Thursday, October 7, 2010

2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks

So they added Tyson Chandler and ... that's it. I just have an inkling that Mark Cuban blows this squad up '04-style sometime before the trade deadline. And it's absolutely crazy because this roster has two Hall of Famers, two additional All-Stars, and then even four other guys who could start on the majority of teams in the league. Along with the Lakers and Celtics, the Mavericks have talent oozing at least two deep from every single position. How did they get bounced in the first round last year again?

2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks

Point Guard: Jason Kidd/Rodrigue Beaubois/J.J. Barea
Shooting Guard: Caron Butler/Jason Terry/Dominique Jones
Small Forward: Shawn Marion/DeShawn Stevenson
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki/Alexis Ajinca/Brian Cardinal
Center: Brendan Haywood/Tyson Chandler/Ian Mahinmi

90% of the Mavericks every single year is how much Dirk has left to contribute. The guy's an MVP (even though it should have been Kobe's first) and one of the most deadly efficient mass jump shooters ever. But now he's 12 years into his NBA career at 32 years old with mass extra mileage from pro teenage years in Germany and all the World Championships/Olympics he's participated in over that span. The good thing shown on his career stat sheet is that the only drop-off in production has been his rebounding slightly decreasing for five straight seasons now. He's the most awkwardly talented 7-footer ever and has been remarkably healthy, missing a whopping average of a 2.7 games per season. Defense has never been his calling, so the only thing that could hurt his game with age is if he can't get his lanky frame up and down the court for extended periods of time. His jumper will always be there and he'll always be able to get it off. And while it may seem like a great thing that he has so much firepower around him to help nowadays, it's been increasingly clear that no matter who's around him, the fate of the Mavericks is always defined by Dirk. It was Dirk who missed all five of his overtime shots in the deciding game against the Suns in 2005. It was Dirk who was singled out for losing his confidence after Dwyane Wade began his 2006 Finals onslaught to come back after a 2-0 Mavericks lead. It was Dirk who couldn't averaged under 20 points on 38% shooting against the Warriors in the first round loss of his 2007 MVP season. So ... if he doesn't have an interstellar campaign, the Mavs find a way to lose. It's that simple.

Jason Kidd is still sick. He may never take a shot besides spot-up 3s anymore, but the guy averaged 9.1 assists with a 3.71 assist-to-turnover ratio. He runs the team perfectly. Jason Terry is in the upper echelon of the sickest scorers ever to be constantly withheld on the bench, averaging 19.6 just two years ago, even though he's regularly timid in crunch time. Caron Butler and Shawn Marion are two swiss-army wings who can each slide in wherever necessary. Look for them to be much more efficient and comfortable with a year of continuity under their belt (unless everyone gets traded like I previously mentioned). In all honesty, they should never leave a possession without a made bucket between Kidd's passing, Dirk's shooting, Terry and Caron's general bucket-making ability, and Marion hustle.

At the center position, Haywood and Chandler make a very intriguing combo. Both are high profile shot blockers, but Haywood's more proficient at creating his own occasional offensive opportunities while Chandler's specialty is finishing lobs and outreaching his competition for every rebound. Health has been a plaguing issue recently for both guys, but together they should be 48 minutes worth of quality center play. That's something Erick Dampier definitely didn't give them.

So why do I think they actually do worse in the regular season this year and repeat their first round blunder? Because the Mavericks are prime time underachievers. Since 2001, they've lost in the Semis, Semis, West Finals, first round, Semis, NBA Finals, first round, first round, Semis, and first round. All of those seasons they won at least 50 games, six of those at least 55, and three at a clip of 60 or more culminating in the monstrous 67-15 season where they had the best record in the league. In my little glass ball, I see a lot of injuries in their short term future and a general sense of malcontentedness. Marion's been a baby his entire career and he's not gonna enjoy losing minutes in favor of Butler when certain line-up adjustments are going to be made. Rodrigue Beaubois is as intriguing a young point guard prospect as their is the NBA, but Rick Carlisle inexplicably gave the kid no minutes once the playoffs came around until the elimination game, which he responded to by putting up 16/5/1 in 21 minutes. Carlisle can't make that mistake again. But in that same sentence, how do you still keep Jason Terry's minutes high enough to take advantage of his offensive production when you also gotta keep your resident Hall-of-Famer Jason Kidd (who chose to finish out his career in Dallas instead of signing elsewhere) happy running the squad? I don't know. This team literally has too much talent. But, unlike the players that make up the exceedingly deep Lakers and Celtics squad, this isn't the personnel who's going to be content with compromising roles. That's why I have them on the brink of a highly entertaining implosion and first round exit. Sorry, Dirk. Should've made Dwyane Wade or Joe Johnson go with you to Chicago.

Regular Season: 51-31
Playoffs: Eliminated in first round

... and Free Enes.


  1. That makes no sense, Steven. Is Jason Terry really second to Butler?

  2. good point. terry's been a sixth man for so long now i wouldve never thought theyd stick him back in the starting line-up.

  3. this has never happened before and i'm certainly no psychic, but bear with me: i'm gonna go out on a limb and say the mavs do well and get into the playoffs, then simply fall apart beyond all comprehension.

  4. jake, i think jon's out to steal your future History degree ...

    there's no reason the mavericks shouldn't have won like 2 titles in those 5 years between the lakers championships. besides that they suck.


so what did ya think about whatever the heck i wrote?