One of the interesting features of last year’s surprising title run is that no columnist or reporter, at no time, and with no force, pointed out that really, it wasn’t all that surprising.
I’m not talking about the media’s unbelievable insistence that the Heat choked, the only explanation for them losing to anyone, ever, since teams tend to faint at their very sight, I’m talking about the fact that Dirk missed 11 games last year, and the Mavs won 2 of them .If they had won merely half of the 9 they lost, a relatively likely probability with their best player, they would have won either 61 games or 62 games, rounding up.
61 would have tied them for first in the West, 62 would have tied them with Chicago for the best record in the NBA. So not exactly the most surprising thing in the world that, at the end of it, they were the best team in the NBA. I mean, except for the fact that human beings can’t hope to compete with LeBron, D-Wade, and Joel Anthony.
It was a little surprising, though. After C-Butler went down, it wasn’t like they were lighting the world on fire, despite an amazing winning streak or two. We simply hoped they were actually as good as they were playing, despite visual evidence to the contrary.
Unfortunately, this year, we have to sort of hope the opposite. We have to hope this team is any good, despite visual evidence to the contrary. It's been months since the Mavericks were fun to watch.
And it is getting super late to expect it to all come together.
Did you know the Mavs went 13 and 5 in January? Because they went 7-7 in Feb and 9-8 in March. And are 1-2 in April. And, of course, 1-3 in December.
So the question is this:
Are the Mavericks a .500 team?
If so, their 5-5 record over the last 10 would not be indicative of any kind of struggle to regain form it would conform to math in a way unusual, for math. If so, we shouldn’t be expecting them to round into shape, this season—which, since they’re 20th in points per game, 14th in rebounds per and 14th in assists per is not exactly the least likely thing in the world. If so, then the fact that, the rest of the season, the fact that they’re facing teams with a collective winning percentage just sub-.500 may be the only reason they avoid the ultimate embarassment of missing the playoffs—presumably to face the penultimate embarassment of losing in the 1st round, or the prepenultimate (yes that’s a word) embarrasment of losing in the 2nd which, actually, would be sort of okay with me.
So you tell me, Mavs fans. Did your Mavs overachieve in January, or underachieve every other month? Are they a championship caliber team with some explicable and some inexplicable struggles, or is the fact that they were a championship caliber team the only thing that stole them some games they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten?
Where can they still look to find an extra edge?
You tell me.