The Dallas Mavericks just had their Media Day yesterday which means that training camp is right around the corner which means the NBA season is only about a month away! This was another ‘interesting’ offseason for the Mavs but there’s reason to be enthusiastic with this team heading into the 2016-2017 season.
There a couple of new faces this year on the Mavs starting lineup (which has been the norm over the years) in the likes of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. But they’re not the only reason why I think Dirk has his best supporting cast since the 2011 championship season. So before we start with the new let’s start with the old in the likes of Wesley Matthews and Deron Williams, two additions from the 2015 offseason who I expect to play huge roles this season.
First off Wesley Matthews got paid last year and I mean he got PAID to be a significant piece of this Dallas team but unfortunately expectations were unreasonable last season as he was coming off a torn Achilles injury. Now entering year 2 with the Mavs he’s had a chance to have a healthy offseason and get back in shape pre-injury. He looked great at Media Day and doctors always say it takes time for a player coming off such a devastating injury. So if you’ve hopped off the Matthews bandwagon I suggest you get on as I expect Matthews to be in rhythm starting opening night. He’s one of the league’s best 3 point shooters and best defenders when healthy, we’ll see that again this year more consistently as he looks to be 100$.
Dallas native Deron Williams had somewhat of a resurgence last year as he had multiple memorable 4th quarters where he led the Mavericks in crunch time scoring. Who can forget his gutsy performance in game 2 in round 1 of the NBA playoffs against the Thunder. He has good court vision and can flat out score the basketball from anywhere on the court which makes him a great fit for Rick Carlisle’s system. With Chandler Parsons no longer with the team expect D-Will to handle the rock a lot more and create off the dribble on a more consistent basis. The key with Deron Williams is health as he’s had nagging injuries through the past few years so let’s just hope he’s healthy when it matters down the home stretch.
Now the new guys, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut will more than replace the loss of Zaza Pachulia and Chandler Parsons in the starting lineup. Andrew Bogut is an enforcer around the rim and one of the more underrated defenders in the NBA, he’ll compliment Dirk Nowitzki very well.
Harrison Barnes is a very good defender in his own right and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with alongside Wesley Matthews. Now I will caution that I believe Barnes has offensive limitations compared to what Chandler Parsons can do and while he’s working with Carlisle on his ball handling skills, that will take time but he’s a gym rat and will come along steadily.
Best of all the Mavericks have some young exciting players off the bench none more exciting Justin ‘Simba’ Anderson. His athleticism and relentless is such a beautiful thing, and while sometimes he can get too excited this team needs that burning fire. The Mavericks are ready for him to roar in his 2nd year and you can expect big minutes from him off the bench.
The same could be said of Dwight Powell who the Mavs re-signed for 4yrs/$37mil and whom has already been said that his role will expand this season. His mid-range shot for his height is his strength, he’ll have to be more physical more consistently but I like Powell, especially his versatility to play multiple big men positions. So for those of my twitter followers who have been yelling for Powell to get more minutes you’re about to get your wish.
Seth Curry and Quincy Ace are two more new guys who are young athletics and are great projects for Carlisle to coach up. Seth can certainly shoot the heck out of the ball but still needs polishing in his overall game. Quincy is somewhat of a bruiser who has slowing started to add the 3 point shot to his arsenal. Add to them second round rookie A.J Hammons and you’re seeing a lot of new young blood on this Mavericks team this year.
I’m not putting any expectations on this Mavericks team just yet but this team has added much needed youth and athleticism all across their roster. Andrew Bogut and Wesley Matthews are the two guarantees on the starting lineup that will have a massive impact around Dirk, Deron Williams as well as long as he’s healthy. Harrison Barnes is the biggest question mark but also the most intriguing, how well he translates from being a role player to one of the main guys will determine how well this team gels and far it’ll go.
This is the best supporting cast I’ve seen surrounding Dirk since 2011 and that is both a good thing and kind of a sad thing when you think of all the failures from previous years. However, Dirk is always Dirk and even he has to be excited about the new young additions this team has made and so should you. Go Mavs!