Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Recapturing The Picture

Since the day after the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship they knew that there would be work to be done to get back to that number one spot.

The Mavericks knew that they would have to let go of key players that were essential in them making their championship run. Since that night the Mavericks have lost Tyson Chandler, J.J Barea, Caron Butler (though he didn’t play), Jason Kidd, Corey Brewer, Jason Terry, and Deshawn Stevenson.

They didn’t have too many options because of how old their team was, their financial situation, the lockout, and the impeding free agent class.

The only players that are left from that championship team are Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, and Brendan Haywood.

When you think about a championship team, the first thought that usually comes to mind is dynasty.  The polar opposite happened to the Dallas Mavericks. They went through an NFL-esque roster turnover after winning a championship.

A few of those players  left because of the money that was available to them after the championship. J.J Barea, Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler, and Deshawn Stevenson saw an increase in pay after it. Dallas just thought it was best to part ways with the others–well, outside of Kidd anyway.

Normally, you’d retain the players that just won you a championship but Mark Cuban decided to go a different route because of the lockout and the free agent class. He didn’t know what the market was going to be on those players so he didn’t want to spend an extreme amount of money on them.

Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams were available at that time. Cuban’s plan was to go after them–and he did–for his team of the future. He ended up losing Williams totally–it came down to Dallas and Brooklyn–and also allowed Dwight Howard to be traded to Los Angeles.

Now, the Mavericks have to go a different route. Instead of retooling with one or two players, they have to do that with multiple. That last sentence serves as the perfect segway into our next subject.

Out with the old, in with the young

The Mavericks let go of some of the older members of the team because of just that–age.

The Mavericks were the NBA’s oldest team last season with an average age of 30.33 years. They beat the Atlanta Hawks by almost a full year.  When you weight their age for minutes played, according to hoopisms, that average increases to 32.31 years of age.

That puts them way ahead of the competition in terms of age and its not even close. They’re ahead of Boston by a full two years on that chart.

This season the Mavericks are going with a different approach. They’ve attacked this offseason in a different way. They’ve made up for their shortcomings in Free Agency by trading and picking up players for a low dollar amount.

Instead of throwing out fat contracts left and right, Cuban was frugal this year. That’s because he still believes that there is a chance he can grab Dwight Howard or Chris Paul if they choose not to resign with their respective franchises in LA.

The moves that the Mavericks made this offseason weren’t bad by any means. They’ve become a team with more depth than usual because of the deals that Cuban was able to make. They managed to trade for Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones by giving away Ian Mahinmi to the Pacers.

They got Collison, who has shown that he can be a starting point guard in the NBA and has more left in the tank than Kidd, and Dahntay Jones for someone who was serviceable as a center but shouldn’t be anyone’s starter.

They managed pick up O.J Mayo after the Grizzlies failed to extend a qualifying offer to him this offseason making him an unrestricted free agent.

Though I’m not a believer in Mayo, I don’t think that this was a bad pick up for Dallas. They signed Mayo to a one year deal worth about 4 million dollars and a player option. If he doesn’t work out for them they can easily let him go.

They signed Elton Brand and Chris Kaman, who can be starting bigs in the NBA and have been All-Stars before, on one year deals worth about 10 million dollars in total and they drafted extremely well.

This is a team that is going to have some depth going into the season. They picked up players who are reclamation projects but they did it for cheap. They didn’t lose anything by picking them up.

They’ve got a lot of young players, e.g. Mayo and Collsion, who are going to need to be mentored by a veteran coach and some veteran players as well.

They both have potential as two young guards. Whether they meet it is another thing, but the Mavericks are in a win win situation there whatever way you want to put it.

Minute Allocation

The Dallas Mavericks minute distribution is going to be interesting this season. They’ve got so many players at  many positions–Celtics West–coming into the season.

Coach Carlisle has already come out and said that O.J Mayo will be his starting shooting guard going into camp. There are going to be position battles all over the place, but for the most part the elements of the roster are set.

There aren’t many young players on this team, though they’ve moved down to fifth oldest team in the league with an average age of 27.9–younger than the Bulls, guys. Most of these guys have NBA experience and aren’t going to have the opportunity to play for a D-League team.

Starters

Darren Collison- 32.5 Mpg

O.J Mayo- 29.3 Mpg

Shawn Marion- 30.2 Mpg

Dirk Nowitzki- 31.5 Mpg

Brendan Haywood- 27.4 Mpg

Reserves

Elton Brand- 23.4 Mpg

Chris Kaman- 26.2 Mpg

Vince Carter- 25.3 Mpg

Roddy Beaubois- 28.2 Mpg

Delonte West- 23.1 Mpg

Domonique Jones- 20.2 Mpg

Jae Crowder- 19.5 Mpg

Jared Cunningham- 17.2 Mpg

Conclusion

Though the Dallas Mavericks didn’t catch the fish full of money–though Mark Cuban has enough of that–this offseason, they did manage to put together a roster that’s going to be able to compete without spending too much money.

They’re about 2 million dollars under the salary cap this year because of how frugal Cuban was. This season isn’t going to be one that they’re looking to really compete in. They’ll probably make the playoffs as a seven or eight seed, but won’t go very far.

 

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