Last season was interesting to say the least for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. On the brink of a title team, they made the infamous trade for Rajon Rondo and everything went downhill from there. Everyone saw the name and the roster of the Mavericks and thought of partying with Bill Russell in June. Unfortunately as we all found out, the style of play didn’t work, especially with head coach Rick Carlisle and guard Rajon Rondo. It is almost seen as a wasted season. This was followed with one of the most interesting offseason stories in recent memory, DeAndre Jordan saga. (http://www.hoopscritic.com/episode-57-will-reeve-drops-in-deandre-jordan-drops-out/)
Additions: Wes Matthews, Deron Williams, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee
Subtractions: Rajon Rondo, Tyson Chandler, Monta Ellis, Al-Farouq Aminu
This year we are in with the new! Wes Matthews and Deron Williams are here to save the day! Sorry I got a little over excited there. Can’t forget about Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee are here to chip in too. On paper, it almost feels like it is a toss up with losing Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis. However, now I am leaning towards Wes and Deron, more on them later. Zaza Pachulia will be a nice bench piece, especially on the defensive end. We still have to wait to see who can make up for the loss of Tyson Chandler, although he didn’t have a great season last year. Let’s look at our key players.
Will he have a bounce back season or will he revert to Deron Williams of the Nets? Last season Deron put up pedestrian scoring numbers for a point guard with 13 per game, his lowest since his rookie season. It was also the first time since his first half a season with the Nets that his ORtg was below his DRtg. Williams is at his best when he is scoring and that is exactly what the Mavericks will need. The pick and roll will with Dirk Nowitzki will be something pleasurable to watch. The Mavericks offense will depend on Deron’s ability to grasp and tackle Rick Carlisle system.
Last year Chandler was able to conserve his energy playing less minutes than the previous few seasons however his PER 36 numbers increased. Parsons has to guard some of the best players in the league at his position so he will need to improve on the defensive end. Not sure he will, I feel after four seasons we know what he is as a defender. Playing with a pure point guard last season saw his assists drop but with a scoring first point guard, the ball movement will be shared. Chandler is entering his prime as a player.
Raymond Felton/Devin Harris
These two got lumped in because they will both be spelling Deron and in some cases, Wes. These guys will see very small playing time with two guys expecting 30+ minutes in front of them. They will need to prove to Rick Carlisle in practice and the opportunities they get. Devin is very familiar with the system and will be the sixth man for this roster. These two will be the catalyst for the Mavericks bench which will see some fun lineups with Rick running the show. I expect to see a three point guard line up at some point this year.
Most exciting player to watch: Wesley Matthews
Wesley Matthews turned something on last year but not on the offensive end. His defense improved drastically with his steals increasing and his best DTrg of his career. His scoring was still on par with his ability at 17 points per game. If he can carry over his defensive improvements in Dallas and recover well from his injury, they will have landed on something special. The road to recovery won’t be easy and Wesley has a lot of prove. I will be looking to see how Wesley bounces back playing with a new team.
The lack of serviceable big men and the aging of Dirk is a big concern. Many feel this roster will fall out of the playoffs for the second time since 2000-2001 season. It is hard to argue with those doubting this team, however a team coached by Rick Carlisle and the talent on this roster is hard to count out. The experience of this roster should be enough to lean towards them but I can not. The way the Western Conference has played out this offseason has me leaving Dallas out of the playoffs. A lot of turnover of the roster, a lot of guards and an aging star are hard to bet on.
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