The Dallas Mavericks have made several moves this off season that should have a significant impact on their performance this year. Yes, they did get rid of point guards Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin in a trade, but it was worth it to get center Tyson Chandler back in Dallas. Getting Raymond Felton isn’t too bad either, even if Felton is suspended for the first four games for gun related crimes.
They made a big splash in getting Chandler Parsons, which happened with a gutsy large offer sheet that Houston didn’t feel was worth even after missing out on Chris Bosh. It also wouldn’t have been possible if Dirk Nowitzki didn’t resign with the Dallas hometown discount rate.
Other key pieces the Mavs added besides Parsons, Felton, and Chandler include:
Jameer Nelson, former Magic All-Star point guard
Al-Farouq Aminu, former Pelicans small forward
Richard Jefferson, veteran small forward (Nets, Bucks, Warriors, Jazz)
So what does this all mean? It means that the Mavs have gone back to their 2011 championship strategy of having a veteran core. This time, they also have younger guys at the small forward position who, along with Monta Ellis, can get out and run in transition. Dallas has the pieces, but how will it all come together?
The point guard position is deep, with Nelson, Felton, Devin Harris, and Gal Mekel. I feel that the Felton suspension has locked Nelson is as the starter, which should have been the case anyway. When it comes to playing time, all four of these guys should see plenty of action throughout the season both at point guard and at shooting guard.
The depth at shooting guard is nothing like it is for point, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Monta Ellis is clearly the starter and should be the main offensive threat again, and Ricky Ledo is the only other shooting guard on the team. Ledo is coming off his rookie season, and hopefully can perform when he gets his chances like he has in the summer league. Besides him, point guards and small forwards will be rotated here whenever Monta needs a rest.
Small forward is also a very deep position, as the Mavs currently have five on their roster (Parsons, Aminu, Jefferson, Jae Crowder, and Eric Griffin). Parsons will clearly be the starter, but expect lots of playing time for Aminu and Crowder both behind Parsons and Ellis, and even Dirk. Griffin may see some time too based on his play during the summer league, and Jefferson will be that veteran player who may not play much until the playoffs.
Power forward in Dallas hasn’t changed much, as it’s still Dirk Nowitzki. Along with Ellis, he will continue to be a solid offensive contributor and will continue to rebound. Behind him, Aminu will see some time as well as Greg Smith and Brandon Wright. Smith and Wright are more for muscle on defense, where Aminu will be used in the offense-minded rotations.
Tyson Chandler is back in the middle, which will be a major upgrade from Samuel Dalembert. He brings a better inside presence on both ends of the court, especially on the defensive end. Both Wright and Smith will play at center as well, and Bernard James will be in the mix as well.
Overall, the roster looks very solid for this season. A lot of people are saying that Dallas is a dark horse to win it all this year, and it looks like they have the players to do so. Expect big things from the Mavs.