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Eric Griffin hopes to build on strong summer showing entering training camp

He seemingly flew in out of nowhere. But, when the highflying Eric Griffin finally landed, he had already made his presence felt last month with the Dallas Mavericks’ summer-league squad.

Introducing himself to the basketball world with a posterizing dunk over former Maverick Shane Larkin to tip off the Las Vegas Summer League, Griffin launched himself into consideration to fill a roster spot for the team this upcoming season. He then left Las Vegas on a high note following his best all-around game shortly after signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Mavs on July 18, scoring 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, adding three rebounds and three blocked shots to boot as Dallas routed Phoenix with a blowout 88-62 win.

Now, Griffin will try to build on his impressive summer, looking to earn a spot on the Mavericks’ regular-season roster when training camp commences on Sept. 30.

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Stars are aligning for Jameer Nelson to be Mavs’ starting point guard Opening Night

With Raymond Felton slated to miss the first four games of the 2014-15 schedule and fellow veteran Devin Harris thriving in a reserve role a season ago, the stars may be aligning for newcomer Jameer Nelson to be the Dallas Mavericks’ starting point guard on Opening Night.

After starting 611 of his 667 total career games during stints with Charlotte, Denver, Portland and New York, Felton will miss out on a chance to challenge for the first-unit lead guard spot vacated by the departing Jose Calderon. Meanwhile, Harris may once again be called upon to lead the Mavericks’ second unit, especially after the Dallas bench took a hit with the free-agent departure of Vince Carter.

Which brings us to Nelson, who signed with Dallas this summer during free agency after spending his entire 10-year career with the Orlando Magic.

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Dirk Nowitzki’s leadership may be needed more than ever this upcoming season

With an NBA MVP, a Finals MVP and 12 All-Star appearances to his credit, it’s easy to see why Dirk Nowitzki is the face of the Dallas Mavericks.

Pushing the Mavericks back into the playoffs last season for the 13th time in the last 14 years, Nowitzki once again had no problem putting the franchise on his back. However, with the free-agent departures of veterans Vince Carter and Shawn Marion, Nowitzki will be called upon more than ever to be a leader for the new-look Mavs this upcoming season.

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Devin Harris says Mavs are deeper, poised for long playoff run

He was a key ingredient to last season’s success during his second stint with the Dallas Mavericks. Now, after a summer of moves by the team’s front office, combo guard Devin Harris says the Mavericks are poised for a deep run into the playoffs.

Joining SiriusXM NBA Radio last Friday, Harris couldn’t contain his excitement for the upcoming season. Harris also made it clear that he feels the Mavericks are better positioned this season to make a run at the NBA championship thanks to upgrades down the roster this offseason.

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Keeping Dirk Nowitzki fresh is collective effort for Mavs in ’14-15

Averaging his second-fewest minutes in a season since his rookie campaign, 12-time All-Star power forward Dirk Nowitzki was able to remain fresh while leading the Dallas Mavericks during the 2013-14 schedule.

Returning to All-Star form following an injury-riddled ’12-13 season, Nowitzki led the Mavericks back to the playoffs by averaging a team-high 21.7 points a game. Perhaps more importantly, Nowitzki clocked just 32.9 minutes an outing, playing in 80 games and coming up just shy of another 50-40-90 season by connecting on 49.7 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from 3-point range and 89.9 percent at the free-throw line.

All of which led to Nowitzki passing Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 10th on the league’s all-time scoring list just one season after averaging his lowest output since his rookie campaign at 17.3 points a game following arthroscopic knee surgery. However, with the pending free-agent departure of Shawn Marion and lack of tested depth behind him at the power forward position, Nowitzki could be asked to shoulder a heavier dose of minutes.

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Ricky Ledo is hungry to prove himself entering Year 2

Although he didn’t see much time on the court for the Dallas Mavericks during his rookie campaign, swingman Ricky Ledo says don’t count him out when divvying up minutes in the backcourt this upcoming season.

Ledo appeared in just 11 games for the Mavericks during the 2013-14 season after sitting out a year of basketball at Providence. He averaged just 1.7 points while shooting 35.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from three-point range in limited playing time for the Mavs. But, after averaging 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 39 appearances for the Mavericks’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Texas Legends, Ledo could be primed and ready for a much more productive season following a strong summer-league showing.

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Mavs’ 2014-15 schedule tidbits, matchups to highlight

Returning to the scene of the crime, the Dallas Mavericks now know that the 2014-15 campaign will begin where last season’s playoff run ended.

Wednesday, the NBA announced that the Mavericks will open the regular season in San Antonio on Oct. 28 in a nationally-televised matchup on TNT, taking on the defending champion Spurs as the Southwest Division rivalry is once again ignited in the first of four matchups this upcoming season.

The Mavericks pushed the Spurs to seven games during last season’s first-round playoff series, proving to be the champs’ toughest test en route to the title. Now, the new-look Mavs will get an early-season measuring stick in a benchmark and marquee matchup before also hosting the Spurs at American Airlines Center on Dec. 20 and then again on March 24, which is the start of a home-and-home series that concludes in San Antonio on March 27.

The opening matchup sets the stage for the Mavericks to appear 18 times on national TV this season, playing four games on TNT, seven on ESPN, seven on NBA TV and three times on ESPN Radio.

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Can Gal Mekel move up Mavs’ loaded depth chart at point guard?

Hoping not to become the forgot man in the Dallas Mavericks’ backcourt, second-year guard Gal Mekel believes that a summer of basketball will boost his chances of cracking the rotation this upcoming season.

Playing in 31 games as a 25-year-old rookie during the 2013-14 campaign, Mekel averaged just 2.4 points and 2.0 assists before undergoing surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee on Jan. 17 that ended his season. The two-time Israeli MVP also struggled with his perimeter shooting before sustaining the injury, connecting on only 34.9 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from behind the arc in his first year.

Still, after looking comfortable in his second summer running the Mavs’ system while helping to lead Dallas’ summer-league squad before competing with the Israeli national team, Mekel believes that he will see much more success in Year 2.

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Chandler Parsons-led youth infusion figures to help Mavs’ rotation

Gone are veteran leaders Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. However, in comes an influx of young talent that’s hungry to taste success in a Dallas Mavericks uniform.

Opting to get younger this offseason following the free-agent signing of 25-year-old budding star Chandler Parsons, the Mavericks continued to add 20-somethings down their roster while also aligning 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki with veterans capable of competing for a championship now. Finishing the 2013-14 season tied for the fifth-oldest team in the league with an average age of 28.5 years old, the Mavs still managed to sprint to a 49-33 record before pushing the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Now, the Mavericks hope that an injection of young blood will help get them over the hump.

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