform better in lane through defense and sustain, you’re just giving him more damage. And this is what you guys do all the time - buff damage slowly and eventually one day someone realizes that tank hits like a truck and can only lose lane if they make mistakes or get camped. And then you just have an entire class of champions never meant to be major damage threats that are rushing tank items (as expected) but having the capacity to outduel bruisers and assassins.
There are several ways you could’ve buffed maokai without focusing on his damage, something that has absolutely been a problem in the past. You could’ve buffed his sustain. You could’ve reduced some of his steep mana costs. You could’ve increased the slow on his Q. You could’ve given his W longer root duration. Any of these changes make him better at different stages of the game.
If you go with late game buffs (root duration increase on w, Q slow increased) then that makes picking him and struggling through lane more worthwhile. This, you’ve increased his viability.
If you go with early game buffs, you could increase healing on his passive, reduce the static cooldown on his passive, increase base defensive stats, reduced mana costs. Any of these changes makes him perform more consistently in lane without giving him the ability to do more upfront damage. You haven’t made him overbearing, even if he can spam spells more because the upfront damage isn’t as high, so he doesn’t have the capacity to just all-in - which is a problem we always end up having in tank metas: their damage is buffed so much that instead of winning lane through attrition, they just CC you and never let you go while melting you down with upfront damage that you can’t respond to.
Stop obsessing over damage. It’s so dissatisfying to see changes like that. There are other ways to make champions useful. And even if your argument would be to make his jungle capacity more attractive, then just buff the damage on his Q against creeps. And any of the buffs I suggested still help him in the jungle, especially sustain and mana cost buffs. You guys are so narrow minded on damage that it just makes me not want to play, especially when you’re focusing damage buffs on the champions who need it the least - tanks.