Through the first few days of training camp Rick Carlisle and the new look Mavericks have not even opened the offensive section of their playbook. A team long scrutinized for their lack of defense and greatly heralded for their offensive prowess, has decided to place a long overdue emphasis on defense.
This is not the first time in the past several years that the Mavericks have taken this approach. I am sure you all remember when Avery Johnson became the head coach, and the pressure he pushed onto this team to become better defensively. The ending to that story did not turn out well, this time seems different.
Whether it's because this is now a much older and more mature team or that Rick Carlisle has simply won the respect of the players on this team it is hard to tell. Since the beginning of training camp every player on this team has had an increased level of dedication towards becoming better both individually and as a team on the defensive end.
Coach Carlisle has been able to convince the super star players on this team that the only way for them to accomplish their ultimate goal is by becoming a top ten defensive team. That task is not going to be an easy one for this team, but is a very attainable goal.
There are many different ways to be a leader, many different schools of thought so to speak. Avery Johnson was the little tyrant, the one who liked to berate the players when they made a mistake. for many teams and many players this type of leadership is not only required to get the job done, but many absolutely love it.
The Mavericks are not one of those teams however, as a matter of fact they are on the complete opposite end of that spectrum. The key to being a good leader is the ability to identify how to pull the best out of your team and then implement that strategy and have them believe in it. Rick Carlisle is well on his way to accomplishing this very thing.
This can not all be done by the hands of one man, no it is going to take the time and dedication of the entire organization for this team to become as good defensively as they need to become. The players must feel like the organization is behind them and willing to go the extra mile to ensure that they are successful, the Mavericks organization has done that this off season, and the players have taken notice.
Dirk through all his trials and tribulations this off season has rededicated himself to this team, not only is he in better shape than he has been in a while, but he also has regained that fire.
Jason Terry one of the poorer defensive guys on the team has bought into the program and now believes that as much as he does with the ball in his hands he could do even more on the other end. He is dedicated to becoming better defensively.
The Mavericks made a decision this off season to not only increase the overall talent level offensively on this team but to find and bring in players who could drastically effect the performance on the defensive end. By acquiring players such as Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion the Mavericks have become quicker, more athletic, and a greater intensity level.
The Mavs have never been shy when it comes to scoring, so its about time they bring that same sense of tenacity to the defensive side.
This change in culture is not going to take hold immediately but it will come over time.
What do you think can Carlisle and the gang pull this off? and if they do can it propel them to the front of the West?