A much different Mavericks lineup will take to the court to start the 2012/13 NBA season. There's definitely been a lot of activity in Dallas during the offseason. Quite a new-look starting five will be starting off the season so let's take a closer look at each position.
Futures odds for the new season have been taken off the
board right now, but the Mavericks had been placed at +3000 to win the title
not too long ago. That puts them in tenth place among all competing teams,
alongside the Memphis Grizzlies and even the Houston Rockets.
In a rather surprising twist, Jason Kidd opted to leave
Dallas and join New York. To add a little salt on the wound, he even added that
the Knicks had a better chance to win immediately and that's what prompted him
to move on.
Taking over the starting point guard role will be Darren
Collison, who was brought in alongside Dahntay Jones from the Indiana Pacers in
return for backup center Ian Mahinmi. Mark Cuban had to move fast after Deron
Williams decided to stay with Brooklyn and, in all honesty, Collison isn't too shabby of a
Backing up Collison will be Delonte West, but that's only if
he decides to stay. The Mavs are trying to get him back on board, but interest
is high around the league for West, and he may just be tempted to find another
home. West would also get time at the two should he stick around.
Roddy Beaubois is another player that could get time at the
point, but there's a good chance he may not be coming back to Dallas either.
Vince Carter has been the starter at the two, but he's also
been getting playing time at the three under Rick Carlisle.
One of the big moves the Mavericks made was signing free
agent O.J. Mayo and he's definitely going to give Carter a run for his money
for PT. Mayo is obviously much younger, while Carter is definitely starting to
reach his last legs.
Dahntay Jones, Roddy Beaubois, Dominique Jones and Jared
Cunningham are also options at the two.
The starting spot here belongs to Shawn Marion, who provides
the Mavericks with terrific defense and is an all-around great teammate.
Considering they're a bit overloaded at shooting guard,
Carlisle should certainly be giving Carter more time at the three this season.
That will give Marion some much needed rest and provide the coach with a lot
more interesting lineups to utilize.
Then there's Jae Crowder, a rookie who's not expected to see
much court-time this season.
Let's see. Who on earth is going to start at power forward?
Oh yeah, some seven-foot dude who hits shots from just about anywhere.
Dirk Nowitzki was mildly disappointing by his standards last
season but remains one of the elite players in the game today. It was rough
from the beginning because of conditioning concerns. Let's hope he re-dedicates
himself during the summer and comes out swinging this season.
Nowitzki will be spelled by another new addition, Elton
Brand, as well as Brandan Wright, who came on strong as this past season wore
on. Brand was amnestied by the Philadelphia 76ers and was picked up at a
With Brendan Haywood gone and the Mavs falling out of the
running for Dwight Howard, center definitely emerged as a position that needed
Chris Kaman, who averaged 13.1 PPG and 7.8 RPG in an
injury-shortened campaign last season, agreed to terms and immediately becomes
the starting center. Health problems have always been a concern for Kaman, and
the Mavericks really need him at full strength for as long as possible.
As of now, the backup at the five appears to be Bernard
James, another rookie from this summer's draft. James played at Florida State
and was the number 33 pick.
There are some nice pieces here, headlined, of course, by Dirk
Nowitzki. If he can revert back to his unstoppable self from 2011, the
Mavericks will be in a good spot.
However, the Western Conference will be loaded once again
and a playoff berth is going to have to be earned. Nothing comes easy when
you've got teams like Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Memphis, and the two L.A.
teams in your way.
In the end, though, we think
the Mavericks will do enough to scrape into the postseason picture, perhaps
sealing as high of a seed as six. Their main competition will be Denver,
Portland, Utah and maybe even Houston for those last few spots in the West.