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Off-Season Wrap-Up: Looking Forward

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07:  Fast bowler Dirk Nannes poses at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 7, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. <em>(silly caption. That's not Dirk.)</em>  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 07: Fast bowler Dirk Nannes poses at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 7, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (silly caption. That's not Dirk.) (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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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.

Today, we wrap up this six part series with one last question focusing on the future. Admittedly, it's a vague question, so there were several different directions our writers decided to steer their answers. Regardless, they're all very good and a great ending to this six part series. Look for a similar Q&A series to come out right as the regular season starts. In the mean time, we'll keep doing our best to push content out despite a dearth of any substantial Mavs news. Training camp is only about a month away! Let's hope time flies.

Of course, if you missed any of the previous questions, here they are: one, two, three and four and five.

6) What should the focus of the Mavericks be headed into this coming season?

Andy: I think they have to be realistic. It really does NOT pay to stake everything on getting a superstar. At a certain point, even if you get one, you're no longer good enough for it to matter, nor enticing enough a destination for FAs to dream big. Obviously, the Mavs will do everything in their power to land that big fish next year, but if they don't, I hope they sign some lesser but still decent fish and go back to trying to compete. Once Dirk's gone it's not really going to matter if we get the next Deron Williams. Won't do any better without Dirk than Dirk will do without him, and probably significantly worse.

Lisa: What got the Mavericks to the NBA Finals was not their incredible roster, as Andrew pointed out in his piece about "stuff". It was their cohesion as a team and their ability to support each other on the court and off. That was completely missing this last season, and in order for Dallas to be successful again I think they're going to need to rediscover it. I don't know much about our new dudes off the court (other than Kaman's affinity for killing things and Brand's opinion of Kaman's affinity for killing things) so I don't know how this locker room will be. But I think if they can focus on being a team above all, we'll have a chance to go far again.

Alan: Finding an identity in the face of a second straight season of drastic roster changeover, and yet another coach pilfered from Carlisle's bench. There is youth and talent at guard, and experience and polish in the frontcourt. Carlisle's reputation probably suggests he'll favor the latter, but will it be to the detriment of the development of the former?

Tom: Getting a superstar. The Mavericks, as currently built, could go deep into the playoffs, but they won't be able to bring a second title to Dallas. Excluding Dirk, any player that is needed to secure a superstar must be on the table. If not, next offseason will be part deux of this offseason, one in which no bona fide star was secured for Dallas.

Tim: The roster overhaul this offseason was extremely drastic -- only four players remain from the championship team two years ago. The Mavericks caught magic that year and rode it all the way to the title despite several other teams having more talented rosters. One could argue that this year, position by position, this team is just a bit more talented than their 2011 predecessors, though they obviously lack the chemistry and continuity. If this assortment of players can develop into a team, there's no reason they can't have a similar playoff run and be much more competitive against the Western Conference powerhouses when the playoffs come.