Dallas Mavericks Roster: Experience is King


The Dallas Mavericks are the oldest team in the NBA, with an average age of 29.4 years old. With the new addition of forward, Amare Stoudemire (32) and the off-season pick ups of Richard Jefferson (34), Raymond Felton (30) and Charlie Villanueva (30), it’s clear that the Mavericks don’t discriminate against age.

Not to mention the crew they already had heading into the 2014-2015 season, with Dirk Nowitzki (36), Devin Harris (31), and the reacquired Tyson Chandler (32), the Dallas Mavericks are a team that has the edge in one department for sure heading into the home stretch of the NBA season: experience.

Defensively, Dallas is in the bottom half of the league in points allowed, with just over 100 points given up per game. Dallas also has trouble rebounding the basketball, as they have only have one player (Tyson Chandler) that averages over 10 rebounds per game.Every NBA team has their certain strengths and weaknesses, but the Mavericks have no problem in the experience area of the game.

Grantland.com and ESPN‘s Bill Simmons once said and continues to reiterate that NBA experience is the most underrated thing in professional basketball, and I tend to agree. NBA experience is something that many teams don’t take much stock in, as its all about getting the fast, young guns that can run a certain speed and jump a certain height. The Mavericks seem to take stock in being about to play basketball effectively.

Charlie Villanueva‘s career hasn’t been glamorous whatsoever, but since joining the Dallas Mavericks, we’ve seen shades of the 2008 Charlie, who was averaged 16 points per game for the Bucks.

Feb 20, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Charlie Villanueva (3) reacts after scoring during the game against the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Center. Dallas won 111-100. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Several times this season Villanueva has stepped for the Mavericks in a big way. Whether it’s to give Dirk some much needed minutes off or play along side him, Charlie has given the Mavericks a much needed break off the bench, especially after losing F Brandan Wright to Boston earlier this season in return for Rajon Rondo. Granted, Charlie’s statistics are far from spectacular, but he serves a much needed purpose for the Mavericks.

Unlike Villanueva, Richard Jefferson‘s career has been full of wonderful statistics, but he’s been chasing something his entire career. A championship. Jefferson has been around, playing for five NBA teams in his 13 year run. At one point in time, Jefferson was one of the Nets’ franchise players alongside Vince Carter and Jason Kidd.

Feb 22, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Richard Jefferson (24) drives to the basket past Charlotte Hornets forward Cody Zeller (40) during the first quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Now, Jefferson comes off the bench for Dallas, and fills (like Villanueva) a very important role. Like Villanueva, Jefferson’s stats aren’t the best, but he’s had some break-out games for the Mavericks and has given Dallas some wing help all season long with his ability to score in bursts and his length on the defensive end of the floor. Another veteran who has come to be an important factor for the Mavericks this season.

I can go on and on about the bench players that are key to the Mavericks playoff run, but the most important 30-year old on the Mavericks this season is the man that has carried this franchise for almost two decades: Dirk Nowitzki.

Since the arrival of Monta Ellis and Chandler Parson, the German Superman has taken a backseat to them and has relied on them at times this season. In his last five games, Nowitzki’s numbers have been poor as he’s averaging 10 points per game and shooting an awful 40% percent from the field. Nowitzki has relied on his shooting, as he’s averaging the lowest total free throw attempts since his injury filled season in 2012-2013.

Dirk Nowitzki hasn’t been the guy we’ve been used to seeing, as he’s been able to lean on the help of Ellis and Parsons, but it’s essential that he channels some of his old self for this stretch run to the 2015 NBA playoffs. There has been some rumblings about Nowitzki’s overall health, as he played limited minutes against Charlotte, Sunday night.

Do I think Nowitzki will pick his game up as we grow closer to the NBA playoffs? Absolutely. That’s the Dirk we’ve seen in the past. When the lights are on brightest, Nowitzki always rises to the occasion, as Dallas will need their Big German more than ever, especially with the wild Western Conference being as competitive as ever before.

Obviously, the Mavericks have the superior advantage when it comes to age and experience in the playoffs and down the stretch of this Western Conference fight for seeding; but with that age comes its downfalls. Head coach Rick Carlisle and his staff, as they’ve done all season so far, will have to manage the minutes of everyone on the team. With the age, comes the obvious trouble of having to deal with teams like the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference, who can run up and down the floor and look to exploit the fast break with Curry and Thompson constantly looking for that trailing three.

Feb 7, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) and center Tyson Chandler (6) check the replay during the second half of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Trail Blazers 111-101 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Experience and age are a double edged sword that the Mavericks have won with in the past. In their title year in 2011, Nowitzki and company were one of the oldest teams in the league and their depth chart was filled with older, more experienced guys that have, in one way or another, experienced playoff heart break. That team pulled together and won a title, even after being doubted in every series against the Blazers, Lakers, Thunder and Heat.

I’m not saying that 2015 Mavericks squad will overcome all odds and go through the entire Western Conference. But I am saying that they have a solid, dark-horse chance at it and with the help of their experience and being a group of guys who are looking for a ring; whether it’s Amare looking for his first, Rondo looking to reclaim his Celtic glory days or Dirk looking to add to his already tremendous legacy, I believe that this Mavericks team will benefit the most from the savvy veterans that are leading this team.

(Thanks for reading my contribution to the site, everyone! Just wanted to thank The Smoking Cuban and every at FanSided for the opportunity to write for this incredible site. Hopefully you enjoyed this opinion piece and hopefully I can give you more of it.)

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