When was the last time there was so much hype going into a season for the Dallas Mavericks?
Was it 2010-11 when Tyson Chandler first arrived to Dallas…or possibly the 2006-07 season after the Mavericks made their first Finals appearance just months prior.
For the fourth-straight season, Dallas will have yet another new-look team.
Since winning it all in 2011, the Mavericks have cleaned house and started each season with a majority of new faces.
O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert have all come through and nothing has really worked out.
Of course last year was a rather successful season. Along with Monta Ellis, the Mavs made the playoffs and took the champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games.
Entering 2014-15, there really hasn’t been an offseason like this for a long time.
First, Dallas shipped Calderon, Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington to New York so it could bring back the man in the middle…Chandler. Raymond Felton also came along.
Then came free agency. LeBron, Melo headlined the list for Dallas, but neither one joined Dirk Nowitzki.
Some pickups were out of the blue like Richard Jefferson and some were surprisingly good like Al-Farouq Aminu and Jameer Nelson.
Rashard Lewis was also in the mix, but failed his physical, therefore won’t be joining the Mavs this season.
Chandler was a big fish, but the bigger move had to be the signing of former Houston Rocket Chandler Parsons.
That was a hectic week to say the least. Met with Parsons because the Mavs wanted that next-level small forward after missing out on James and Melo. Then came the agreement since Parsons was a restricted free agent. Houston still could match, but the Rockets were on the verge of landing Chris Bosh.
Bosh agrees with Houston and we think the Rockets take back Parsons, but then the domino affect occurred.
James went to Cleveland, Bosh decided to stay with Miami and Houston let Parsons off its leash.
Now the Mavericks had a legitimate small forward to team up with Dirk and Ellis.
Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson, Devin Harris, Brandan Wright, Richard Jefferson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Raymond Felton, Gal Mekel, Ricky Ledo, Greg Smith, Jae Crowder, Bernard James
Projected Starting Five
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Tyson Chandler
The Mavericks have two games in October, starting the season Oct. 28 against the champion Spurs as they reveal their title banner and have a ring ceremony. After taking the Spurs to seven, when no other team could say the same, this should be a real fun match up.
San Antonio didn’t do much in the offseason, drafting UCLA’s Kyle Anderson and resigning Boris Diaw and Patty Mills, so the Mavs should have an “easier” time playing the Spurs on the road.
The biggest thing that the Mavericks had trouble with in the playoffs was guarding the inside and at times, defending. Chandler is an upgrade over Dalembert while Greg Smith will take over for DeJuan Blair.
Dallas doesn’t have to worry about Shawn Marion being an offensive liability and Parsons can keep up with Kawhi Leonard. Nelson may not be as quick as Parker, but having him over Calderon will keep the defense in check and not looking for a spark on that side of the ball.
Two days later, the Mavs will play the Utah Jazz in their home opener at American Airlines Center. With the Dallas faithful in attendance, there should be no problem handling the Jazz, but Dallas can’t take them lightly. Utah got even younger and faster and will dish out a starting lineup that should feature Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, Dante Exum and Derrick Favors.
Entering November, the Mavs will play 16 games, half at home, half on the road. They have three back-to-backs, two of which are of the road kind. Dallas also has a nice little four-game homestand from Nov. 9-15.
Some notable games will be in Portland on Nov. 6, hosting the LeBron-less Miami Heat on Nov. 9, hosting the LA Lakers and Kobe Bryant on Nov. 21, hosting Melo and the Knicks on ESPN on Nov. 26, BUT the biggest one will definitely be Nov. 22 when Dallas travels to Houston to play the Rockets in what will be Parsons return (despite playing there in the preseason), after spending his first three years with the red and white.
Total Games: 18
Road Games: 9
Playoff Teams: 8 (SAS, POR, MIA, CHA, WSH, HOU, IND, TOR)
West Teams: 9
National TV Games: 5 (SAS, POR, MIA, NYK, PHI)
Season Up To Date: 14-4
Entering December, the Mavericks should be near the top of the West, either third or fourth.
The month gets a little easier with 15 games, only six on the road, but they begin with a road back-to-back in Chicago and Milwaukee. Not a far trip, but they’ll have to take on Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and the new-look Bulls on Dec. 2 before facing Jason Kidd, Jabari Parker and the Bucks on Dec. 3.
