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Old 09-30-2006, 02:16 PM   #1
hamburgerbuddy33
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Season Preview
Dallas Mavericks

They were so close. Not just to the title, but to erasing all of those memories of clutch games that have come and slipped through the fingers of one of the most impressive franchises of the last six years.

Now, a freshly beefed-up roster is going to try and repeat their success of last year while trying to tag on those crucial two wins that eluded them last June.

Related Info
NBA Previews Archive
All in all, the additions to this club aren't that substantial since most of the incoming bodies will directly replace an outgoing one: Austin Croshere for Keith Van Horn, Greg Buckner for Adrian Griffin, Anthony Johnson for Darrell Armstrong, etc. So for the 2007 Mavericks to trump the 2006 variety in the Finals, should they once again get the chance, they are going to have to find the added wins elsewhere.





Of course, a team employing Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Devin Harris shouldn't have THAT much trouble finding a way to come up with two measly wins.

In all seriousness, this team has no glaring roster deficiencies to overcome, no off-court distractions, no one recovering from injury, no shortage of talent on the court, on the sidelines or in the front office, which leaves the Mavericks as the odds-on favorite in the West to repeat as representatives in the Finals. What happens there is going to be determined by so many factors that have yet to be decided, but all of this has never really been untrue about the Mavericks in years gone by.

The hitch with the Mavs has always been an inability to actually perform in the big games. For one reason or another, when pushed to the brink the Mavs always crumbled, and last spring was no exception. When they had every reason to be up 3-0 in their series with the Miami Heat, they began to feel the pressure applied by Dwyane Wade and they never found a way to alleviate it.

Everything about what the Mavs have to overcome this season is internal. They have got to find a way to not get flustered in the games that matter most. Generally, the truly great players in NBA history find a way to elevate their games to even greater heights in these situations, and year after year, as Nowitzki in particular strived for that historic kind of status, he and the Mavs fell short.

Nowitzki is unquestionably the greatest international player to ever suit up in the NBA, and now his legacy will be measured against the other greats in the history of the league, where his place among them is still very much up in the air. Nowitizki's skill set has maybe done more to change the way big men play the game than even Kevin Garnett's. His ever-evolving game typifies the kind of all-around skill set most modern-day big men strive for. His combination of outside shooting mixed in a guard's footwork and a big man's around the basket game make him among the most versatile players in NBA history, so he has that going for him. In last year's playoffs, Dirk dominated with 27 and 10 per game, but he was simply overwhelmed when his team needed him most. He seemed like he'd finally shaken off the reputation of not being a big-game player, and then he choked in the back half of the Finals and all the nay saying came storming back.

Who knows where Dirk or Mark Cuban's Mavs will ultimately place when looked back upon within the context of history. There are stories that are still being written each year they step closer and closer to their ultimate goal of a Championship. They have every conceivable piece they could ask for to get it, and now they just have to go out and prove they deserve it. I bet June can't come quickly enough.

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP

PG - Jason Terry

He signed his last contract with Atlanta short-term so that he could cash in later long-term. This summer, Jason Terry became one of the highest paid point guards in the league and it would seem that he'd have no regrets about how it came about.
Terry has spent years beating back the criticism that he wasn't an NBA point guard, and while he still isn't a floor general in the mold of his coach, he plays his role in the backcourt on this team to perfection and even if he's only a 3.8 assists per game kinda guy, the success he's brought to the team proves that sometimes statistics just don't suffice in telling the whole story about a players impact on the floor.

SG - Devin Harris

The two point guard backcourt employed in last year's playoffs was a rousing success, and there is no reason to think that it won't be permanently in use throughout the regular season as well. Harris gives coach Avery Johnson a chance to alternate which player is playing which guard spot as the game develops, a luxury more coaches would love to have if they had two backcourt mates that were as versatile as these two. Harris is a high-percentage guy who should stay within the arc at all times, but has the penetration abilities that are all the rage in the league now that hand-checking on the perimeter has been made illegal. He has a very bright future ahead of him, but if you watched the 2006 playoffs you'd know that already.

SF - Josh Howard

I'm going to ignore for a second the fact that he's looking for $10 million per year on his contract extension and talk about how this versatile swingman is primed to enter the conversation about who glues this starting lineup together. Once Howard found his way into this spot in the rotation last year, he worked twice as hard to keep it, and had a career year that showed why taking solid, do-it-all colligates in the draft is never a bad idea. His defense is ever-improving and fast catching up with his stellar inside-out offensive game. He's the kind of guy who never makes an All Star or All-NBA team, but take him out of the equation in Dallas and one of the league's strongest lineups begins to look a lot more pedestrian. He may not be worth $10 million per year, but his importance to this particular team may land him his contract demands anyway.

PF - Dirk Nowitzki

He is one of the best at so many areas of the game it's becoming unfair. When Dirk finds a way to elevate his team he'll truly enter that elite class of all-time power forwards. As it stands, he remains the kind of talent that dominates the time he plays in, but lack of overall team success (i.e. a title) sees his star diminish as time goes by (just ask Alex English about that). At least the Mavs know that he'll be in town for four more years after inking a three-year extension on his contract.

C - DeSagana Diop

A perfect example of hard work and tenacity paying dividends for a mediocre talent, Diop has found a way to anchor his play to the post and play solid, if unspectacular, defense for Dallas. He splits time here with Erick Dampier and won't set anyone's world on fire with his skill set, especially on offense, but the fact that the Mavs found a way to make this one-time bust of the Cavaliers a productive pro is a true indicator of how well-run this Maverick team is.
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Old 10-03-2006, 04:24 PM   #2
TDoug
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hamburgerbuddy33
Season Preview
Dallas Mavericks

They were so close. Not just to the title, but to erasing all of those memories of clutch games that have come and slipped through the fingers of one of the most impressive franchises of the last six years.

