Mark Cuban and the Mavericks have been silencing critics since the enigmatic proprietor purchased the team thirteen years ago. The Mavs defied the critics in 2006 by making it to the NBA Finals when many people thought they couldn’t. They defied the critics once again in 2011 by returning to the NBA Finals and taking down the Miami Heat for the franchise’s first NBA title. There are always fans, media and haters second guessing the moves Cuban makes, and the upcoming season will be no different. The 2013-14 season is fast approaching and the team Cuban and Co. has assembled will have to answer the critics again.
Although there are question marks surrounding how this group will play together, there is still excitement and a great chance for a deep run into the playoffs. Obviously it all starts with Dirk Nowitzki. Any team that has Dirk will have a chance to win. Nowitzki was hampered by injuries last season, but with a healthy Dirk returning this season the Mavs are already better off from the get go. Maverick fans know what Nowitzki is capable of, but what about the new guys?
One of the new guys on the roster is one Mavs fans are very familiar with. He was a key piece in the Mavs’ Finals run in 2006 and Dallas is hoping he can do the same thing this season. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I am talking about Devin Harris. Harris averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game for the Hawks last season. His numbers were even better in the postseason. To go along with Harris, the Mavs also added Spanish point guard Jose Calderon. Calderon averaged 11.3 points, 7.1 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game last season.
The additions of Harris and Calderon are great, but one of the biggest signings in the offseason for Dallas was Monta Ellis. Ellis is the type of playmaker that fits perfectly alongside Dirk Nowitzki. Ellis can score, rebound, create his own shot and get others around him involved as well. Ellis’ numbers took a slight dip that past two seasons while he was in Milwaukee, but expect them to jump back to where we are accustomed to seeing them when he takes the court for Dallas. Coach Carlisle and the Mavs’ coaching staff will find ways to put Ellis in a position to succeed and if he performs up to his ability, he will take a lot of pressure off his teammates.
Guards were not the only new additions to the roster for the upcoming season, size was added as well. Dallas brought in veteran 6-foot-11 center Samuel Dalembert and 6-foot-7 center/forward Dejuan Blair. The combinations of Nowitzki, Dalembert, Blair and Wright will give the Mavs a strong presence in the paint and give the team the depth they will need to battle through the Western Conference.
With all of that being said, yes, there are a lot of new pieces on this team and they will have to learn to play together during training camp and the early part of the season, but Mavs fans should have high hopes. This franchise has a history of overcoming the odds and achieving their ultimate goals. We won’t know exactly what this team is capable of until they open the regular season on October 30 against Atlanta, but based on the roster alone, this team will have success. Ellis, Harris, Calderon, Dirk, Marion, Carter, Dalembert and Wright are all players any NBA team would want and when you combine them all together on one team, they have the potential to do big things.
Will this team put the critics in their place? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t bet against Cuban and the Mavericks.