May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Spurs 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Perceptions and Expectations of Mavericks

Think back to the start of the 2013-2014 season. How did you approach it?

I think I speak for most fans when I answer that with ‘pessimistic-ly’. The previous season was a disaster, with Dirk hobbled by injury all year round, O.J. Mayo running out of steam as his performances spectacularly nose-dived, and the horror of having Mike James starting at point, all culminating in a playoff-less season.

Then followed a disappointing offseason in which the Mavs failed to sign Dwight Howard, gave Jose Calderon a contract that had just about everyone immediately saying ‘candidate for stretch provision’, and then, in a very polarizing move, signed Monta Ellis to be Dirk’s main scoring sidekick. Even if you thought that those moves weren’t particularly bad, you certainly weren’t celebrating them.

Fast forward a year, and now most of us fans look back on this past season with fondness. The defense may have been bad throughout, but it was such a joy seeing the team actually have fun out on the court again. Calderon proved to be an outstanding floor general and lights-out shooter, Monta was a whirlwind of fury blowing past everyone on his way to the rim, and Dirk showed that he was far from broken down. The team got back into the playoffs, then played the eventual champions Spurs way better than any other team did, taking them to a Game 7 and creating more unforgettable memories in the process.

On top of that, the front office finally succeeded in making some big additions in the offseason, bringing in Tyson Chandler Parsons and a host of very impressive names to bolster the bench. Most fans are now really looking forward to the coming season, and even ESPN has us as the fifth-best team in the West.

However, is there a possibility that last season only felt as good as it did because the previous season had been so underwhelming? In other words, did we have such a good time simply because we had set the bar extremely low? By that same token, is it possible that our optimism for this coming season could ultimately lead to us feeling disappointed?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to seeing how this new and revamped team fares. If the team achieves its potential, getting to the second round of the playoffs shouldn’t be a problem. But given the potential pitfalls, the season might turn out to be worse than advertised.

So what do you think? Given the expectations heading into this new season, do you think the Mavs will live up to the high praise? Or will they flatter to deceive?

Check out more of my work over at The Stepback

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