It was just a few months ago, when we saw a solid Dallas Mavericks team exceed expectations. The Mavericks finished the season 49-33, giving them the eighth seed in a loaded Western Conference. The Mavericks went on to face a heavily favored Spurs team, and they gave them their toughest battle of the postseason.
The Mavericks took the Spurs to seven games, being led by Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki. While many believed that the “ball dominant”, Ellis wouldn’t fit with Nowitzki, they were wrong. It is arguable that Ellis is Nowitzki’s best teammate since Steve Nash. He averaged 19 points, 5.7 assists, and 1.7 steals last season. In the postseason he averaged 20.4 points.
The Mavericks lost a few key pieces in the offseason. They traded Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and Samuel Dalembert to New York for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Replacing Calderon with Felton wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but they did land Chandler, who was a crucial part of the Mavericks title run in 2011. The Mavericks also signed Jameer Nelson, who seems to be a solid replacement for Calderon. Although, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Devin Harris starts, as he played brilliantly in the postseason.
The Mavericks big splash of the offseason, was the signing of Chandler Parsons. Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4 assists last season. Parsons will give the Mavericks a terrific third option, behind Nowitzki and Ellis. The Mavericks also signed Al-Farouq Aminu, to help fill Vince Carter‘s departure. Aminu is a terrific rebounding wing, who can defend multiple positions.
The Mavericks have one of the better teams they’ve had in recent years, but it is hard to see them compete with Tim Duncan and company. The Mavericks should be a top six seed this season and a lock for the playoffs, but they still have ways to go, as the Spurs are looking for back-to-back titles.