Now, a freshly beefed-up roster is going to try and repeat their success of last year while trying to tag on those crucial two wins that eluded them last June.

Related Info
NBA Previews Archive
All in all, the additions to this club aren't that substantial since most of the incoming bodies will directly replace an outgoing one: Austin Croshere for Keith Van Horn, Greg Buckner for Adrian Griffin, Anthony Johnson for Darrell Armstrong, etc. So for the 2007 Mavericks to trump the 2006 variety in the Finals, should they once again get the chance, they are going to have to find the added wins elsewhere.





Of course, a team employing Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Devin Harris shouldn't have THAT much trouble finding a way to come up with two measly wins.

In all seriousness, this team has no glaring roster deficiencies to overcome, no off-court distractions, no one recovering from injury, no shortage of talent on the court, on the sidelines or in the front office, which leaves the Mavericks as the odds-on favorite in the West to repeat as representatives in the Finals. What happens there is going to be determined by so many factors that have yet to be decided, but all of this has never really been untrue about the Mavericks in years gone by.

The hitch with the Mavs has always been an inability to actually perform in the big games. For one reason or another, when pushed to the brink the Mavs always crumbled, and last spring was no exception. When they had every reason to be up 3-0 in their series with the Miami Heat, they began to feel the pressure applied by Dwyane Wade and they never found a way to alleviate it.

Everything about what the Mavs have to overcome this season is internal. They have got to find a way to not get flustered in the games that matter most. Generally, the truly great players in NBA history find a way to elevate their games to even greater heights in these situations, and year after year, as Nowitzki in particular strived for that historic kind of status, he and the Mavs fell short.

Nowitzki is unquestionably the greatest international player to ever suit up in the NBA, and now his legacy will be measured against the other greats in the history of the league, where his place among them is still very much up in the air. Nowitizki's skill set has maybe done more to change the way big men play the game than even Kevin Garnett's. His ever-evolving game typifies the kind of all-around skill set most modern-day big men strive for. His combination of outside shooting mixed in a guard's footwork and a big man's around the basket game make him among the most versatile players in NBA history, so he has that going for him. In last year's playoffs, Dirk dominated with 27 and 10 per game, but he was simply overwhelmed when his team needed him most. He seemed like he'd finally shaken off the reputation of not being a big-game player, and then he choked in the back half of the Finals and all the nay saying came storming back.

Who knows where Dirk or Mark Cuban's Mavs will ultimately place when looked back upon within the context of history. There are stories that are still being written each year they step closer and closer to their ultimate goal of a Championship. They have every conceivable piece they could ask for to get it, and now they just have to go out and prove they deserve it. I bet June can't come quickly enough.

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP

PG - Jason Terry

He signed his last contract with Atlanta short-term so that he could cash in later long-term. This summer, Jason Terry became one of the highest paid point guards in the league and it would seem that he'd have no regrets about how it came about.
Terry has spent years beating back the criticism that he wasn't an NBA point guard, and while he still isn't a floor general in the mold of his coach, he plays his role in the backcourt on this team to perfection and even if he's only a 3.8 assists per game kinda guy, the success he's brought to the team proves that sometimes statistics just don't suffice in telling the whole story about a players impact on the floor.

SG - Devin Harris

The two point guard backcourt employed in last year's playoffs was a rousing success, and there is no reason to think that it won't be permanently in use throughout the regular season as well. Harris gives coach Avery Johnson a chance to alternate which player is playing which guard spot as the game develops, a luxury more coaches would love to have if they had two backcourt mates that were as versatile as these two. Harris is a high-percentage guy who should stay within the arc at all times, but has the penetration abilities that are all the rage in the league now that hand-checking on the perimeter has been made illegal. He has a very bright future ahead of him, but if you watched the 2006 playoffs you'd know that already.

SF - Josh Howard

I'm going to ignore for a second the fact that he's looking for $10 million per year on his contract extension and talk about how this versatile swingman is primed to enter the conversation about who glues this starting lineup together. Once Howard found his way into this spot in the rotation last year, he worked twice as hard to keep it, and had a career year that showed why taking solid, do-it-all colligates in the draft is never a bad idea. His defense is ever-improving and fast catching up with his stellar inside-out offensive game. He's the kind of guy who never makes an All Star or All-NBA team, but take him out of the equation in Dallas and one of the league's strongest lineups begins to look a lot more pedestrian. He may not be worth $10 million per year, but his importance to this particular team may land him his contract demands anyway.

PF - Dirk Nowitzki

He is one of the best at so many areas of the game it's becoming unfair. When Dirk finds a way to elevate his team he'll truly enter that elite class of all-time power forwards. As it stands, he remains the kind of talent that dominates the time he plays in, but lack of overall team success (i.e. a title) sees his star diminish as time goes by (just ask Alex English about that). At least the Mavs know that he'll be in town for four more years after inking a three-year extension on his contract.

C - DeSagana Diop

A perfect example of hard work and tenacity paying dividends for a mediocre talent, Diop has found a way to anchor his play to the post and play solid, if unspectacular, defense for Dallas. He splits time here with Erick Dampier and won't set anyone's world on fire with his skill set, especially on offense, but the fact that the Mavs found a way to make this one-time bust of the Cavaliers a productive pro is a true indicator of how well-run this Maverick team is.


Houston is the wild card this year. But Dallas has the best team. Howard
is worth 8 mill. in the NBA and will get it from Dallas, but there are other teams that will pay 10. But Josh will be JHo and stay in Dallas. Hopefully Howard can play at least 70 games this year.
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