Since the Dallas Mavericks won their first championship in franchise history during the summer of 2011, things have been, well, rocky. Mavs’ front office inability to lure a big fish during the past off-season’s coupled with a few First Round playoff exits have MFFL’s in a state of pandemonium. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but still, its felt like a never-ending roller coaster.
The 2014-2015 season had its fair share of ups and downs. Here, we’ll revisit my top 3 high and low moments of the year. In an effort to end on a high note we’ll start with the lows and work our way up. None are in any particular order.
The Monta Ellis shooting slump (and moodiness)
- The months of February and March were not kind to Monta Ellis. He faced his worst shooting slump as a Maverick. The sad part is, as Ellis goes so do the Mavericks, with him being designated as the closer and deservedly so. In the two months combined Ellis shot 40% from the field and a paltry 24% from behind the arc. Ellis was still scoring a respectable 16.4 points per game but it was behind inefficient volume shooting. As a result the Dallas Mavericks went 13-12 during that stretch. Throw in a hip and calf injury along the way with a hit of moodiness and I don’t think I have to paint the picture any further. This was a trying time for MFFL’s everywhere.
Rondo and Mavs mutually part ways after GM 2
- An 8 second violation while facing virtually no on-ball pressure should never happen in basketball, especially in the NBA playoffs. Rondo sadly committed the aforementioned unpardoned crime. In 10 minutes of action, Rondo also committed 4 personal fouls with the last few fouls screaming, “Take me out. I’m done.” The Dallas Mavericks and the mercurial point guard, Rajon Rondo, mutually parted ways following Game 2 of the Mavs-Rockets playoff series. The Rondo experiment failed and sadly it cost the Mavericks key rotation pieces in Brandon Wright and Jae Crowder. At the end of the day, management felt they had to pull the trigger on a four-time all-star point guard and rightly so. The aftermath however wasn’t pretty. It was ever so comparable to the Lamar Odom saga. Well, maybe not as bad but we all still get flash backs of the Odom days and shiver at the thought. Rondo doesn’t deserve all the blame for Dallas’ poor play in the second half of the season but he’s certainly near the top of the list. In case you missed it, Rondo didn’t receive a playoff share, which is something that’s unheard of for a player to not get.
Chandler Parsons injures knee
- Parsons’ first season with Dallas was less than ideal. Parsons signed a lucrative 3-year deal in the off-season and the expectations were high for the 26 year-old heading into the 2014-2015 season. As the third option in a free-flowing offense, Parsons was having success towards the end of the year as his pick-n-roll ball handling duties were increased. Unfortunately, and perhaps one of the biggest lows of the season, Parsons was declared out for the remainder of the playoffs after hobbling through Game 1 of Dallas’ first round playoff series vs. Houston. Dallas’ coveted FA acquisition was unable to play during the most important time of the year (which coincidentally was against his former team) and Parsons himself voiced his disappointment. Parsons recently underwent arthroscopic knee surgery but his timetable to return has yet to be determined.
Mavericks re-acquire Tyson Chandler with off-season trade
- On June 26th, 2014, Dallas and New York negotiated a 6-player deal that brought back a hometown favorite, arguably the heart and soul of 2011 championship team, Tyson Chandler. Letting Chandler go following his short but impactful one-year stint with Dallas was a hot topic of controversy and will probably continue to be, with Maverick fans wondering what could have been. Although Mark Cuban has relatively owned up to his mistake of letting him go. With MFFL’s elated, and the 7’1’’ center feeling at home once again, Chandler boasted one of his best statistical seasons of his career at the age of 32. Chandler had the highest PER (player efficiency rating) of his 14-year tenure in the NBA. While the Mavs struggled defensively as a unit, Tyson was a defensive menace. Among centers he ranked 5th in DRPM (Defensive Real Plus Minus), which is measured in points allowed per 100 possessions, and ranked 4th in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) behind only all-stars in Demarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol and year in and year out DPOY candidate in DeAndre Jordan. Safe to say many fans would like Tyson to return next season, at a reasonable price of course.
Torrid offensive start, Mavs on historic pace
- During the early portion of the season the Dallas Mavericks were an offensive juggernaut. They were on a historic pace to become the best offensive team in NBA history. The ball movement dazzled the fans. Dallas’ unselfish play, and numerous weapons at their disposal brought the old “pick your poison” mantra into the mix. A low turnover team that made the most of every position boasted an offensive rating that was off the charts, even when adjusting for the league average. Coach Carlisle’s creative mind was on full display and the players executed the offensive game plan to perfection. It was truly beautiful basketball to watch.
Al-Farouq Aminu earns spot into Mavs’ rotation and doesn’t disappoint
- Coming into the season, many believed acquiring Aminu for the league minimum was an absolute steal. The precedent didn’t come to fruition till a break out game against the Houston Rockets (ironic huh?) on January 28th. Once Aminu was able to crack Coach Carlisle’s rotation he went on a tear. During a 7 game span Al-Farouq Aminu stuffed the stat sheet while playing excellent defense. He boasted per game averages of 8.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2.3 steals, in just 26 minutes of action. During that span the Dallas Mavericks went 5-2. Aminu brought intensity and just the right amount of nasty off the bench with his non-stop motor. Among small forwards, Aminu ranked 6th in DRPM behind only premier defenders in Draymond Green, Tony Allen, and DPOY Kawhi Leonard. Aminu went mano a mano with the MVP runner-up, James Harden, in the post season and displayed his potential. Mavs hope to ink him to a new deal but his services will be in high demand.