DALLAS — With Saturday’s announcement that guard Mickey McConnell was waived by the Dallas Mavericks, the team’s 15-man roster entering the regular season opener on Wednesday was set.
The Mavericks now look to build off a 4-4 preseason record before taking the court Opening Night against the Atlanta Hawks when the games begin to actually count in the standings.
With hopes of seeing his new-look squad evolve into a true championship contender, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle enters the upcoming season stressing the importance of playing collectively as one unit. That wasn’t the case during the Mavericks’ final exhibition outing, according to the coach, as the Mavs concluded the preseason last Friday night with a 98-77 home loss to the Indiana Pacers.
“We made a lot of mistakes that are kind of beat-yourself mistakes,” Carlisle confessed after Friday night’s loss, “and we’ve been talking about it all training camp that one of the calling cards of this team has got to be that we don’t beat ourselves and we did a lot of that (Friday night). … We’ve got to do better.
“The difference between being where you want to be and not is sometimes fractional. We’ve just got to stay the course and keep working. I believe in these guys. I mean, we’ve got enough experience, and we’ve just got to put it together and do the little things well.”
Committing 25 turnovers that led to 30 points at the other end of the floor for the Pacers, the Mavericks’ miscues ultimately fed into their own demise. That can’t be the case during the upcoming season, however, if the Mavs hope to return to the playoffs after seeing their 12-year stretch of consecutive postseason appearances end following a 41-41 campaign.
Meanwhile, after an up-and-down preseason, the Mavericks will quickly switch gears before a daunting schedule in the month of November, attempting to integrate nine new faces on the fly as well while trying to return the team to an elite status just three seasons after claiming the first NBA title in franchise history.
“I’ve seen teams go 0-8 during the preseason and have a (heck) of a year during the season. But also I’ve seen teams go 0-8 during the preseason and have a (bad) year. I think it all coincides,” four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion said.
He added: “I can’t sit here and say what’s what. You know, you don’t know if you’re a contender until you actually make the postseason. It’s a lot of teams that look good on paper, but once they get into the season it goes from sugar to (bad), so it’s just a matter of going out there and getting it done. We’ve still got to get it done. At the end of the day everybody feels like they can win a championship. But who really can, though?”
Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center when they open up the regular season Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks. The game will air locally on Fox Sports at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.