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Chandler Parsons becoming Mavs focal point on and off the floor

For many years, part of the Mavs’ pitch to free agents was the chance for them to play with Dirk Nowitzki. And why not? At the peak of his career, Nowitzki was an MVP-caliber player every season, a perennial All-NBA guy and All-Star. Accolades aside, he was never considered a ball-stopper offensively and he’s just a good dude in general.

The possibility of playing with Dirk is still a positive to players in the league today, make no mistake. He’s still a well-liked player, and he still landed a spot on the All-Star team in 2015 despite playing in his 17th season. Now, however, it appears there’s a new attraction in town: Chandler Parsons.

While Nowitzki remains the face of the franchise, Parsons is arguably the team’s most important player moving forward. At just 27 years old, he’s approaching his physical peak. This upcoming season will be his sixth in the league, so there’s still plenty room for him to grow both on and off the floor.

Free agents typically look for situations that are not only appealing right now, but also two or three years down the road. Parsons, who the Mavs signed as a free agent last summer, is already a very good player but has the chance to be an All-Star-caliber guy as more offensive responsibility is shifted his way. Last season he averaged 15.7 points on 12.6 shots per game, and the 17.1 points he averaged per 36 minutes was a career-high.

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Free agency is officially in full swing

In effect, the new NBA season starts today.

That’s because July 1 is the first day of free agency, when all 30 NBA teams have freedom to talk to every free agent from every team.

The Mavs, for the fourth summer in a row, have among the most cap space to work with in the league. Optimism is high this summer, though, that Dallas will be able to land a big-name free agent to give its core a a boost alongside Dirk Nowitzki and up-and-comer Chandler Parsons.

But before we begin worrying too much about players the Mavs could land, it’s important to refresh ourselves with who the Mavericks already have under contract. That list, though relatively short, includes Nowitzki, Parsons, Devin Harris, Raymond Felton, and Dwight Powell. Dallas also holds the rights to international point guard Petteri Koponen, in addition to its two draft choices in wing Justin Anderson and Indian center Satnam Singh.

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Melvin Hunt joins Mavs coaching staff

Melvin Hunt, most recently an interim head coach for the Denver Nuggets, has joined Rick Carlisle’s staff, the Mavs coach confirmed.

Hunt, 45, led the Nuggets to a 10-13 game in 23 contests at the helm during the 2014-15 season. Before that, he’d coached and scouted in the Rockets, Lakers, and Cavaliers organizations. He played four years at Baylor University and began his coaching career at Temple High School in Temple, Texas.

Carlisle announced the move immediately before the NBA Draft Thursday night, and confirmed the move Monday.

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How Justin Anderson stacks up as a perimeter defender

One thing that’s happened in the NBA within the last decade is we’re seeing more and more wing players facilitating offensively. Just this season, for example, players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant (when healthy), and the Mavs’ own Chandler Parsons at times handled a bulk of the playmaking responsibilities for their respective teams, and the list doesn’t come close to stopping there. Nowadays, every team has multiple players who can attack the basket and make things happen on the outside. No longer is running offense exclusively the point guard’s job.

That means wing defenders must be very multi-talented. Not only must defenders beat their men to their spots on the floor, fighting through screens and misdirection in the process, but also must be able to contest dribble-drives and shots at the rim. If you’re guarding anything between a point guard and a small forward — and even at times a power forward — you’d better be quick with your feet and even quicker with your hands.

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