15) Dallas Mavericks 41-41 in the 2012-2013 season. 10th in the West. 4th in the Southwest.
The Mavericks were champions of the NBA in 2010-2011 season, yet now on their third season since, their team hasn't gotten back to the level they played at to win the title. They let Tyson Chandler go and have been waiting for big free agents to help Dirk in Dallas. However, the big free agents keep passing up on the chance to play with the Mavs, making them go for cheaper talent and try to build a sleeper team in the West, picking up Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert. Will it be enough to make any noise in the West? We'll see if Dirk's still smiling at the end of this year.
Acquired: Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Devin Harris
Drafted: Shane Larkin (#18), Ricky Ledo (#43)
Lost: Darren Collison, Elton Brand, Anthony Morrow, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman
Starters: Jose Calderon (PG), Monta Ellis (SG), Shawn Marion (SF), Dirk Nowitzki (PF), Samuel Dalembert (C)
Bench: Brendan Wright (C), Vince Carter (SG), Jae Crowder (SF), Devin Harris (PG), Wayne Ellington (SG)
Up: Monta Ellis - Monta gets another chance on what might be the best team he's ever been on. Known for being a volume scorer, Monta will get more opportunities to have open shots being paired with marksman Dirk Nowitzki. No matter how iffy his shot selection is, Monta keeps getting these roles, and pairing up with a future Hall-Of-Famer might just be the best opportunity Ellis will have in his career. He could put up big numbers this year.
Down: Devin Harris - Ever since Harris' days in New Jersey leading the ship ended, his career hasn't been the same. Harris has bounced around from Utah to Atlanta and now to Dallas where he has never really been able to find a groove on any team. Now he's backing up veteran Point Guard Jose Calderon, and it looks like his career will be set as a backup from now on. Tough times for a guy who had high expectations for his career after being drafted 5th in the 2004 draft. Tough times indeed.
X-Factor: Shawn Marion - The veteran was one of the big keys when the Mavs beat Miami in 2011. Now the savy veteran is the only major piece other than Dirk still on the team. Now that he is on an expiring contract and the Mavs are looking to possibly rebuild, whatever happens to him will be the key for Dallas this year. What will they trade him for? The future, or possibly a better player? Could they even keep him? A lot of the future will be decided on his contract and how they use him either on the court or in a trade to bring in more talent.
Question to Ponder...Is it time to completely blow it up?
Dallas has been a team that has made it clear they need to rebuild, but aren't really 100% sticking to their guns. Instead of deciding to trade it all away and tanking for draft talent and the future, or signing big free agents to big contracts, they are signing middle-ground guys like Ellis and Calderon to keep this team relevant but only for the lower seeds in the playoffs. The truth about that is it doesn't get you anywhere in the NBA. This team needs to decide sooner than later whether they go for gold to help Dirk have another shot at the title, or whether to blow it all up and look towards the future. They can't keep being a middle pack team.
Bold Prediction for the Dallas Mavericks: Monta Ellis will set a career high in Field Goals Attempted this season!
This team seems like one that's going to need Monta to shoot a LOT this year. The only two players to shoot at least 10 shots a game in the 2012-2013 season that are still on this team other than Dirk were Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. Yeah, this team needs a guy who isn't afraid to shoot like crazy. I would expect Monta to take at least 20 shots a game, which could put him very close to his career high in shots taken for a year, which is at 1611 shots taken in the 2010-2011 season. With a team filled with role players and Dirk looking for someone else to space the floor by making shots, I would expect Monta to shoot a TON. A new career high in shots taken could be possible.
Projected Record: 43-39 9th in the West, 4th in the Southwest.