Some very interesting things are bound to happen (or really, have already begun to happen) in this 2012-13 rendition of the epic novel, "The Dallas Mavericks & the National Basketball Association". Two questions and twelve answers wrap up the pre-season roundtable, but look for one at mid-season!
(editor's note: all of these answers were written prior to the NBA season, so if they seem just a little bit out of date, that's why. don't hate, they're all very good.)
7) Give one word that you think will describe this season and explain why.
Tim: Self-discovery. Nobody really knows what this team can do, and neither does the team itself. As much as we guess and speculate, there's too many moving parts. This season, we will learn the identity of this team, who rises to the challenge, and how good this team is. It's going to be a process over the course of the season, though.
Kirk: Fortitude. The team and the fans are going to need it if we are going to make it through with some level of sanity. The fact is we've been privy to 12 years of basketball at an extremely high level. Injuries, bad luck, and a much improved western conference means that its going to get a lot worse before it gets better. There's going to be growing pains, but there's also going to be joy. Joy in watching YOUTH for the first time in years. Joy in watching CROWDAH do things that drive opponents crazy. And hopefully joy in watching a team find itself and win.
Andy: Interregnum. (editor's note: This is definitely an Andy word. Here's Webster: the time during which a throne is vacant between two successive reigns or regimes) While I don't agree that the Mavs will struggle to make the playoffs, I don't think they're going to win a championship year and, as what seems like usual around here now, everybody's got a ticket out of town next year. Hopefully the Mavericks will keep the parts that worked this year and reload next year, but whatever is coming is much different than this. As always in Mavs-land, hope, but don't get attached.
Tom: Resurgence. The Mavericks, even while injured, will show that they are capable of making the playoffs, and winning games overall.
Alan: Patience. I think this word works on two levels. Number one, it will require patience to wait for Dirk to come back, and for all the new guys to gel. Secondly, and this might be a perspective very few share with me, I think patience is needed to wait out the direction of this team going forward. I still believe this team is in a transition phase, and that the big fish Dallas has been waiting for is somewhere out there. I expect the roster to look drastically different next year, and hopefully that roster will be the one Dallas tries to build around, while also making one last go at a title in the twilight of Dirk's incredible career.
Josh: Flexibility. This Mavs team will have to juggle different identities and playing styles all season to match the eclectic roster full of versatile players. Dallas can throw it into the post, run pick and rolls, play up-tempo, slow it down, isolate and do pretty much anything they want. They have the players to do it. The key will be for Carlisle to understand what kind of team he needs in certain situations and getting the players to buy into what he's saying.
8) Dirk is already missing part of the season; name another player who has to stay healthy for this team to succeed?
Kirk: I'm going to eat my hate and say Vince Carter. As much as we want Mayo to become something greater, Vince has been to the top of the mountain (well close at least). He's shown considerable restraint this season and if he can slide into that role of taking shots that come to him within the offensive flow, he'll be a real asset. The Mavericks aren't going to replace JET, but a consistent scorer off the bench of going to be big with a team that has so many pressing questions.
Andy: Weirdly and sadly enough, I'm going to say Chris Kaman. This team has so little in the way of real size. Brand and Marion are still good rebounders, but the Mavericks will be destroyed by the Laker's (or Memphis') size on the glass and in the paint without their One True Center.
Alan: Elton Brand. Dirk's the best player, and Brand is probably their second best.
Josh: Elton Brand. With Kaman injury-prone, Brand remains the last typically healthy veteran post player on the roster. We all know Kaman will miss a few games here and there. It's Brand that has to remain healthy or the Mavericks will be sunk.
Tim: I get this weird feeling that the offense and defense would just fall to shit with Shawn Marion, for whatever reason. Maybe I'm wrong, but let's not test it. Stay healthy, Matrix.