Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Justin Becker of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.com. You can follow him on twitter @NBAandNFLInfo or on the Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page, and for more NBA basketball news and rumors visit Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – a fantasy basketball blog.
The Dallas Mavericks haven’t really been known for being successful during recent offseasons. However, they were very active during this year’s offseason and are sure they have a roster capable of contending for the title.
First, the Mavericks made the trade with the New York Knicks. Then they re-signed parts of the old guard, while also bringing in young talent. They seem to have it all figured out and are prepared to prove it by putting the pieces together next season.
The Mavericks weren’t doing this just for fun. They are serious about improving as a team and they showcased that when they spent $46 million on Chandler Parsons. However, it’s not going to be an easy task to improve when you finished with 49 wins last year in a tough western conference. They tied for second in offensive efficiency during the regular season and took the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
What they accomplished last year was as good a result as anyone expected. Keep in mind, this was a team that is aging and had missed the playoffs the previous year.
However, they seem to be set for next season, as well as seasons in the future. With the moves they made this offseason, they can’t settle for barely making the playoffs. They need to start seeing some serious results and the only way that will happen is if the older players mesh well with the younger players.
Looking at the Mavs’ roster for next season, they will have eight new faces sitting on the bench and they all have a different style of play. Their additions bring versatility to this team, if they all work well together.
Looking at two of the new players, Al-Farouq Aminu and Raymond Felton, you can see how the additions differ. Let’s face it, those two players don’t really have much in common. However, that doesn’t mean the Mavericks are just randomly picking players to add to the team. If you take a really close look at these new guys, you will see that there are some patterns to their styles of play.
One common thread seems to be athleticism. The team added three big-time athletes to their roster in Chandler Parsons, Al-Farouq Aminu and Tyson Chandler. Parsons is highly versatile in transition, Aminu is athletic on the boards and Chandler moves around the court extremely well for a 7-footer.
Even with some of the other signings, athleticism is a common theme. Raymond Felton has the ability to provide quickness at the point. That same concept can be held for Jameer Nelson. Eric Griffin could provide explosiveness off the bench, which we saw in this year’s summer league games, but will mostly spend the season in the D-League.
With a more athletic team than they had last year, which basically only consisted of Monta Ellis and Brendan Wright, the team has already improved significantly.
However, athleticism isn’t the only common thread with the new faces in Dallas. Another one that linked the class of acquisitions is basketball IQ. Dallas knew that finding players who are smart in the game can benefit them tremendously. Mark Cuban said it himself when he stated that targeting smart players was key for this offseason,
“I think one of the reasons we were able to give San Antonio such a run is that we had a high basketball IQ and we were able to make adjustments that they didn’t expect. I think if our basketball IQ was a little bit higher, then we should have beat them – we could have beat them, we would have beat them – and that’s what we were looking for this summer: guys with high basketball IQ’s, guys who can play multiple positions, guys who were unselfish and were willing to move the ball and guys who could hit an open shot.”
All in all, the Mavericks main goal this offseason was to get younger, while still maintaining a high basketball IQ.
Now that Dallas has a totally different roster, they will also bring in a revamped system.
With athletes and versatile players that have high basketball IQ’s, the Mavs should find it a lot easier to play the mismatch game. In fact, they should be able to play it like few teams can in this league. Their new roster will allow them to run, something they lacked last year.
Also, with their new roster acquisitions, the Mavericks will also be able to play quicker basketball, while keeping decisions smart on the floor. They will see their pace really increase next season than what their pace was last season.
With a quicker pace, the Mavs top player Dirk Nowitzki will become even more valuable, believe it or not. The fact that he won’t be able to keep up with his team’s pace is a good thing for him. Besides his one-legged fadeaway, Dirk has made a name for himself with his deadeye on trailing threes. He should see a lot more of these looks next season.
That’s not to mention the effect a faster pace will have on the other returning players for this team. Monta Ellis is one of the fastest players in the league and Devin Harris isn’t that far behind. Brandan Wright runs the floor well, and Jae Crowder will become more valuable with a quicker pace.
It seems like the Dallas Mavericks really hit a home run this offseason. They added the right players to fit into a new strategy and should see a positive result from it all next season.
With their new additions to the roster, this Mavericks team is a huge improvement from last year’s 49-win group. With that being said, it’s very possible that their record will improve. However, we must remember that they do play in the dominant Western Conference. Even though they had 49 wins, the Mavs only got the No. 8 seed last season.
However, I still see this team as one of the top in the West. I see them improving their record a little bit and getting over that 50-win mark. My final prediction for the Dallas Mavericks’ 2014-2015 campaign is: