7) Give one word that you think will describe this season and explain why.
Andrew (@andytobo): Transparent. I think there aren't going to be a lot of secrets here, we'll know what's working and what isn't, pretty fast. Things will get better as time goes on, but how much?
Josh (@Boweman55): Hopeful. I think the Mavs put a sour taste in a lot of Mavs fans' mouths last season. I know on a personal level, a lot of my friends who were Mavs fans (but perhaps the Mavs weren't their favorites team) became really disinterested real quickly. I think that happened a lot. The title team was gone without a real title defense and the Mavs puddled around in mediocrity for two years and missed the playoffs. That's enough to drive a lot of non-hardcore Mavs fans away and hopefully, this season will bring them back. This team might not win 50 games like Mavs fans were used to, but it should be competitive with all the elite teams and at least have a fighting chance of making some sort of noise. They'll also be more competent in late game situations, which drew a lot of ire from fans as well. Last year's team was hopeful in a sense of hoping that some 25-year-old guards would take the next step. It didn't happen and now Mavs fans can at least be hopeful in relying on a group of interesting veterans that have been good players before.
Doyle (@TheKobeBeef): Crapshoot. Who knows what to expect? This is a new team. Anything can happen.
Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): Challenging - Though I expect less turmoil compared to last season, but the West continues to get better while Dallas keeps trying new things. Dirk will remain Dirk, but the pieces won't fit in a way that makes fans feel comfortable with where Dallas is going right away. I still think Dallas makes the playoff by the skin of it's teeth, but it's not going to be easy and might give me and Ian heart attacks.
Tim (@tim_cato): Montaball. Because why not.
Rebecca (@beccaaftersix): Hope. With Dirk, a couple veterans on longer term contracts, and a couple exciting(?) young players, the Mavs have less of a feel of a rental team this year. They are going to be again scrapping for that 8th spot in the West, but it's going to be a team that has a better shot from game to game than it did last season.
Ian (@SmitheeMMB):Underdog. Most of basketball punditry has put Dallas outside the playoffs, and for the first time since the title year, you get the feeling that this team has a chip on its shoulder again. Playing David to the West's Goliath is a role that suits all involved, from rebel owner Mark Cuban to humble star Dirk to the disrespected punchline Monta. The Mavs have enough veterans that it's not inconceivable that they could spoil things for a few of the teams projected above them, and sneak their way into the postseason.
8) Make a bold prediction for the coming season.
Andy: 5th seed. People think time is just magic and that results are destiny. The Mavs would easily have made the playoffs last year, and they're a lot better this year. Why not?
Josh: Dallas will be knocking on the door for homecourt advantage. Yes, that sounds absurd, considering San Antonio, OKC, Memphis, Golden State, Houston and the LA Clippers all have better teams, most likely. But Memphis could take a step back if Zach Randolph continues declines, OKC doesn't have Westbrook for a good amount of time and the Clippers have some serious front court issues if DeAndre Jordan can't play during crunch time. The Rockets better hope Dwight Howard is close to 100 percent, health-wise and they have a somewhat suspect bench past Patrick Beverly, while Golden State will need Andrew Bogut to stay healthy. See? A lot of the contenders have almost the same question marks as the Mavs and it wouldn't shock me for the Mavs to surge ahead if they stay healthy. They might have to revert back to 2003 strategy of winning games 120-110, but hell, I'll take any form of winning. It's unlikely, but this is supposed to be a bold prediction. Just roll with it.
Doyle: It wouldn't be surprising if the team made a move before the February trade deadline. The frontcourt is a mess outside of Dalembert and Cuban is still holding onto the notion of pairing another star with Nowitzki. Both Marion and Carter have expiring contracts so they could be trade bait. Also, there are some lucrative names that will be entering the market next summer.
Gersson Rosas, the Mavs' new general manager, has to cut his chops at some point. THE TEAM DOESN'T HAVE A GM! APPARENTLY, THAT IS THE MOVE THEY WANT TO MAKE! However, if anyone runs the numbers on the feasibility of Dallas bringing in LeBron James, run in the other direction as fast as you can and don't look back.
Kirk: I think Jose Calderon finds himself in a bench role, playing 20 minutes a game, with Monta Ellis taking over primary point guard duties. Calderon could prove me wrong, but unless Dallas wants to be a jump shooting team again, Ellis needs to lead the offense through getting penetration. Dirk will still be the primary focus, of course, but between the two players Ellis is younger and capable of more. By mid season Dallas will regret signing Calderon at all.
Tim: I've got Monta averaging 20+ ppg on 45% shooting from the field at the All-Star break. WITH another five assists per game. But can he sustain that for a year? I'm not going to make a prediction that bold.
Rebecca: Ricky Ledo doesn't spend the whole season in the D-League and contributes meaningful and impressive/promising (or at least, not bad) minutes. In the words of the X-Files, "I want to believe."
Ian: I feel like these never work out for me. Did I say last year that Dallas would make a major move at the deadline? I hope not, because I'm saying that this year. According to reports, Dallas nearly had Paul Pierce at last year's trade deadline, so I may not have been far off. I think that now we've reached escape velocity and left the orbit of the Deron-Paul-Dwight chase, maybe Dallas will take a chance on someone, somewhere. Marcin Gortat would have been my guess last week, but that seems to be off the table now. The Mavs continue to be a franchise whose future is only as promising as their next move. With little in the way of young talent and their primary assets being cap space, this is a team that needs to pounce on the right opportunity if they really want to give it one last shot with Dirk still in town.