Would you call this season a success?
Alan Smithee (@SmitheeMMB): "Success" is sort of a relative term. I'd imagine plenty would answer enthusiastically in the affirmative for this question. I think Dirk's strong performance(and health) was a success. The team did make it back to the playoffs. They also added a few pieces potentially worth keeping around. On the other hand, the sands in Dirk's hourglass are running out, they lost in the first round to a hated rival, and when you rewind to a few summers ago when Cuban and the front office sold the fanbase a bill of goods that included selling draft picks and letting free agents go for a chance at getting a superstar(or two) like Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard...that all wasn't much of a success. Going forward, with the team farther away from their watershed moment of winning a title, the idea of getting a true star next to Dirk remains more fantasy than possibility. Sorry for the non answer but that's what I got.
Andrew Tobolowsky (@andytobo): I would. I wish the Mavs had had the offseason approach they had last year three years ago, instead of these quixotic quests for a big score. If they'd just been adding good players the last few years they could have Goran Dragic, or Omer Asik, or all kinds of guys who, you know, it's not at all a surprise what they're doing now. They didn't. But just one offseason SPENT doing that has been enough to make them relevant again and if Dirk can have another strong season next year, another good offseason could give them at least another couple of years as a strong team, and this year was about proving that to be true. So they did.
Kirk Henderson (@KirkSeriousFace): Yes. The goal was to make the playoffs and give Dirk at shot at doing... something. The mission was vague, but then Dallas did all we could've hoped for by taking the Spurs to seven games. Yes, fans are going to lament not getting a win and might linger on the final game too long, but let's be honest here... the goal before the Spurs series was to steal a game or maybe two.
Doyle Rader (@TheKobeBeef): It certainly was a financial success. The Mavericks once again sold out every home game. That is an accomplishment that few teams achieve and many envy. As for the on-court product, the results were mixed. At the start of the season, though, all the talk surrounding the Mavs was just that they make it back to the playoffs. Dallas did make it back to the post season and fielded a much more coherent team this season than they did last season. They also had one of the best offenses in the league. However, their defensive effort held the team back from reaching its full potential. If a first round playoff exit constitutes success, feel free to embrace it.
Bailey Roger (@BRogers789): A huge, rousing one. First of all, this team was exciting as hell to watch. Fun basketball all year will always be considered a success in my book. Also, Dirk shot up the all-time scoring list while nearly achieving a 50/40/90 season. Finally, Mavs returned to the playoffs and held their own against the best team in the league.
Josh Bowe (@Boweman55): About as much of a success as a first-round exit as the eighth can be. The Mavericks didn't win 50 games, but they got close. That's also a helluva lot closer than most basketball mines pegged for them as Dallas was figured to win between 40-45 games this season. Considering there was also national expectations of them being out of the playoffs, the fact that the Mavs got in and pushed the best team in the NBA has to be considered a success. Does that seem like a massive step back from where the franchise was in 2011? Of course! but it's also a bigger leap forward compared to 2012 and 2013. The Mavericks have a core of a good basketball team entering the off-season for the first time in awhile. It's nice to know that no matter what happens off-season wise, the Mavs will at least be a pretty good team going to next season.
Tim Cato (@tim_cato): In the sense of putting a fun and entertaining product on the court for the fans, absolutely. Every season has ups and downs; this one was much more of the former than the latter and quite different from the infuriating O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison backcourt last season. In the sense that the good basketball might lead to giving Dirk one more real shot, who knows. NBA players definitely noticed the resistance put up against the best team in the league, but does that translate to signing in Dallas for a reasonable contract, knowing that most of the key cogs of this team can count the number of years left in their career on one hand? I don't know, and neither does anyone else until the dust of this coming offseason (and even the next one) settles.
(editor's note: part 2 and 3 will be up tomorrow.)