The Dallas Mavericks were very busy this summer. They re-acquired Tyson Chandler in a trade with the Knicks, and were able to get Chandler Parsons to sign a three-year offer sheet that the Rockets declined to match. Where exactly they stand in the Western Conference is an interesting question. Owner Mark Cuban is confident that they’ve added enough basketball IQ to take them to the next level.
Via the The Dallas Morning News, Mark Cuban says he’s very optimistic about the upcoming season:
The thing about the NBA is that it’s becoming much smarter. There’s a lot more analytics. The new owners that have come in since I’ve been here are just really smart guys. So rather than always doing it the old-school way, the way it’s always been done, teams have to be a lot smarter and the league evolves a lot more quickly. And I think one of the reasons we were able to give San Antonio such a run is that we had a high basketball IQ and we were able to make adjustments that they didn’t expect.
I think if our basketball IQ was a little bit higher, then we should have beat them — we could have beat them, we would have beat them — and that’s what we were looking for this summer: guys with high basketball IQs, guys who can play multiple positions, guys who were unselfish and were willing to move the ball and guys who could hit an open shot. And so we think having a lot of flexibility, being able to switch on defense, moving the ball a lot, we think by adding all these starters from all these other teams, we added guys who had those capabilities and I think hopefully it will take us to the next level.
Aside from acquiring Chandler, Parsons and Felton, there are two other additions — Richard Jefferson and Jameer Nelson — that might pay off huge for the Mavs. Jefferson is 34, but he played in all 82 games last season for Utah, and averaged 10.1 points per game while shooting a very efficient 40.9 percent from downtown. Nelson played 62 games for the Orlando Magic and averaged 12.1 points per game. He is a career 37.4 percent three-point shooter.
The ability of these two players to hit the long range shot is worth mentioning, because you can bet head coach Rick Carlisle will come up with an offense built around Dirk Nowitzki that will take advantage of the plethora of shooters surrounding him beyond the arc.
On defense, the Mavs have been missing a rim protector since Chandler left. Carlisle is one of the best in the league at devising schemes to minimize the flaws of his players as individual defenders, so having someone like Chandler to cover up for other people’s mistakes will be key.
The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder should still be considered the clear-cut favorites in the Western Conference, but Cuban is not wrong: the Mavs have made significant upgrades this offseason, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they became a dark horse to win the Western Conference.
What do you think?
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