Parsons, Chandler, Felton and Nelson boost the Mavs roster…
The Dallas Mavericks fell to eventual champions the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs last season, but Rick Carlisle’s men look much stronger this time round.
The Mavericks ended the regular season with a 49-33 record which was just enough to sneak into the playoffs in eighth spot in the Western Conference.
While their form during the season didn’t capture the imagination, the way they pushed the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs undoubtedly had an entirely different effect.
The Spurs went on to win another title after coming through a testing 4-3 series win, but Dallas showed enough last year to suggest that coupled with the additions they have made this summer, they are putting themselves back in position to compete higher up the West.
If Mavs core stay healthy then Carlisle will be heading back to the playoffs
Dallas have a formula. Keep their superstar healthy, surround him with new faces that have talent, and compete with the best the West has to offer.
That star is of course Dirk Nowitzki who continues to lead the way and with Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Monta Ellis supporting him, the franchise has a shot at producing something special this season.
While the strength of their starting five is not in doubt, the one glaring weakness of this team is whether or not they can depend on production off the bench on a consistent basis. The five names above will undoubtedly play integral roles, if they can all stay healthy, but it remains to be seen if coach Rick Carlisle can get even scoring across a full game over a gruelling season.
In addition, there are several new faces on this team, and it will potentially take time for them to build up chemistry on both ends of the court. However, when they do so, they look a strong unit that is certainly capable of building on the success of last year.
Chandler will bring defensive solidity and rim protection while Parsons will bring scoring and an all-round game that will benefit the Mavs despite his weight concerns after bulking up over the summer.
Carlisle released a statement to apologise to the free-agent addition after publicly discussing his weight, but both men appear on the same path and are moving forward.
However, perhaps Nowitzki and Ellis still hold the key for the team after their inspired play at times last season, and with Jameer Nelson they now have a point guard capable of running the floor as well as scoring and dishing.
As mentioned above, if the Mavs stay healthy and the team gels after an initial teething period, then they will undoubtedly be making an appearance in the post-season this year.
Expect them to be around the 50-win mark once again, and although the Western Conference remains as competitive as ever, they have enough within their ranks to push for a top six finish.
Only Houston and Portland gave up more points per game in the top eight last season, but having addressed their defensive needs whilst adding some key scoring options to support Nowitzki, this looks like a roster set for success.
PG: Jameer Nelson
SG: Monta Ellis
SF: Chandler Parsons
PF: Dirk Nowitzki
C: Tyson Chandler
Sixth Man: Devin Harris/Raymond Felton