The Mavericks are hoping to continue to stay playoff relevant while Dirk is still with the team. What do we need to do to make that happen?
The Dallas Mavericks have been a playoff team nearly every year this century. A lot of that has to do with the front office making the right moves in the right seasons to keep us relevant each year.
Although only one year has resulted in a championship for the Mavs, often times just making the playoffs was considered a great season in itself. That has become even more true in the seasons since the title run. Excluding the year we missed the postseason, Dallas has been a one and done playoff contender since 2011.
That doesn’t sound like a great reputation to have, but the excuses are definitely there for Dallas to use. The most notable reason it has been an issue is due to the fact that the roster turnover from year to year has been substantial.
Each season, the Mavs take another swing at free agency and a few days later, we are picking up the missing pieces to fill out a broken roster. That is definitely going to have its side effects on a team when you have a new starting lineup, new subs, and a new set of skills to work with every year.
For that reason, it is hard to argue with the genius of Rick Carlisle who, despite all these changes each season, still manages to keep the team relevant. The Mavericks are a tough team to count out each year, but no matter what happens, players need to hit certain marks to keep the team in the conversation.
This year’s team will be no different for Dallas as we look to continue our success with new players. The presence of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut in the starting lineup is certainly promising but we will need to do a few different things to show we are ready this year.
1.) Mavs need to show they can score.
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Dallas has had noticeable issues scoring the ball ever since we made the failed Rajon Rondo trade. With injury concerns to Chandler Parsons and no other bulk scorer last season outside of Dirk, the Mavs needed every ounce of basketball Dirk Nowitzki had to keep us afloat.
This season, as if last year wasn’t enough of a struggle, the Mavs lose their two most versatile scorers from last year not named Dirk, namely Parsons and Raymond Felton. With that a done deal, we need to see offensive input from some of last year’s players, but especially the new guys.
Barnes and Curry in particular are going to have to show up this year in order to shore up the offense. Both definitely have potential to be great offensive weapons, but it is going to take some time for them to determine their role with the team.
As far as players previously on the roster that need to show up, Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams are the first names that come to mind. D-Will had an excellent season last year and showed that he still has some in the tank, just needs to stick with it. Wes needs to find his shot and keep his shot or else he will continue to be a liability on the offensive end.
2.) The defense needs to be as good as it looks.
When Dallas made a few of the moves that we did, it was clear that the defense was going to be better than it was last year. Parsons was certainly not a defensive minded player by any stretch of the imagination but he made up for it. Zaza Pachulia did what he could but was out of his league in a lot of ways as a starter.
We still have issues with D-Will and Dirk in the starting lineup, neither of which are great defensive players, but with Wes and Barnes backing up Williams and Bogut protecting the rim for Dirk, things just look a lot safer for the Mavs in general.
We will need all that we can get on that end of the court, especially if the offense experiences the growing pains we are expecting from them. The second group off the bench may have problems on both ends of the court but it is hard to predict that in the current state.
The Mavericks are already being counted out by a lot of people this coming season, ESPN included. But we have proven time and time again that we are capable of overcoming odds and putting together a team that can really make a difference on the court. Only time will tell.