3) What's the biggest strength of the Mavs?
Rebecca (@beccaaftersix): Shooting, I guess? On any given night the Mavs will have Dirk, Calderon, Ellis, Carter and Wayne "Make it Wayne" Ellington available. I don't know if that's enough, but with the defense they have (or, don't have, I guess), they need it to make it enough if they want to have a prayer against a very tough Western Conference.
Ian (@SmitheeMMB): I'm tempted to say passing, but I'll go with three point shooting. They're 1 and 1A. Calderon led the NBA in 3P% last year, Wayne Ellington set a career high and Vince Carter nearly did, too. And then there's that Nowitzki fellow. We haven't seen Shane Larkin yet but his college numbers say he can hit from deep. Spacing the floor and spreading the defense out is going to be the name of the game for Dallas.
Andrew (@andytobo): Well, no news here, but scoring. Dirk, Monta. Jose can shoot it better than anybody. If Brandan Wright can come back healthy, soon, he scores basically every time he shoots. It's going to be a lot for teams to deal with.
Josh (@Boweman55): A varied offensive attack. The options the Mavs can hurt teams with in one possession is staggering. In one possession teams could hypothetically be fearful of the following: A Dirk post-up, a Dirk face-up on the wing, a Dirk pick and roll with Calderon, a Dirk pick and roll with Ellis, A Calderon pick and roll with Brandan Wright, a Ellis pick and roll with Wright. And all those pick and rolls could lead to even more options, such as Calderon spotting up, Wright hovering near the rim when Dirk's setting a pick, Dirk hovering in his sweet spot when Wright's setting a pick and the possible weak side shooting of Vince Carter OR the threat of a Shawn Marion post up. SO MANY OPTIONS. The Mavs are going to make opposing defenses weep with all the capable scoring they have and it's going to be fun to watch this team just manhandle defenses with a (hopefully) smart, efficient offense.
Doyle (@TheKobeBeef): Obviously, it is their offense. They can score in bulk. I wrote about it extensively in the season preview. Just imagine a giddy Mark Followill and that pretty much explains the offense.
Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): Offense - The 2013-2014 Dallas Mavericks are loaded offensively. Even guys towards the end of the bench (sorry Sarge, not you) have an offensive skill that Dallas needs. I expect Dallas to get into some epic shootouts this season, particularly with some of the other middle tier Western Conference teams.
Tim (@tim_cato): The number of ways the team can score. Since I started watching the Mavericks in 2007 or so, this is probably the best shooting team has ever been in Dallas. Monta Ellis is probably as explosive a scorer and as quick an athlete as I've ever seen here in a Mavericks uniform. Brandan Wright is probably more skilled around the basket than any other post run the floors of the AAC over the past years. And of course, Dirk still can shoot and make it from anywhere. The Mavericks aren't going to have the best offense in the league -- there will be issues with chemistry, turnovers and injuries, I'm sure. But when they are clicking on all cylinders, it's because there's six or seven players putting up double digits.
4) What's the biggest weakness of the Mavs?
Rebecca: Center, and especially center depth. Dalembert, Wright, DeJuan Blair and Bernard James are not names that exactly light the world on fire, and that group is a Dalembert injury away from being potentially tragic. (Because again, as much as I love Brandan Wright, he's a little more matchup dependent than most.)
Ian: Perimeter defense. Or, more specifically, guard defense. Dallas has a lot of injury concerns at guard, and the few healthy bodies they do have at the moment were lit up by dribble penetration in the preseason. Much like last year with Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, I expect Calderon and Ellis to take some lumps. And the rookie pair of Larkin and Mekel don't project as standouts here, either. And despite my glowing praise of Harris above, it should be noted that the defensive data from his time in New Jersey is...uh, bad. Awful bad. Carlisle has his work cut out for him with this group.
Andy: Also not news, but defense. It's really bad. Really bad.
Josh: How are they going to get stops? Calderon and Ellis sharing a back court is going to be a struggle all year on defense. Both are below-average defenders which could mean foul trouble for both Shawn Marion and Dalembert, who are going to have to clean up a lot of mistakes. There's also Dirk and while he looks a lot more agile in team-defending during the preseason, teams are still going to try and exploit him and Calderon in pick and roll situations, much like teams did last year when Darren Collison and Dirk were in the game. The silver-lining? Ellis is at least athletically capable of being an average to above-average defender, so maybe Rick Carlisle can do something there. Otherwise, expect the Mavs to be in a lot of shootouts this season.
Doyle: The defense. Opposing guards are going to have their way with the Mavs' backcourt. It is going to get ugly. I wouldn't be surprised if people started calling them the "Allas Mavericks." You know, because there's no D in Dallas. Yeah. It was just as annoying in the early 2000's and it will be again.
Kirk: Rebounding - Much like last year, this squad will give up all of the rebounds. It's going to be ugly and it's going to be frustrating.
Tim: Perimeter defense. Halloween only lasts one day, but that back court is going to be scary all season.