First week will determine where Mavs stand in West

dallas mavericks

In an instant, the Dallas Mavericks can start the 2013-14 season 5-0 or just as easily, 0-5. The Mavs open their first week against five teams that made the playoffs this past season.

They start the season off at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks were defeated in six games against the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. Without Josh Smith in Atlanta, the Mavericks look to start off the season on a good note.

The Mavs then head to Houston for a date against the newest Rocket, Dwight Howard. The Rockets seem poised to make a playoff run this year with the new big man to go alongside the likes of James Harden, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik. Houston was defeated by Howard and the Lakers in the playoffs.

The team then comes home to face Memphis and the Lakers before finishing the opening week on ESPN against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Both Memphis and LA’s seasons were ended by the San Antonio Spurs, both by sweeps.

The Mavs are coming off their worst season in 13 years, excluding the 2011-12 lockout shortened season. They finished 41-41 and missed the the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

Some of Dallas’ woes came from Dirk Nowitzki missing the first 27 games of the season and 29 overall. It was the most games missed from Dirk in his career (the previous high was nine games).

The Mavericks were swept by the Thunder last season and have lost the last eight matchups with them, including the playoffs. They also finished 1-3 versus LA last season.

If the Mavericks are going to compete and become a Western Conference contender once again, they’ll have to win against some superior teams. There is plenty of season, but if the Mavericks come out the first week 5-0 or 4-1, they can show the rest of the league that the Mavs are truly back.

The projected starting five will be Dirk and Marion as well as newcomers Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert.