UA-59049186-1 NBA Team Preview: Dallas Mavericks - Good if it Goes

NBA Team Preview: Dallas Mavericks

Offseason

Draft Picks: 46. C. AJ Hammons

Key Acquisitions: SF. Harrison Barnes, C. Andrew Bogut, PF. Quincy Acy, SG. Seth Curry

Key Loses: SF. Chandler Parsons, C. Zaza Pachula,

Player Profiles

Projected Starters:

PG. Deron Williams: 6’3, 200

  • Decaying former all-star PG who, on some nights, appears he’s only still in the NBA to collect a check.
  • Declining athleticism and poor health robbed him of what he once was. He still plays primarily as a PnR player who can score but he’s far less efficient and not nearly consistent enough.
  • Not a good defender and he gets torched by the more explosive PGs in the league due to his lack of lateral quickness.

SG. Wesley Matthews: 6’5, 220

  • 2-way SG that had a down year playing through injury.
  • He’s a scorer on and off the ball. Handle good enough to be a secondary ball handler that finds shots for himself and really get hot from 3.
  • Can turn up the pressure on the ball defensively and make things tough for his opponents.

SF. Harrison Barnes: 6’8, 225

  • 2-way wing capable of playing 3 positions with nice size that scores off the ball.
  • Offensively he has the skills to play 2-4. He likes to post smaller defenders but so far most of his career has been primarily a spot up shooter.
  • Quality defensive player that uses his size and length very well. Can contain penetration and is difficult for most to shoot over.

PF. Dirk Nowitzki: 7’0, 245

  • Hall of fame PF with supreme offensive skills still fighting father time.
  • Being used more as a spot up or Pick n Pop option in his old age but still capable of getting the ball in his spots and getting buckets on his own. His 1 legged fade away still remains 1 of the games best moves.
  • At his best he was an above average defender who is now on the verge of being below average. He still plays quality positional defense in the interior but it’s getting tougher for him to defend with bigs being required to do more away from the basket and in PnR situations.

C. Andrew Bogut: 7’0, 260

  • Big Australian center that is brute yet nimble and very versatile.
  • Offensively, Bogut is 1 of the best role playing centers in the game. He’s a very good passer and moves the ball even better. He’s not a post up threat nor does he shoot the ball well but he’s a terrific finisher.
  • Elite defensive player that is 1 of the most difficult bigs in the league to post up against. He plays with a lot of power and is fantastic and denying offensive bigs position inside. He’s also an elite rim protector and a great rebounder.

 

Bench:

PG. JJ Barea: 6’0, 185

  • Undersized scoring PG with a lot of quickness and savvy to his game. Had the best year of his career last season at age 31.
  • Very good at getting into the paint and breaking down defenses. Was a very good shooter from 3 and mid-range last season.
  • Struggles defensively due to his size and lack of length. But he does bring effort on that end.

C. Dwight Powell: 6’11, 240

  • Highly active athletic big man that brings it on both ends.
  • Offensively he’s a high flyer that can throw it down. He also loves to shoot the ball from mid-range and flirted with a few 3s but his jumper from mid-range is inconsistent at the moment and he should probably leave the 3s alone.
  • He’s a plus defender that flies around on the defensive end and brings great energy on that end of the floor. Not a shot blocker despite his ups.

PF. Quincy Acy: 6’7, 240

  • Physical and highly active combo forward.
  • Offensively he can contribute in different ways. He’s effective running the floor in transition or attacking the basket as a slasher or dive man via PnR. He’s also developed into a good shooter from both 3 and mid-range.
  • Decent defensive player that has the athleticism and body type to match up with multiple positions.

SF. Justin Anderson: 6’6, 228

  • 2nd-year wing with elite measurables and athletic ability. 6’11 wing span and a 43” vertical.
  • Still finding himself offensively but already has the tools to be an elite slasher. He’s a horrible jump shooter at the moment.
  • Was a good defender as a rookie and with his tools could be elite 1 day.

SG. Seth Curry: 6’2, 185

  • Undersized off guard with elite shooting ability.
  • Big time 3 point shooter who can knock em down spotting up or on the move.
  • Doesn’t have the tools to succeed on defense. Not nearly athletic enough to defend on the wing at his size.

PG. Devin Harris: 6’3, 185

  • Old declining PG who’s speed and athleticism have left him.
  • Average 3 point shooter that is forced to take more than he should due to his athletic decline and having to play off the ball more.
  • Majority of his current value lies on the defensive end where he’s still a plus defender. Still fast enough when you factor in his size and length to be a deterrent.

C. AJ Hammons: 7’0 250

  • Rookie center who has talent, but slipped in the draft due to character and effort concerns.
  • Offensively he has the tools to crack a NBA rotation even as a 2nd round rookie. He’s got legit range out to around 20 feet and is a good athlete which makes him a quality face up threat as he can attack the basket if defenders try to crowd him to take away the jumper. He’s also a decent post player offensively.
  • The effort isn’t always there, but he was once of the best shot blockers in college basketball and his big frame and 7’3 wing span make him an ideal interior defender.

 

Breakdown:

The Mavs have an intriguing starting 5 for 1 of the game’s best coaches in Rick Carlise to try and utilize. Point guard is the biggest weakness as it’s been proven that Deron Williams just doesn’t cut it anymore. There will be some nights where he has some pretty good games but overall he can’t defend NBA point guards anymore and is too inconsistent on offense to be a starting PG. Joining Williams in the backcourt is Wes Matthews who’s a very good 2 way wing when healthy and fully on his game. He’s going to shoot a bunch of 3s and if he can make over 38% of them like he’s done throughout the majority of his career it’ll really help the Mavs offense. The frontcourt is led by Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki who if we’re being honest we have to expect drop off from him this year. It happened to KG 2 years ago and Duncan and Kobe last year. As great as he is father time spares no one. However, even if he does start to resemble a shell of himself he’ll still have good value as a stretch 4. Joining Dirk in the front court are 2 players who came over from the Warriors. Andrew Bogut will man the paint at center while Barnes joins Matthews on the wing at SF. This is a big move for Barnes as he figures to have more offensive responsibility here than he did in Golden State and more opportunities to create for himself. I believe coach Carlise is going to make great use of Bogut and his excellent passing skills in the high post. Bogut also gives the Mavs a defensive presence at center they’ve longed for since Tyson Chandler left.

The Mavs bench isn’t great but it’s better than you think or it will be by the time Carlise gets done with it. J.J. Barea was very good for the Mavs off the bench a year ago and should be able to duplicate that success again this year. He’ll serve as the 6th man and spark plug for this Mavs team most likely. Quincy Acy came over from the Kings and figures to be another important vet off the bench for this team probably contributing at both forward spots and maybe even some small ball 5 if needed. The Mavs have some potentially young and unproven contributors looking for bigger roles this season after them. Dwight Powell, Justin Anderson, and Seth Curry all are looking for increased minutes and usage and could get it this year off the bench for the Mavs. All 3 have their flaws, but all 3 also have specialties they really thrive at. And then there’s Devin Harris, what do you do with him? It’ll be interesting to see how the Mavs make use of all their pieces.

Expectations:

If any other coach besides Greg Popovich was coaching this squad, I’m not sure I’d even consider them making the playoffs in the West this year. However, I have so much respect for Rick Carlisle that I believe he has a chance to do it with this group. A big factor in that equation is how effective Dirk can be at his age and whether or not he hits the end of career wall. However, if Dirk can play at the level he did last year the Mavs will definitely be in the playoffs picture. After striking out again in free agency Mark Cuban utilized the Kevin Durant sweepstakes in another way to get better. With the Warriors looking to create cap space to bring him on Cuban was more than willing to take 1 of the better centers off the Warriors hands in Bogut for practically nothing and then extend a max offer sheet to Barnes knowing that the Warriors were no longer in a position, nor did they have the desire, to match. I think Barnes is capable of doing a lot more offensively than he was asked to do in Golden State and I expect coach Carlisle to figure out the best way to make use of him. Overall I’d like to say I can see the Mavs getting into the playoffs but even with Carlisle’s brilliance I think they’re on the outside looking in. Just not enough fire power this year to get it done.

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