Welp, it’s that time of year when the Mavericks hop on the treadmill. They exhibit a whole lot of movement, but never really go anywhere. Mark Cuban is remaining true to the ethos of the post 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Namely, letting Dirk do what ever the hell he wants, and retooling around him. Really that’s been the direction of the team since they decided on Dirk over Finley and Nash. It produced a lone championship, and since they’ve become the basketball franchise equivalent of Ryan Howard. If you squint, you can still see the talent, it just isn’t as consistent.
As a prognosticator I’m horrible, so I’ll leave true predictions to the pros. What I will say is that Mark Cuban has taken a calculated risk on signing Harrison Barnes. In a world where Mike Conley’s 5 year, $153 million deal I have no idea if the 4 year, $95 million price tag is high, low, or the price of doing business.
The Salary Cap is going up again next year, so in a year maybe these deals don’t look so bad. Or, maybe they’ll be all timers like the Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, or Josh Hamilton deals.
On to the preview:
The Mavs will be a respectable squad, that will have above average perimeter defense with the trio of Justin Anderson, Harrison Barnes, & Wesley Matthews. Anderson is returning off a good rookie year, especially considering Coach Rick Carlisle’s hesitance to trust younger players. Matthews is one year further removed from his knee surgery and Barnes comes with a lot to prove. I like the mix here on the defensive end, the 3 point shooting for Barnes and Matthews and the athleticism.
The front-court had some changes too: Almost All-Star Zaza Pachulia is gone and he’s been replaced by injury maven Andrew Bogut. He also improves the defensive end, and Dirk is allowed to sit down at mid-court if he wants. If you don’t like it, you can shut your face grandma.
PG play is going to be serviceable top to bottom with Deron Williams backed up by J.J. Barea and everyone’s second favorite badger Devin Harris. In a league full of top flight PG play this is definitely a deficiency for the Mavs, but they’ll still keep the opposition honest.
Per usual this team will be interesting to watch but with the likes of San Antonio and Golden State on your side of the draw it is important to remain measured in expectations. The OKC Thunder will be pretty guard-able for the first time ever, The Clippers will likely be the third seed, and then from there I like our chances head to head against the remainder of the conference.
All I can say is that I was filled with a hellacious case of “meh” in the 2010-2011 off season, and we all know what happened, so never say never.