Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Just tomorrow, the Mavericks' season will officially get underway. Don't worry, the Mavs Moneyball staff has plenty of opinions about how it's going to turn out this year.
Part two of the roundtable is here. Today's topics are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of the Mavs, and most of the answers were pretty consistent with one another. Check it out!
3) What's the biggest strength of the Mavericks?
Tom: I would have chosen depth, but with some injuries eliminating said depth, I would have to say coaching. While Rick Carlisle does get panned for certain decisions, such as not playing the younger players more, Carlisle's decisions has led to some Mavs' victories. Even with the loss of a few key players, I'm sure Rick will be able to cohere a starting five that can win most of the time.
Alan: Coaching. Which matters, especially when you're plugging new names into a defensive system. If the answer has to deal with specifically with the players, then I'll say that when Dirk comes back they'll have what only a few teams do: a true closer.
Josh: The front court. Between Dirk (get healthy), Brand, Kaman, Marion, Crowder, Brandan Wright and sometimes Carter, the Mavericks might have the deepest and most versatile front court in the NBA. Dallas will need to rely on Kaman and Brand to pick up the scoring slack from the departed Terry since Collison and Mayo will be too inconsistent. Brand and Kaman can offer consistent points in the paint and of course, there's Dirk. Marion and Crowder will be defensive pests and Wright is a pretty nice third center that I think a lot of teams would love to have to be their backup or hell, starting power-forward.
Tim: Though struggling with injuries right now, the team's depth is quite phenomenal. If everyone is healthy at once, the Mavericks could easily play with an eleven man rotation, using a combination of energetic young guys and savvy veterans.
Kirk: This is a guess, but I'd say the ability to push the tempo. I keep getting told that it wont happen, but I drool at the prospect of a Collison-Mayo-Crowder-Marion-Brand line up. Just run and score, run and score. Another guess might be the teams' guard/wing flexibility. Dallas has a lot of players capable of helping out, just no *star*.
Andy: Depth. The number of guys on this team who can score 10 a night is considerably higher than it was last year, and where other teams have guys like Ryan Hollins or Jerel McNeal, the Mavericks have Dahntay Jones, a more than serviceable pro.
4) What's the biggest weakness of the Mavericks?
Alan: With Dirk out I don't think there's a single player on this team that would be the first option on a playoff team. Any playoff team. We saw against the Hornets that the defensive intensity was coming around(though New Orleans was without Eric Gordon and looks like they'll challenge the Bobcats for offensive futility), and I hope they continue to develop cohesion there because points are going to be hard to come by.
Josh: Probably guard play. There's no telling how Collison and Mayo will do replacing the old stable of Terry and Jason Kidd. Despite all their limitations, you knew exactly what Terry and Kidd were going to give you night in, night out. Collison and Mayo are unpredictable quantities and that could hurt the Mavs in the opening weeks of the season.
Tim: Consistency on offense, of the lack thereof, is going to be a problem all season. Say what you will about Jason Terry, but he scored less than 10 points just 10 times last season. Mayo has already missed double digits four times in the preseason. This problem is going to effect most of the Dallas guards -- Collison is up and down, Carter has games were he gives you nothing, and we all know Beaubois is extremely hit or miss, with an emphasis on miss.
Kirk: I think its going to be on the defensive end. With Dirk out, Carlisle will probably try to play Brand and Kaman together, but each is better at protecting the rim rather than defending pick and rolls. But if he removes either of them, Dallas gets immediately smaller and exposes it self defensively in that manner. Add in the fact that O.J. Mayo is a bit of a sieve defensively (Memphis gave up 3 more points per 100 possessions with Mayo on the floor) and we could be in for a rough ride.
Andy: Scoring. This team could be dreadful offensively before Dirk comes back, and dreadful offensively in general. There's no one else on this team who is necessarily even as good a scorer as the JET and the JET is gone.
Tom: The center position. With Kaman out, the Mavs are left with Bernard "Sarge" James as the only true center. The Mavs have few other options considering the roster is already at fifteen, so it is possible that Coach Carlisle may resort to small ball or even NellieBall to win games.