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 over.
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, the guys talk about the biggest improvement the Mavericks made to their team over the off-season.
3) What part of the team did the Mavs do the best job improving?
Lisa: An argument could be made that we've improved at every position (since last season), but I'm going to say that aquiring Elton Brand was probably a big deal for the Mavericks inside the paint. He has the body size to go along with the defense that we missed without Chandler. Paired with the athletic Brandan Wright and the super weird Chris Kaman, we have the potential to match up decently with any team.
Tom: Center, by a mile. The black hole known as Brendan Haywood is gone, as well as his burdensome contract. Instead, Chris Kaman, a solid veteran on a one year deal comes on board motivated to earn a big paycheck next season, as long as he stays healthy. Bernard James, a second round pick, also adds to the back up center position, but alas, he will need a year in the NBA before he can handle big chunks of minutes. Overall, the center position has bounced back some after the loss of Chandler.
Tim: With a lack of a better word, the Mavericks got "not-old". They aren't Oklahoma City 2.0 or anything, but they're not vying for the title of oldest team in the league. With O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison both on board, the Mavs have two young guys with a great mix of NBA experience and room to improve. Add in the trio of draft picks who probably won't factor in this year but should make some sort of impact down the road, and this team is boasting more young talent than they've had in a long time. The core is still composed of veteran players, but the future of this team is on the horizon.
Andy: Rebounding, believe it or not. They managed a credible 11th in rebounding, but you and I would be hard pressed to figure out how. Their starting center (Haywood) averaged 6 a game and their leading rebounder (Shawn Marion) 7.4. Outside of those two, only Dirk also averaged 6+. By adding Brand and Kaman who each averaged 7+ in limited minutes last year, and have a history of grabbing even more, they'll immediately get rebounding from where rebounding is supposed to come.
Alan: Scoring production from the center position. That's easy. Dallas has, since the days of Raef LaFrentz, employed a defensive minded starting center who scored pretty much exclusively when he received a pass directly under the basket. Now Dallas has a guy who can post up in Kaman, and a former 25 point per game scorer in Brand.