Many things have changed since the beginning of the season. The Mavericks have gained All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and Amar’e Stoudemire. They’ve shipped out promising big man Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, and cut Ricky Ledo. Bernard “Sarge” James also made a homecoming trip back in Dallas. A lot has happened in a short amount of time, but one thing has stayed the same, the hunger for a championship.
Despite recent controversy surrounding Rajon Rondo and his spat with Coach Carlisle, I believe Rondo is still ready to win and take advantage of the opportunity being back in the playoffs. Rondo has never been the kind of player to sit back and let someone else run the show, he has always been extremely opinionated and will continue to be in the future. This didn’t stop him from helping the Celtics win a championship in 2008 and it won’t stop him now. Rajon Rando and Coach Carlisle will have to find a balance just as he and Doc Rivers did.
Despite rumors of Rondo testing the free agency waters this summer, I see no chance of him leaving if the Mavericks do in fact make a run in the playoffs. If not, I would expect Rondo to see what offers are out there for him to choose.
The Mavericks starting five of Rondo, Monta, Parsons, Dirk, and Tyson have had very limited time together, and while showing flashes, they still need some significant work. Turnovers are way too common and the Mavs overall chemistry is not where it needs to be. This is mostly because Rondo has not developed the chemistry needed with the rest of the starting lineup that the Mavericks have hoped. With 20 games left in the season the starters have to find out how to work together and definitely have to stay healthy to be ready to go for the playoffs.
The bench is a different story, with the chemistry is at an all time high. Amar’e Stoudemire provides that edge and offensive punch that was missing since Brandan Wright was traded. Richard Jefferson has defied old age and has been a healthy contributor off the pine all year. JJ Barea and Devin Harris have been two of the biggest assets the team has had all year. Al-Farouq Aminu’s hustle, rebounding, defense, and improved shooting has been great this season. Charlie Villanueva shooting brings an instant spark into the game. This bench is easily top 5 in the NBA and will without a doubt be ready to go come late April.
Regardless of all the changes and tweaks this team has gone through this season, they will still be a force during the playoffs. The West is deeper than ever before and the fight to the Finals will be more heated, intense, and challenging than anyone could of ever imagined. This Mavericks team is in for the battle of their lives, hopefully they’ll be ready for it.