The Dallas Mavericks come into this season with plenty of nay-sayers. Last season marked the beards and the end of the Mavericks’ 12yr playoff streak and finishing with a 41-41 record. Last season’s struggles may lead the lack of expectations for these Mavericks. Also it seems to be that the offseason attention of the Mavericks has been centered around the “failure” of signing Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. It seems that many people are overlooking the this season’s Mavericks due to last seasons failures and struggles.
Last season the Mavericks top three guards consisted of O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, and Mike James. No disrespect to those three, but there is no doubt that Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, and Devin Harris are major upgrades. Mayo saw his best season as a pro last season, yet only averaged 15pts a game compared to Ellis’s 19. Calderon has a career assist:turnover ratio of 4:1, which will lead him to have Carlisle’s trust, something Collison was never able to gain.
The team also replaced the offensive minded center Chris Kaman for the defensive Samuel Dalembert. Dalembert should be a better fit for the Mavericks, as he brings rebounding and defense to pair along side Dirk Nowitzki.
Along with Harris, DeJuan Blair and Wayne Ellington were added to team with Vince Carter and Brandan Wright to bolster a bench that lead the league in points per game last season. A good bench got even strong.
Most importantly are people overlooking that Dirk Nowitzki missed 29 games, that the Mavericks were 12-15 prior to Nowitzki returning, and that the Mavericks finished 18-12 after the All-Star Break, which was when Nowitzki started resembling the player he really is? Many will begin to question Nowitzki’s durability, but he’s moving better and healthier now than he was at any time last season.
If we were to extend that 18-12 record over 82 games, the Mavericks would have finished with 49 wins last season. There’s no doubt this season’s roster is far more talented. Combining that talent with a healthy Nowitzki, the Mavericks finishing around the 50 win mark should not be a surprise to anyone.