ESPN has put out the most recent version of their NBA Future Power Rankings. For those that don't know, the FPR is a system that takes five factors(current roster, management, money, market, draft), with each factor totally a certain number of points, and applies a rating based on the total score for each team.
This past May, Dallas slotted at #13, and in August of 2012, they reached a high-water mark of #6. The primary reason they rated so high, despite a lackluster title defense and early playoff exit, was because of the expected cap relief windfall that was to make the Mavericks a major player in the 2013 free agent bonanza.
Well, we know how that all turned out, so how would Dallas rank now, with a chunk of their financial ammo no longer in the chamber?
The bar graphs reflect the average points given by the voters for each category.
Rather than rebuild from scratch after striking out on Dwight Howard, Dallas owner Mark Cuban appears hell-bent on building a winner around Dirk Nowitzki during the twilight of his career. But that's proving to be easier said than done.
After falling short of the playoffs with a roster full of stopgaps, the Mavericks retooled once again around their lovable 7-footer, this time by adding Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Wayne Ellington. The Mavericks also drafted Miami Hurricane point guard standout Shane Larkin, who should bolster a fascinating collection of talent in Dallas that will surely test head coach Rick Carlisle's patience.
Adding to a busy offseason, the Mavericks poached former Houston Rockets exec Gersson Rosas to be their general manager, but it didn't really move the needle on the outside; the Mavericks dipped from fifth to sixth in Management score. With the franchise appearing to run in place, the Mavericks still find themselves outside of the top 10 here, with a small bump from last edition's ranking of 13th. With a strong front office and a big market, the Mavericks are still missing the most important piece of the puzzle: the players.
-- Tom Haberstroh
(Previous rank: 13)
Well, as it turns out, Dallas still gets their biggest boost from their salary situation. Dallas loses two large contracts -- those of Dirk, and Shawn Marion -- totaling $32 million this summer, and although a portion of that should be earmarked to resign the Big German(and a good reference point might be the 3 year, $36 million deal Tim Duncan signed at age 36), it still leaves some room to add pieces to the puzzle.
Dallas also gets points for their management, as Mark Cuban has been, historically, among the most aggressive owners in the sport, spending whatever was needed to make his team a winner. For all the criticism that may deservedly be tossed Cuban's way, this is an indisputable advantage and something fans should be appreciative of.
The article mentions new GM Gersson Rosas, and he may be the wildcard here, as we don't yet know exactly what(or where) his impact will be. Rosas has been credited as being instrumental in the Rockets' recent draft success, as well as their player development program that has produced several D-League graduate contributors.
Where Dallas unfortunately gets its biggest drag factor is in the system's evaluation of the current roster. This echos what appears to be a general sentiment league-wide that while Dallas may have a solid, relatively deep team, the void left by championship players like Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd and "JET" Terry has yet to be filled. At the end of the day, having money and smart executives matters less than having actual players.
So, what do you think, Mavs fans? Is this ranking too low? Too high? Share your thoughts in the comments section!