Next up, an aging Mavs team with two new additions to buttress star Dirk Nowitzki in the twilight of his career.
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The mood in Dallas has not been a good one as of late. After watching their 2011 championship team become a distant memory, the Mavericks have been plagued with injuries and built around a team with short-term deals. The original plan was load up on smaller contracts, so they had the cap space to make a run at Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Mark Cuban‘s plan didn’t go according to plan as Chris Paul stayed in Los Angeles and Dwight Howard went to the Rockets. The Maverick’s offseason was not a total sham, though. They managed to acquire some nice pieces to compliment Dirk Nowitzki.
Lets take a look at what Dallas did this offseason.
Acquired: Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Devin Harris and Wayne Ellington. Also drafted Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo.
Lost: Elton Brand, Darren Collision, Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Morrow, Roddy Beaubois, Jared Cunningham and Mike James.
A major concern for Dallas this season is their defense; it is no secret Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis are not the most sound defenders in the league. If Dallas cannot stop elite Western Conference wings from penetrating and getting to the basket, they are going to find themselves trailing in a lot of games this season.
On paper, this roster does not look imposing, or like much of a playoff contender. I am here to tell NBA fans the Mavericks can make a run for a lower seed in the playoffs this season. Dirk Nowitzki is coming back in great shape and injury-free; he is now more than capable of leading this team to the same heights as past glory. His leadership is going to play a major role in the development of the team’s core. Dirk is still a top talent in this league, and that’s a positive sign for the Dallas Mavericks going forward.
Here are the top 5 reasons why NBA fans need to watch the Mavericks this season:
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Wayne Ellington Steps Up
Not a lot of talk surrounds the 5-year shooting guard, Wayne Ellington. He is an underrated offensive weapon, and Dallas will look to him to contribute on both sides of the floor with the second unit this season. In a short stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ellington showed that he has a feel for the game. He has great shooting mechanics, which means he’s able to hit shots from anywhere on the floor in a variety of situations. Ellington is going to need to come ready on the defensive end because the coaching staff is ready to give Ellington an increased role as long as he buys in to Carlisle’s defense-first philosophy.
The Addition of DeJuan Blair
I know this might give some pause, but allow me to explain. Adding a physical player such as DeJuan Blair helps because the Mavericks are going to struggle this year without an interior presence. With a roster consisting of big-men, Samuel Dalembert (can’t stay healthy), Bernard James, Brandon Wright and Dirk, rebounding and physicality are a major hole in this team’s makeup. A brolic, beefy inside presence is necessary. Dallas stole DeJuan from the Spurs for the veteran minimum; consider that a win-win situation for Dallas because he came so cheap. Expect Blair to contribute on the offensive and defensive glass right away.