The Dallas Mavericks dropped the ball on snatching Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, but they did have a low-key off-season. The Mavericks followed up their 2011 title-winning year by being swept in the first by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Dirk, at 33 years old, is the main focal point for Dallas entering the 2012-2013 season, but will they be worthy of playoffs?
Key Additions: Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand, Darren Collison
Key Losses: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Brendan Haywood, Ian Mahinmi
Projected Starting Lineup: Chris Kaman (C), Dirk Nowitzki (PF), Shawn Marion (SF), O.J. Mayo (SG), Darren Collison (PG)
Dirk Nowitzki will still be the focal point for this team in transition. He will be asked to carry most of the offensive load, even if you look at his postseason numbers, Dirk was nearly averaging 27 points a game. He still has the offensive swagger, but he will also be asked to lead the Mavericks like never before. Dallas’ success is indicative of Dirk’s success, they need one another to make the playoffs. With that being said, Dirk’s health, as of late, is something to worry about.
Darren Collison has something to prove after losing his starting spot in Indiana late last season. His sharp quickness and speed will be a focal point in Dallas, and will help transition the Mavericks’ offense to full compete with the other quick-paced offensive schemes in the Western Conference. Collison’ speedy game will be a change from a team that was used to Jason Kidd’s surgeon-like distribution.
O.J. Mayo is another player that should play with a chip on his shoulder as he went from starter to sixth man for the Memphis Grizzlies. He wants to prove he can be productive in an offense, and isn’t an inconsistent gunner. Consistency is key with Mayo, and Dallas needs his added offense, but more importantly needs to be efficient.
Expectations: Some are deeming this team to miss the playoffs; these are the people who are focusing on what Dallas missed this summer (re: D-12, D-Will) and not focused on what they gathered. They have the makings to be a sleeper team in the Western Conference, but that’s only if all the gears work together to create a smooth running engine.
Record Prediction: 41-41; 7th-8th seed