The Mavericks have arrived at their fifteen man roster. Dwight Howard has been traded. Training camp is still at least a month away, but it's approaching. It's time to declare this year's off-season a wrap.
Since it's over, let's start by taking a look back at some of the highlights and lowlights. I posed six questions to the MMB staff, and will be revealing their answers to each question every other day. Here's the first one:
1) What was the biggest surprise of the off-season?
Andy: OJ Mayo, without a doubt. Without exaggeration, OJ is the best young player the Mavericks have had in years, and the last guy they got with his potential has got to be Dirk Nowitzki. I'm not saying that OJ is even in the same stratosphere as Dirk, I'm saying the Mavericks are the worst drafters who ever lived and have been about as successful at getting young talent as I have been in getting Jennifer Connelly to marry me.
Alan: For me, it's the Mahinmi trade. I still can't quite understand why the Pacers were willing to give up so much for Mahinmi, especially Collison. I just didn't see that coming. Kaman, Brand, even Mayo all made sense as Mavs targets, and they were all guys who had been mentioned as possible Mavs' targets in the past. I feared Dallas would end up with Delonte West as their starting point guard, and have to settle for a backup like C.J Watson or something equivalent.
Lisa: Jae Crowder. I had the distinct pleasure of watching that kid play in Vegas and let me tell you- he might not be able to contribute like crazy right away, but he's going to be good. His skills aren't perfect, and he's by no means ready to start in the NBA. But that kid has "motor" and he works hard on the floor from whistle to whistle. You can teach skills, but you can't teach heart.
Tom: The acquisition of Elton Brand. Not only did the Mavericks scored Brand at a very low price ($2.1 million), but Brand was also a 14 PPG/6 RPG man last year with Philadelphia. Seeing that this is a contract year (i.e last) on Elton's deal, and that next offseason is his last chance to command a high salary, Brand will be extra motivated to play his A-game. Brand should spark rallies or dish out quick buckets when called to. Hopefully the Mavs don't fall into overpaying Brand in the offseason based on his performance, akin to Haywood.
Tim: For me, it's gotta be signing O.J. Mayo. Obviously, he's not anywhere near the upper echelon of NBA players, but with his scoring, three point shooting, and ability to handle the ball and run some point, he's clearly well above average. With his talent, Mayo could and probably should be making quite a bit more than four million dollars next year. Let's be honest: his 2yr/8mil contract was a complete steal for Dallas. This doesn't mean he's just another idiot athlete -- quite the opposite, in fact. His willingness to sign for less money shows both him and the Mavericks realize that his success hinges on the situation he's in, and Dallas sure does seem like a great fit.