Last season: 49-33, 4th Southwest Division (8th Western Conference), Lost 4-3 to SAS in Quarterfinals
Notable Acquistions: C Tyson Chandler (trade w/ NYK), G Raymond Felton (trade w/ NYK), F Chandler Parsons (free agent, HOU), G Jameer Nelson (free agent, ORL), F Charlie Villanueva (free agent, DET), F Al-Farouq Aminu (free agent, NOP), G/F Richard Jefferson (free agent, UTA)
Notable Losses: F Shawn Marion (CLE), G/F Vince Carter (MEM), G Jose Calderon (NYK), C Samuel Dalembert (NYK), G Shane Larkin (NYK), F/C DeJuan Blair (WAS)
Burning Question: Does Monta Ellis really have it all?
Last year, Ellis was great as a complement to Dirk Nowtizki. He averaged 19 points, 6 dimes and four rebounds on 45% shooting, the most complete single season stat line of his career. With the new additions, Ellis should continue to improve his overall game.
“I’m coming home.” With that short, bold statement, LeBron James instantly redeemed…Wait a sec, wrong preview. We’ll save that for later.
But as a matter of fact, another special “homecoming” took place that sent rippling effects across the entire Western Conference. Tyson Chandler’s talents were dealt back to Big D. And trust us, it was a very big deal in Dallas.
Chandler’s return signals a powerful, last-ditch effort for Dallas to return to prominence (and shore up a team that was ranked 18th in points allowed) with superstar Dirk Nowitzki leading the charge. Re-acquiring a key member of the Mavs’ only championship team sent Dirk a message that they still believe in his ability to take them all the way.
First, Dirk re-established his unshakable loyalty by taking a pay cut to the tune of 3 years/$25 million, which is far, far below market value for the future H.O.F.’er. Once he took the shorter, less lucrative deal, Dallas responded by creating one of the deepest rosters they have ever had.
They “stole” versatile forward Chandler Parsons from the Houston Rockets, traded for Chandler, Raymond Felton and Greg Smith, and signed Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson, Jameer Nelson, and Charlie Villanueva to deals.
Seven new players are added to Coach Rick Carlisle’s squad that took the eventual-champion Spurs to Game 7 last spring. There a lot more weapons to play around with this season. The new additions should make the dynamic duo of Dirk and Monta Ellis much deadlier.
Chandler Parsons will thrive playing off of an established shooter (Dirk) and penetrator (Ellis) and Tyson Chandler will be more focused after getting a second chance with the Mavericks.
Things are certainly looking up for Dallas but their window is certainly not as wide as it used to be. Dirk, though still elite (avg. 21.7 ppg in 2014), is nearing the end and needs to play slightly less minutes for more longevity.
If the Mavericks’ new (and old) parts mesh quickly, however, they could be a dark horse title contender come playoff time.
Projected Starting 5:
Take Dat Wit You:
For those who are utterly confused by the title of the article, here’s a little backstory. During a game in the 2011 season, Dirk joined the broadcast booth while recovering from injury. After a monster block by Tyson Chandler, well, this (sorta) happened:
Raymond Felton, Devin Harris and Jameer Nelson are three veteran PGs who know how to run the show. Felton was outstanding in his initial stint with New York in 2010 and Harris & Nelson are both former All-Stars.
Felton will play with a chip on his shoulder after an awful season last year, Harris was Dallas’s sixth man and leader of the bench unit and Nelson brings great shooting and toughness to lineup.
Who starts? Well, that remains to be seen. But Coach Carlisle has plenty of different looks to throw at defenses in 2015.
Best Case: It takes a lot of talent and a little bit of luck to breakthrough in the Western Conference. If Dallas meshes early and gets favorable matchups in the playoffs, they can reach the Finals.
Worst Case: The rotation never fully comes together, they struggle to defend (once again) and they narrowly miss the postseason.
3rd, Southwest Division (6th Western Conference), First-Round Exit
“Take dat wit you!”- Dirk Nowitzki