To this point, the Mavs should be undefeated at home or at least close to it.
The home schedule is tougher than last month, but they do end 2014 with five of six at AAC. They’ll host the Spurs, Lakers and Thunder in the stretch.
Dallas will only have one national televised game and what do you know…it’s against the Knicks again, but in New York.
Dallas will also host the Warriors and have to travel to Memphis.
Total Games: 15
Road Games: 6
Playoff Teams: 7 (CHI, MEM, GSW, SAS, ATL, OKC, WSH)
West Teams: 8
National TV Games: 1 (NYK)
Season Up To Date: 25-8
Going into the new calendar year, the Mavericks are starting to look like their 2011 self, record wise, but January will be by far the toughest month for the Mavs and if they can get over the hump, this could be where Dallas’ season is defined and where they stand in the West.
This is no joke as the Mavs play 12 of their 16 games of the month away from the AAC. They begin 2015 playing six of their first seven on the road, highlighted by their Jan. 4 meeting with James, Kevin Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They also travel to LA to play the Clippers, play a home-and-home with Denver, which they seem to struggle with of recent, host Chicago on ESPN on Jan. 23, play Memphis twice and end the month with three straight on the road, including their second meeting with the Rockets, yet again in Houston on Jan. 28.
The Mavericks will also travel to Orlando on Jan. 31 for Jameer Nelson’s return, after he spent his first 10 years with the Magic.
January will be a wear-and-tear type month and fatigue could kick in near the end.
Dallas should be able to go 4-0 in home games, maybe losing once, but if the Mavericks escape the month on a decent note, they should be in great shape moving forward.
Total Games: 16
Road Games: 12
Playoff Teams: 7 (BKN, LAC, MEM, CHI, MEM, HOU, MIA)
West Teams: 9
National TV Games: 3 (MEM, CHI, MIA)
Season Up To Date: 34-15
As many road games the Mavs had in January, Dallas has close to that at home for February, which should bold well.
Dallas will play at home eight of its 12 games in the month and will have a week off like every other team when the league goes into the All-Star break.
This should provide added rest for those that won’t make the All-Star game…my gut feeling is Dirk won’t make it with all the help around him, which should be the best thing for the Mavs.
I can see Monta playing in his first ASG while Parsons should have a great shot at joining him.
Despite playing just 12 games, so many being at home, the Mavs have to play nine playoff teams from a year ago…that could give Dallas some trouble.
A few marquee match ups will be against the Warriors, Clippers and Thunder, all of which will be nationally televised.
The Mavericks will have to end the month against six straight playoff teams, four of which will be at home and four of which is against East teams.
Total Games: 12
Road Games: 4
Playoff Teams: 9 (GSW, POR, LAC, OKC, HOU, CHA, TOR, ATL, BKN)
West Teams: 8
National TV Games: 3 (GSW, LAC, OKC)
Season Up To Date: 43-18
The Mavs play 21 games from March to the end of the season. One good thing is that they only have two road back-to backs, three overall.
Less than half of their games will be on the road (10) with March being very favorable.
Dallas has three three-game road trips in the final two months, but also have a five-game homestand in the middle of March.
Some notable games will be in Portland on NBATV on March 5 then traveling to Oakland on March 6 for a meeting with the Warriors on ESPN. They also host the Cavs, Clippers and Thunder during the homestand.
The big test will come near the end of the regular season as teams fight for seeding.
The Mavs should have no trouble making the playoffs, but a top-four seed and home-court advantage…that could be in question.
Dallas plays OKC, LAC, HOU and PHX to begin the final month, all of which could be in line for a top-four seed. The Mavs also finish the regular season against Portland at home on April 15, which could determine who gets the fourth and fifth seed. It could also be a preview of what’s to come during the first round.
Total Games: 21
Road Games: 10
Playoff Teams: 12 (POR, GSW, LAC, OKC, MEM, SAS, SAS, IND, OKC, HOU, GSW, POR)
West Teams: 16
National TV Games: 6 (POR, GSW, LAL, LAC, PHX, LAL)
FINAL Record: 57-25
Honestly can say I wrote this without looking at any other records and looking back on it…a 57-25 record would be the same as the Mavericks 2011 title team when they finished with the third seed in the West.
We could very well see the same script this season.