The Dallas Mavericks were the winners of the trade deadline last
season when they acquired Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood from the
Washington Wizards and many pundits predicted them to be the second
best team in the West. The truth must be told: they finished the
regular season with a 55-27 record and with Butler and Haywood in the
team, they went 22-6 - a whopping 78.5% winning percentage confirming
that second seed spot for the playoffs, but they got owned by the Spurs
in 6 games in the First Round of the Western Conference.
Statistically speaking, this was a bizarre (and splendid) season for
the Mavericks because they were just an above average team! I just
don’t remember of a team that has won at least 55 games during the
regular season despite having the 10th best offense, the 12th best
defense and being only the 24th best rebounding team in the league at
the same time! In fact a quick look in the Teams’ Points per Game
Differential rankings last season and we can see that the Mavericks had
the worst differential amongst the Western Conference teams that went
to the playoffs (+2.7ppg)! With all the teams that went to the
Playoffs, only the Bulls had a worst point differential at home: +2.22!
If the Mavericks had their struggles to win by a safe margin, then
we can assume that they won a lot of close games and indeed they won: 21
of their 55 wins were by 6 or less points and 6 of them were by 3 or
less points. In games decided by 6 or less points the Mavericks went
21-7! Dirk Nowitzki had his share in being clutch as according 82games.com he was third in the league in clutch production behind only Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.
The problem is that the Mavericks couldn’t be clutch when it matters
count: the playoffs as 3 of their 4 losses against the Spurs were by
single digit points and their poor perimeter defense was exposed by the
It was another year wasted for Dirk Nowitzki and his friends as like
the Spurs, the window of winning a Championship is closing fast if not
already closed a couple of years ago.
2009/10 Advanced Stats:
Pace 15th 95.8
Offense 10th 106.6
Defense 12th 103.8
Rebounds 24th -1.16
Projected Depth Chart: PG: Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, Jose Juan Barea SG: Caron Butler, Jason Terry, Dominique Jones SF: Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Alexis Ajinca C: Brendan Haywood, Tyson Chandler, Ian Mahinmi
The Dallas Mavericks for sure will be one of the most veteran teams
this season, as we all need to look for their projected starting lineup
to notice that all their starters are all on the wrong side of 30 –
Jason Kidd is 37, Caron Butler is 30, Shawn Marion is 32, Dirk Nowitzki
is 32 and Brendan Haywood is 30! Plus their 6th man Jason Terry is 33
years old so there’s little room for player’s improvement for this
team: it’s all about finding the right team chemistry and execution
down the stretch.
As usual General Manager Mark Cuban did everything trying to improve
his team. Never be afraid to spend money if it helps the team: this
season Cuban’s had a $84 million payroll to afford and he did some
changes this offseason and the Mavericks were involved in some rumours
in the free agency that result in nothing.
Because the Mavericks will have to beat the Lakers if they want to
win a Championship, Cuban’s focus was to find somebody that can protect
Nowitzki’s defensive liabilities against the likes of Gasol, Bynum and
Odom and he found Tyson Chandler from the Hornets.
Dallas decided to not give Erick Dampier another chance and picked
Chandler to compete with Haywood for the center position. After two
breakout seasons in New Orleans, Chandler is coming off two consecutive
injury riddled seasons, the last one in Charlotte. We can’t expect him
to be a dominating defensive force like he was in 2006-07 when he
averaged 12.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 2006-07, but he is reportedly
healthy, he played well for Team USA this summer and maybe this will be a
bounce back season for Chandler. Nevertheless the Mavericks also have
Brendan Haywood to compete for the starting center spot and on the
paper this looks to be the best center rotation in the league! After
being traded to Dallas, his numbers decreased a bit, but he was still
solid averaging 8.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 26.5 minutes
with the Mavericks.
Now the Mavericks have two solid defensive centers that will have to
share minutes, fouls and…some defensive protection to Dirk Nowitzki!
With 32 years, Dirk Nowitzki is still an offensive force in the league
due to his unprecedented shooting range for his stature. Last season he
was the 9th most valuable player in the league according Hollinger’s
Player Efficiency Rating and he was lethal than ever on the offensive
end averaging 25.0ppg while shooting 48.1% from the field and also
hitting 91.5% from the charity stripe line. There’s no reason to think
that Dirk will have a subpar (offensive) season due to his advanced age
just because his shooting skills won’t disappear…ever. The problem is
on the other end of the floor as Dirk’s rebounding numbers have been on
the decline for the sixth consecutive season. He was never known for
being a top defender in the league and his age will prevent him to be
more energetic on the defensive end. Note that he will play 16 games
against the likes of Tim Duncan, Luis Scola, Zach Randolph and David
West and right now it is easy to undertstand why Marc Cuban desperately
tried to improve the depth and the quality of the center position.
Jason Kidd will once again run the show in Dallas and despite
everyone has predicted his end over the last couple of years the fact is
that the 37-year-old Point Guard hasn’t slowed down much yet. Kidd is
coming from another solid season in which he averaged 10.3 points, 5.6
rebounds, 9.1 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.2 3-pointers while shooting
42.3% from the field – his 3rd best mark in his career and 42.5% behind
the arc – the best mark of his career!
After being traded to Dallas, Caron Butler fit nicely in the system
and averaged 15.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Against
the Spurs in the playoffs he dipped his numbers to 19.7ppg and 5.8rpg,
so if he can remains healthy through the season the Mavericks have a
legit offensive thread behind Dirk Nowitzki, something that Josh Howard
couldn’t be in the last years for the organization.
Jason Terry will lead the team coming off the bench and like
usually, he will be one of the contenders for the sixth man award at the
end of the season. He can help the team only on the offensive end, as
last season he averaged 16.6 points per game however for the first time
in Dallas he’ll have some competition to be the 6th man by youngster
Rodrigue Beaubois, who saw only 12.5 minutes per game for the Mavs, but
showed some interesting flashes for the future including a 40-points
game against the Warriors. Unfortunately he may miss the start of the
season due to a broken left foot.
If we added Jose Barea to the mix, the Mavericks have a talented
offensive backcourt, but they also have one of the biggest weaknesses:
size and defensive deficiencies. The San Antonio Spurs abused them last
season by using the speed of Parker, Ginobili and Hill against the
slower Dallas guards. Jason Kidd isn’t quick enough against the young
blood in the league; Jason Terry isn’t big enough to guard elite players
and Barea and Beaubois aren’t either. This fact might be irrelevant
during the curse of the regular, but in the playoffs when the matchups
can dictate the outcome of the series, the Mavericks might have a big
mismatch to handle.
Shawn Marion was the Mavericks offseason biggest addition last year
and despite not being able to post anymore his impressive numbers back
with the Suns and Steve Nash he still had a relatively solid season by
averaging 12.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 0.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game
while shooting above 50% from the field. His role on the offensive end
is now an opportunistic role: grabbing some offensive boards and score
some points when he is left open. This is what we can expect from
With such deep and talented roster, a 50-wins season is almost an
automatic achievement for the Mavericks. We can count them to have a
high seed in the West and they will have some impressive wins against
top caliber teams, however in the Playoffs they’ll have to find some way
to find their weaknesses or else a young and energetic Thunder might
cruelly expose them.
Roddy Beaubois, the Mavericks' injured guard, remained in a protective walking boot at the Mavericks' corporate golf outing Monday afternoon and it's safe to say now that he's going to miss the start of the regular season.
The Mavericks have been careful not to have any timetable for Beaubois' return, but he's clearly not going to play in the last two preseason games. It could be a couple more weeks before he gets on the floor.