Editor's Note: Front-paged
The title defense of the Mavericks is officially over after being swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier. It was a disappointing early exit for this team but now, all the organization can do is rest, clear their minds and recharge for the offseason and prep early for the upcoming season.
This blog will include the recap and analysis of the Mavs during the regular season and playoffs, as well as my outlook of the Mavs during the upcoming season and my recommendations for another run next season.
The Regular Season
The Mavericks' regular season was an inconsistent one, which can be blamed at the compressed 66-game season, their roster's age, a shortened training camp and the lack of a sufficient and capable roster to truly compete for a playoff run. Their defense was good, because of Rick Carlisle's ability to coach and with the team effort the team was exerting towards defense. On the other hand, offense was the problem, due to the lack of training camp and the difficulty of the new players being integrated into the system. But with the core players and the supporting cast playing well enough the make it to the postseason, I would say that is still an achievement with the different factors that had settled in that could have ousted the champs from making the playoffs.
Continue after the jump...
The NBA Playoffs
Being the 7th seed in the West, the Mavs faced the Thunder in a rematch of last years WCF. The Thunder were younger, quicker, more talented and hungrier than the Mavs, and these things were more than too much for the Mavs to handle against these young guns. I would say despite the sweep, the Mavs gave the Thunder a hard time during the 1st two games and the clincher for the Thunder, but a lack of support for Dirk Nowitzki and the team's inconsistencies got the Thunder rolling. Well, no one's really expecting the Mavs to oust the Thunder this time. It was an early exit for the champs but this is for the better for everyone.
Now, time to move on.
Looking at the Mavs right now, we all know that most championship teams require more than one superstar to win it all. Aside from the Detroit title team in 2004 and last year's Mavs, teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs have generated championships in courtesy of multiple stars. That is why the obvious is already in the open: Find another superstar to match with Dirk Nowtikzi. Nowitzki could probably play until 40, but his aging decline already indicates the need to pass the throne to a younger foundation for the Mavs to compete consistently every year. And with most of the players ending up as free agents in the offseason, it is imperative for this team to suffice themselves with a capable roster that can complement the core of this team.
And don't look at the Mavericks organization as a disappointment next year. Don't get mad the Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson for not re-signing the title team's supporting cast and ending up broomed in the first round. This is the right move. With the oldest roster in the NBA and the potentially big market in free agency, a new direction is needed for the Mavs so that someone can take the place of Dirk Nowitzki when he retires in the next few years. This coming offseason will be huge for the Mavs as their cap flexibility can land another superstar or two who can continue to reign of the Mavs. This opportunity if successful will generate excellence and competitiveness which can put the Mavs in the ideal position to compete every year.
Management and Coaching
Re-sign Rick Carlisle. He's brought the lone championship in Dallas and most importantly, he's a winner. He's found the winning formula for the Mavs despite the roster changes and he is able to coach and adjust well to any opponent. The organization, the players, the community and the league loves him. Put a check on this guy's wallet.
Give Donnie Nelson time. We don't want to end up like other teams signing big contracts to players who don't contribute right away. But give him credit for maintaining that competitive edge this season by acquiring players with small contracts who contributed right away that resulted to another playoff appearance while maintaining the cap flexibility we need to upgrade our roster. Now is that chance to land that superstar we need to make another title run.
From what I see, Deron Williams is the top priority the Mavs will have to put their attention on. A Dallas native, he is the perfect star to compliment Dirk Nowitzki because he can score on his own while contributing and making his teammates better. And because D-Will wants to win now, Dallas is a very enticing choice for the him because of the competitiveness of the organization overall. Forget Dwight Howard. Dallas can bring in more players that could probably more efficient and productive role players that could fill in D12's production. But for the meantime, D-Will should be in that uniform.
Provided that the Mavs have really a ton of cap space and expendable trade assests, the I think the Mavs should retain Jason Terry because he is familiar with the system and he always produces at a high level. He is a very important signing the Mavs have to do right now. Delonte West is also a need, because he played well enough last season and can be a very good 2-way player who can play both guard positions. Using the amnesty clause on center Brendan Haywood could also be useful in bringing another 5 who can contribute more despite the lost hope for signing Dwight Howard. I would really want the Mavs to retool their bench with a bigger and younger set of players like Brandon Bass, Reggie Evans and Kris Humpries who can produce as the Mavs' big men. A big boost from the off-guard position for the Mavs is also recommended. While Vince Carter contributed enough, he does not produce consistently. I think signing sharpshooter Ray Allen or JR Smith is very likable. Jamal Crawford is also an option if available. From all of these, I think we really need to address the center position provided the we have signed D-Will. I would like to take a chance on Chris Kaman and I believe he can contribute at a high level with the type of players he will be with.
This free-agent pool is full of veterans who can contribute right away if we can't land D-Will. We would love to have Steve Nash back for a chance to play for the Mavs again to compete for that ring. Kevin Garnett could also be there, provided he would like to play in Dallas. There is shooter Michael Redd, former scoring champ Tracy McGrady, high-flyer Shannon Brown, scorer Nick Young and so many players to choose from. This may not be a superstar-filled class of free agents, but this is a definitely a competitive set of players who can contribute right away for any team.
I like the Mavs chances of making the right decisions of developing a roster that can contend for a long time with players playing at a high level coached by a champion coach. If one season should be sacrificed to earn multiple championships the coming years, yeah, I'll take that.