Despite losing out on prize free agent DeAndre Jordan in controversial fashion, Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks managed to put together an underrated offseason. While many basketball pundits and experts have pegged the Mavs to fall out of the playoff race in 2015-2016 due to an aging and fragile roster, this team undoubtedly has the talent to surprise the association.
Even at 37 years of age, the Dallas Mavericks will only go as far as Dirk Nowitzki will take them. Though the future Hall of Famer finished with a true shooting percentage of just 56% (the lowest mark since his rookie campaign), the offense still moved fluidly through him. However, the German was still a weak point on defense and the Mavs’ now lack a rim protector with Tyson Chandler in a Suns’ uniform. The thing to watch with Dirk early on will be how head coach Rick Carlisle handles his minutes after stating that he intends to limit the big man to around 26 minutes on a nightly basis.
When the Mavericks aren’t dealing with age related issues (9 players on the roster are 29 years or older), they’re with health related issues. Key players such as Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons are entering the season coming off of serious health lacerations. With 18 games schedule and 4 sets of back-to-back games through October/November, the Mavs are going to need health on their side or they dangerously risk falling behind in the Western Conference playoff race. The good news for the Mavs is that they have substantial depth at multiple positions with sparks like Barea, Pachulia, Harris, Villanueva and Anderson coming off of the bench.
It will be very interesting to see how Deron Williams fares in his hometown basketball team’s uniform and if Wesley Matthews bounces back effectively from his Achilles tear. Having made their debuts together in the preseason, barring your normal rust, Mavs’ fans have reason to be excited. For Deron Williams, if he can reclaim a shell of his form of earlier days, it will be an upgrade over Rondo. Shooting doesn’t go away and Matthews is proving that to the basketball world. For Wes, it’s all about getting back into shape and finding his place in the offense over the course of this first month.
The obvious key match-up will come against fellow western conference rival, Los Angeles Clippers. The first of four meetings will come early on October 29th at the Staples Center in southern California. DeAndre will look to defend his rediscovered found love for the only NBA team he’s ever played for. The two teams will meet again on November 11th, this time in Dallas, where Jordan will likely draw a hostile reception from the likes of fans and Mark Cuban. Beside the emotions, the two teams both boast high-powered offenses that should make for an electrifying competition. They won’t meet again until March, hence it would be wise to tune in.
Courtesy of Rant Sports