NBA Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks

Spurs Mavericks Basketball
Dallas Mavericks fans know who their superstar is. (AP)

Projected Record: 48-34 (7th in West)


Spurs Mavericks Basketball
Dallas Mavericks fans know who their superstar is. (AP)

Head coach: Rick Carlisle
Projected record: 48-34 (7th)
2013-14 record: 49-33
2013-14 ORtg: 109.0 (T-2nd)
2013-14 DRtg: 105.9 (22nd)
Players in: Al-Farouq Aminu, Tyson Chandler, Eric Griffin, Richard Jefferson, Ivan Johnson, Jameer Nelson, Chandler Parsons, Greg Smith, rights to Emir Preldzic
Players out: Vince Carter, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Bernard James, Shane Larkin, Shawn Marion, rights to Tadija Dragicevic
Projected Starting Lineup: Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler

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As always, this team will live or die with Dirk Nowitzki. If he can put together another solid season and keep Monta Ellis from shooting 25+ times per game, this deep, talented Mavericks team should surprise a whole bunch of people.

They’ve reacquired Tyson Chandler, a large cog in their championship-winning squad in 2011, to patrol the paint, and added Jameer Nelson, the odd man out on a young Orlando Magic team, to run the offense. Chandler Parsons should be a star in the NBA soon enough, but it probably won’t be this year.

This Dallas team is going to be scary good offensively, The theoretical starting five of Nelson, Ellis, Parsons, Dirk and Chandler have been the creation of many mad-scientist NBA 2K Fantasy Drafters in the past, and imagining Mark Cuban as a deranged Dr. Frankenstein only sweetens the deal.

At point guard the Mavericks will employ Jameer Nelson and Raymond Felton, both of whom have boasted solid NBA careers but have recently transcended into the zones of “too good to be on bad teams” and have landed in Dallas. Both players can hit from long-range, although at a major downgrade from Calderon’s 44% clip in 2013-2014, and will punish teams for collapsing on Nowitzki and Ellis.

However, what is lost from Calderon is gained immensely from the addition of Tyson Chandler. With the ball-dominating Anthony in New York, Chandler’s ability to score around the rim was altered, mostly gaining his point off of second chance rebounds. But now, surrounded by sufficient passers and selfless, relatively speaking, passers, Chandler should have a valuable season similar to his championship-winning season in 2010-2011 with Dallas.

Parsons is an average defender, and could be an upgrade over Marion at this point. The Parsons-Ellis fast-break hype train should be among the leagues best this season. And just imagine teams either deciding to allow Dirk his way in the post or doubling him for the quick kick out to a wide-open Parsons shot from three. I’m drooling already.

Their immediate bench should be among the league’s best, boasting a second team that could’ve beaten the 76ers last season with Felton, Harris, Aminu and Wright. However, without a great backup behind Chandler, players like Tiago Splitter and Kosta Koufos should have season-highs against the Mavericks.

Ironically, if you were to swap Nowitzki and Dwight Howard, Dallas would be a bonafide Finals contender right now. Alas, they’ll have to settle for a potentially tasty first-round matchup with Houston, in which I could see the deeper, more experienced team coming out on top.