- NBA Rank: 12
Conference Rank: 9
- Dallas Mavericks
Close only counts in horsehoes, handgrenades and tactical nuclear weaponsArturo's twist on a popular saying
Last season, the San Antonio Spurs were a machine of basketball destruction that burned all in it's path on the way to the finals. The only team that could touch the reigning champion Spurs in the playoffs was the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs took a team that set a record for cumulative playoff point margin to an improbable round 1 game 7.
Sadly, "close" doesn't buy you much in the NBA, so Cuban and Carlisle have pivoted to try to recapture that old 2011 championship magic. Time doesn't really look to be on their side.
The Mavs were a team built entirely around the extraordinary offensive talents of three players: Dirk, Jose Calderon and Brandan Wright. They also got solid contributions from other veteran players.
Per minute, Wright was their best player. The problem for Dallas lays in the clash of skill sets that their best offensive players carry. Lineups like Jose, Monta, Shawn, Dirk and Brandan would be fantastic offensively, but a train wreck on defense. And there weren't really better options available. I believe that Dallas understood this, and have tried to correct it in the offseason.
|Jose Calderon ||2468.0||32||.146||7.5|
|Shawn Marion ||2409.0||36||.165||8.3|
|Vince Carter ||1973.0||37||.062||2.5|
|Samuel Dalembert ||1614.0||33||.192||6.4|
|DeJuan Blair ||1214.0||25||.146||3.7|
|Shane Larkin ||489.0||21||-.050||-.5|
|Wayne Ellington ||393.0||26||.095||.8|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
Dallas actually lost 28.7 of their 49.5 Wins produced last year. But the top four producers that left (Calderon, Marion, Carter and Dalambert) were NBA senior citizens (32, 36, 37 and 33). Another, Blair, is young and productive, but also a liability on defense, and therefore redundant for this team.
Their needs were defense and productive youth.
|Chandler Parsons ||3.0||2243.5||26||.138||6.5|
|Raymond Felton ||1.0||2021.1||31||.070||2.9|
|Tyson Chandler ||5.0||1835.3||32||.132||5.0|
|Jameer Nelson ||1.0||1219.8||33||.094||2.4|
|Al-Farouq Aminu ||3.0||998.2||24||.139||2.9|
|Doron Lamb ||2.0||866.0||23||.010||.2|
|Greg Smith ||4.5||852.8||24||.154||2.7|
|Richard Jefferson ||3.0||638.7||35||.032||.4|
|Charlie Villanueva ||4.0||533.8||31||.029||.3|
|Ivan Johnson ||4.5||507.1||31||.073||.8|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
We understand the logic of Dallas' offseason approach, but we also understand that there is a great level of risk involved.
Tyson Chandler has been an exceptional defensive and rebounding force in the NBA throughout his career. The Mavericks won the 2011 Championship on the back of those strengths. But Tyson has had injury issues before. In fact, those injuries scared this very same Mavs organization enough to let him walk after that championsip. Dallas does have a track record of keeping older players healthy and productive, so if they can work that magic on Tyson then this team will be a serious contender.
The other Chandler that they added is the one that's getting all the headlines, and he's earned them. Parsons was a productive player in Houston and should help offset some of the wing losses this team suffered (Marion and Vince). They also added Aminu, another good young wing. Parsons and Aminu are also the first significant under-30 players added to this team in a very long time (I am not counting Monta). They still have a redundancy problem, unless unless one of them moves to shooting guard.
Greg Smith is an interesting Blair replacement piece.
Everywhere else, they followed their tried and true strategy of acquiring veterans (Jameer, Felton Jefferson, Villanueva, Ivan Johnson and apparently Barea might be back as well) .
Four years on, and Dallas is finally going for the title defense. The key, as always with this squad, will be keeping father time at bay for another year.
Four years is a very long time (just ask Dwyane Wade). I like the idea of this squad on paper, but I worry that the age and general health of the key pieces of this team (Dirk, Brandan, Jameer, Felton and Tyson) make this a dicey regular season proposition in the West. This team won 49 games last year and got rewarded with an eight seed and a first round juggernaut of an opponent.
I like this team much better in a short series than in the long haul. If they can keep putting the slip on Father Time and get in the playoffs and get the right matchup, they can make some noise. Unfortunately, I think another protacted war for the eighth seed is in their future. Tyson Chandler and his minutes will be the key to this Mavs season. If he can hit 2500 or more, they will be a top four seed. If he only gets on the court for 1500, they will have an early vacation.