The Mavericks have arrived at their fifteen man roster. Dwight Howard has been traded. Training camp is still 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 what weakness the Mavericks least improved this offseason.
4) What part of the team did the Mavs do the worst job improving?
Tom: Well, worst screams a downgrade. Instead, I would say the "most marginal improvement". Either way, the small forward position position is the only that received the most marginal improvement. While Jae Crowder has the chance to become the next Brandon Bass, he is at least a year away from handling more than 8 minutes in the NBA. With no one else to back up Shawn Marion, the Mavericks could have done somewhat better at small forward.
Tim: For me, it's outside shooting. The departed Jasons, Kidd and Terry, combined to average 10.4 three point attempts a game at a 37% clip. That's a lot of threes, and while the Mavericks will work the ball inside the more often than ever before, they still need shooters to space the floor and make some of those threes that the two departed guards took last year. O.J. Mayo helps -- last year, he shot 36% on 4.2 attempts. However, the rest of the additions are average shooters, at best. It will be crucial for Collison and West to be confident when given open looks from deep to prevent defenses from collapsing in on Dirk and Kaman operating in the paint, and Dahntay Jones could work his way into the rotation if he is able to hit his shots regularly.
Andy: Scoring. This may seem strange, given that they've added about 4 guys capable of scoring 10+ from last year's version (Collison, Brand, Kaman, Mayo), but they've added nobody who's certain to score more than Terry did last year, though Mayo might, and while they've gone from a PG that can't score to one who can, they've also gone from Jason Kidd to a guy who hasn't averaged 5+ assists since his first year in the league. They've also put a lot of roadblocks, again, in front of Brandan Wright, who averaged 11 in March, in games in which he played over 10 minutes.
Alan: They still don't have a secondary shot-creator at or near the level of Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry was a good player, as O.J Mayo and Darren Collison will likely be, but they aren't Deron Williams, Chris Paul, LeBron James, or even some of the lesser names we've heard Dallas pine after. This is supposed to be the reason Tyson Chandler is a Knick and not still a Maverick. At some point, if the team continues to fail to draw in a player who can consistently take pressure off Dirk offensively, the Dallas Mavericks will either be staring the lottery in the face, or something worse: mediocrity.
Lisa: Ehhhhh...we'll see how point guard turns out. Collison is good, but we have to see how he fits in our offense.