This offseason was full of its ups and downs as a Mavericks fan. The ups being the possibility of hauling in not one, but TWO cornerstone players.
One of the players coming off a fantastic season showing true dominance from the center position that with all due respect to the great Tyson Chandler, the Mavericks simply haven’t ever seen in the Dirk era or even before. The other, although he’s never been named an all-star, there’s no questioning his importance and stability as a floor general that he brings to the Grizzlies starting 5 at a position that is a luxury to be solid at in the NBA. The dreams of having a solid core that would not only help Dirk compete for a championship before his retirement, but set pillars for life for the post-Dirk era filled the minds of Mavs fans everywhere.
All of these wishful thoughts came crashing down in a domino like effect when Hassan Whiteside made us all sit overnight constantly refreshing our SnapChats to see what decision he was going to broadcast to the world. Followed by the sting of the Grizzlies signing Chandler Parsons, a growing fan favorite, only to be followed by the final domino to fall; the signing of Mike Conley.
Let’s take a look at my predicted final product roster that the Mavs front office and Rick Carlisle both will be sending out to suit up for the Mavs:
PG – Deron Williams/J.J. Barea/Jonathan Gibson
SG – Wesley Matthews/Devin Harris/Seth Curry
SF – Harrison Barnes/Justin Anderson/Nicolas Brussino
PF – Dirk Nowitzki/Dwight Powell/Quincy Acy
C – Andrew Bogut/Salah Mejri /A.J. Hammons
First things first let me say this much, do not give up hope on this years Mavericks squad, and let me tell you why with 3 reasons:
1. Rick Carlisle
For anyone that has followed the Mavs since the beginning of Rick Carlisle’s tenure as head coach you can not deny his importance on the court and off as a head coach. Whether it’s him tapping in to the potential of younger players, Chandler, Crowder, Aminu, Anderson; or him extending the playing times of solid and established veterans such as Peja Stojakovich, Stoudemire, Elton Brand, David Lee, Zaza Pachulia and even the great Dirk himself, he’s always putting players in a position where he feels they will succeed best. As head coach in a league that is ever-changing (his roster included) he’s managed to keep the Mavs afloat above the .500 record for his 8 seasons as head coach, one season ending at .500 which featured O.J. Mayo and Mike James as a starting backcourt. That is over 380 wins under his belt with the Mavs alone. In the 2011 run for the championship, minus Dirks heroic playoffs he was the key factor in the gameplan that was set forth to knock James and his big 3 off their high horse. With Bogut (who is in my mind an obvious upgrade at the 5 hole over Pachulia) he gives the Mavs the defensive anchor they’ve so desperately been searching for since the Tyson days, and Harrison Barnes was one of the top recruits coming out of highschool and college has shown plenty of flashes that there’s talent there to build on and has plenty of playoff experience under his mere 24 year old belt. Not to mention he’s shown durability to make it through an entire year without letting the injury bug bite too hard. Bottom line is, give Carlisle a lineup and he’ll have them performing to the best of their abilities with a team first mindset.
2. We got younger
Every year as another season rolls around the “experts” pick apart the Mavericks for every reason they can find and one that’s like a broken record we hear every year is about how old the Mavs are. Granted we’ll still have Dirk who is 38, but the next oldest guy on our roster is Devin Harris and he’s 33. It was obvious that an age revolution was needed for the Mavs in a more fast paced run and gun NBA. For instance our FA acquisitions ages are as follows:
Harrison Barnes – 24
Seth Curry – 26
Quincy Acy – 25
Dwight Powell – 25
That’s to go along with Hammons, 24, and Justin Anderson at merely 22. Besides the acquisition of Bogut who’s 31, and the reacquisition of Dwill who’s at 32, the Mavs did a nice job of providing a jolt of youth and athleticism to a lineup that might have desperately needed it.
3. Dirk is still Dirk
Come on, need I really say more? The media once again jumps on the age wagon for reasons why the Mavs will be unsuccessful, most fluently in the case of Dirk Nowitzki. “This year expect to see a big drop off in numbers for Dirk”, “This year Father Time catches up to him”, but really let’s let the numbers do the talking for a second. 2 years ago Dirk averaged 17.3 points on 45% shooting. This past year, Dirk averaged 18.3 points on 44% shooting. I don’t see any kind of severe drop in production based on ole “Father Time”. Not to mention Dirk played in 75 of an alluded 82 game schedule, when especially most of those games he missed were DNP-CD.
Pretty impressive for the old man. Until i see the drop in production with my own eyes I won’t believe that it will happen. Dirks shot is timeless and he has no problem getting defenders to jump on his post game to get his shot whenever he wants it still. So keep your heads up Mavs fans, there’s still hope in this season yet. With a head coach, youth, and a future HOF player anything is possible in this league.