Monta Ellis will average 22+ points a game
Monta Ellis was by far the biggest addition to the Mavericks team this off-season. He may not come with the best reputation, but does have true ability. His scoring has declined significantly since leaving Golden State, but it seems like he’ll finally be the 1A offensive option in a starting lineup once again. Quite simply, he’ll have more opportunity to score.
Now, opportunity or not, Ellis has always liked to shoot. Keep in mind, though, that he’s played for some pretty poor scoring teams, and has probably felt pressure to put up big numbers each night. I think playing alongside Dirk will take loads of pressure off – and guys like Marion and Carter will compliment his skills nicely. Look for his scoring to better reflect his ability this year, and for his assists to actually go up as well.
This will not be Vince Carter’s last year in the league
Earlier this year, Mark Cuban was quoted as saying how bad he felt for Carter, who’s entering the third of a 3-year contract with the Mavs. Turning 36, many expect the ever-explosive Vince Carter to be on his way out. However, it seems that Vinsanity is pretty happy in Dallas, and is also comfortable with his role as a bench-player/mentor for the younger guys. Mark Cuban recognizes this, and will probably go out of his way to keep the solid presence around.
Shane Larkin will be relevant by season’s end
The Mavericks have to get younger, plain and simple. With that in mind, the first round selection of Shane Larkin was not an uncalculated one. The Mavericks traded down twice, garnering future picks and cash in the process. By pick 18, they had come away with a pretty decent point guard. Only 5’11, he has a lot of work to do before he’s ready to be a starter, but most would admit that the talent and commitment is there. Look for Rick Carlisle to ease Larkin, who is still recovering from ankle surgery, into games as the season goes on. By March, though, don’t be surprised to see him out there 15 minutes a game.
The Mavericks will fall short of the playoffs
The above statement may be hard to accept, but it’s easy to understand when you look at the NBA Western Conference. You will find that 5-7 teams are just about guaranteed to make the playoffs. It seems that the Mavs will be competing for the 6-8 spot with the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Jazz.
Also consider that the average age of the Mavericks starting lineup is 32. This isn’t to say that an older team can’t be successful – just look at the San Antonio Spurs. However, the probability of injury is high, and the Mavericks simply are not the Spurs. Considering the fragility of this team and the stiff competition in the conference, it’s not even guaranteed that Dallas will finish better than their .500 2012-13 season.
How do you think the Dallas Mavericks will do this season? Comment below and let us know!