After a crazy championship-filled memory last June, the Mavericks are now the NBA's kings of the court. We were all witnesses of how dramatic and historic the Mavs' title run was, as it was the first true celebration of the franchise that ended up with last season's NBA championship.
Looking at the upcoming season at hand, let's look at the changes with the defending champion Mavericks and how they would fare well this season.
The team's owner, Mark Cuban, is still one of the best NBA owners in the league. Despite the dynamic changes in the NBA during the past decade, he has maintained the competitiveness of his team by taking risks and spending big on players that would best interest the team. I may not be an expert on those money-related deals on what owners do with their dollars, I can only see that this guy would spend every buck in his pocket just to make sure that his team always wins. And for this season, the acquisition of Vince Carter, Lamar Odom and Delonte West makes the Mavs contenders again.
I do not know much about Rick Carlisle but as soon as he was hired as the Mavs' head coach, I knew he would not let me down. Well, I guess the line of former Mavs head coaches before him was great that included the great Don Nelson which transformed the Mavs into playoff contenders and Avery Johnson who brought the Mavs to their best season record and brought Nowitzki to his MVP award. And with coach Carlisle, he was a great combination of these two coaches. He ran the offense in the flow of efficiency but played swarming defense on the other side of the court. This is I think where Rick stands great. It's the balance on both sides of the court which he implemented worked out for the Mavs to their first championship. He knew when to tell how things should be played and at the same time letting his guys play on their own. Offense is never a problem for the Mavs with the personnel they had but the tough defense was what surprised most people. As for this season, I think coach Rick Carlisle would be pretty loaded with the deep roster he has despite the loss of Chandler, Barea, Brewer, Stojakovic and Stevenson now that he has Odom, Carter, West, Mahinni and Roddy B to deal with. I think the coach will do a great job on distributing the rotation and allowing different lineups as his players can play multiple positions which makes his job a lot easier. And again, with the offense easy to pick up, the Mavs will look again more on defense as their calling card this season.
The core guys of Dirk, Kidd, Terry and Marion will continue to contribute right away as they are already familiar with the system. Dirk Nowtizki's post-up game continues to prosper along with his already deadly long-range shooting. J-Kidd will bring tough D, shooting, ball movement and stability on the court. Jason Terry will continue to come off the bench and score tons of points for the Mavs. Shawn Marion will continue to perform his all-around duties will playing D on the other team's best perimeter player.
And with the roster change this season, I think the Mavericks will do just fine. Vince Carter may not be as explosive as he was earlier in his career, he brings veteran leadership and some scoring and length at the 2. Lamar Odom can play the small or power forward even the point forward position, and his dependable versatility on both ends of the court will only help the Mavs. Delonte west brings ball-handling, toughness and shooting at both guard positions, backing up well the starting point in Kidd. Brendan Haywood will be the starter and I think he will be stable at that position to rebound and block shots.
Other role players like Roddy B will contribute again just as he did 2 seasons ago with his explosiveness and scoring. Dominique Jones may also some minutes at the point and Mahinni will back up Haywood the the 5. Brandan Wright could help establish the frontcourt along with the newly signed defensive-minded Sean Williams.
With the roster as deep as they have right now, the Mavs are right in contention to defend that title.
The Mavs play a balanced up-tempo and perfect half-court offense. Looking at the roster the Mavs have along with the coaching staff they have, the Mavs will look to use the best of any mismatch with their players playing in different positions. The length of the Mavs will help them on the defense while their all-around talents will promote good offense. I really like the Mavs right now because of the versatility of their players and the depth that they have. Not only that, I Mavs continue to get more length, with Odom and Carter and West in their respective positions. Nowitzki will still be the focal point on offense, but with the skills set of the other players that they have, you know everyone can shoot the ball. On D, I see more zone defenses as this benefited the Mavs last season, and the length and versatility of the team can only contribute.
This season, look at the Mavs to run more, score more and play more while instituting defense that maximizes the strength of every player on the roster.
With the powers shifting to the Eastern Conference and old age coming to the West powers, the Mavericks still have a chance of defending their championship with a deep roster that will utilize every player in this compressed season. I think the Mavs will land at the 3,4 or 5 spot in the West, realistically because the Thunder is soaring, the Clips got better, the Grizzlies are rising, the Lakers can still reign and the Spurs can still do it.
I think the key to another successful season of the Mavs starts with health. With the depth of the roster, it should be emphasized that health will largely contribute to the effect of the play of the Mavs come postseason. The vets should get less playing time and the younger players should contribute more in so that when the playoffs arrive, the Mavs are locked and loaded for action. Next would be defense, as the loss of Chandler and Stevenson may bring the Mavs a little off on defense. But with the all-around play of Odom and Marion and timely defensive improvement of Haywood, I think the Mavs can still play tough D. If Vince Carter plays decent defense along with Kidd's natural defensive skills, the Mavs can make up for the loss of their best defenders last season.
And if all fails, just ride shotgun on the shoulders of Big D's Big D, Dirk Nowizki.