Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks season preview

Projected starting line-up

G Jason Terry
G Devin Harris
F Josh Howard
F Dirk Nowitski
C Erick Dampier

Jerry Stackhouse
DeSagana Diop
Eddie Jones
Devean George

Last year
What a season Dallas had. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Let's start at the beginning. They just came out of a 6 game lose to the Miami Heat in the 2006 finals. Up two games to none and having a 13 point lead in the 4th quarter of game 3, at that point it was pretty much ring sizing time in Dallas. Of course we all know what happened at that point so no need to replay the entire series. When it was all said and done, I think that Dallas felt such disappointment in the fact that they were in such control of the series until that 4th quarter, that coming into 2006-2007 they had both the experience and knowledge that they could beat anybody but also most importantly they had that fire and drive inside them to make up for the 2006 finals. With a slight adjustment made to the starting line up after a 0-4 start to the season, they showed just how mentally prepared they were to take the championship by winning 67 of the next 78 games. Even after a 0-4 start, talk about 70 games was in the air. I don't think anyone was ready just yet to make these guys the number one favorites to win it all, the Spurs and Suns are still in the league, but I doubt anyone could have predicated what did end up happening to Dallas in the playoffs. Actually...that's not completely true. Of the 15 games that Dallas lost, 3 of them were to the Golden State Warriors. In fact the only team in the league that Dallas did not beat was Golden State who was headed by former Maverick coach Don Nelson. And who should Dallas get in round one? Now I am not saying that I predicated a Golden State win, I didn't, BUT I did think that Golden State had more then a slight chance at pulling it off. 6 Games later, one of the best regular seasons in league history ended with the greatest upset in league history. Dirk got his MVP wearing a suit in a studio and not in his warm-ups in center court. So what happened? How did this 67 win team get so dominated by one team? The knowledge that Don Nelson has about this Dallas team is amazing.

Re-signed Jerry Stackhouse
Re-signed Devean George
Signed Nick Fazekas
Signed Brandon Bass
Signed Eddie Jones

Well I guess we shouldn't have expected them to blow up the team or anything like that. But what do you fix on a team that won 67 and lost in the first round? The reason they lost to Golden State was because of the inabilty to deal with the style of play that Golden State uses. Do you change everything just to deal with one average team? Eddie Jones played well for Miami, Stackhouse could start on almost all the teams in the league and he is coming off the bench for Dallas. But besides Eddie, it's going to be the same team next year.

Well I can't see this group all of a sudden becoming shit. That's not going to happen. This team will still be a plus 50 win group. With Disco Dirk and J-Howard leading the team, they are still one of the elite no matter what happened in the playoffs. But obviously every other team is going to be watching tape when preparing for playing the Dallas Mavericks. And I am sure Golden States performance will be viewed many many times when it comes time to develop a strategy. And most importantly will be the fact that coming into this season, unlike when they lost to Miami in 6, they don't have that same time of fire and drive from what happened in the playoffs. They have embarrassment. And the league MVP had to spend all summer long hearing about how he didn't deserve his award. (He did, the award is specifically for the season and he was the MVP for the season) I see a team that can very easily go 60 wins once again this year. But also a team that will have a very tough time once again in the playoffs. Is it possible to have a team that can only perform at the highest level during the regular season, and not have the type of talent needed for the playoffs? Ether way, I am looking forward to the Golden State vs Dallas games this season.

What to watch for
1) Golden State - Can Dallas beat Golden State? 4 games during the season, let's see who wins.
2) Defeated mentality - They worked their asses off to win an emotional 67 games, everything they did meant nothing when they lost in the first round. Will they see any reason to put in that same effort during the regular season this year?
3) Disco Dirk - He was rightful MVP of the season. What will he do for an encore?

Predication -
In the regular season, this team will still be a beast. It's the playoffs that will be hard to predict for this team. But since this is not the playoffs we are working on right now, I do think they are in for a big regular season.

Between 62 and 66 wins this season with a 1st place overall in the West

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