Who would have predicted? Obviously the Dallas Mavericks players and team brass had high hopes. They kinda have to. But how many fans and media really would have predicted this? 50 wins is no small task.
Before the season began the schedule looked like it would be holding the Mavericks back early on. The veteran roster would be put to the test early and often, playing 7 back-to-backs just 21 games into the season. Young teams hate playing back-to-backs imagine how the aged Dallas Mavericks feel about them.
In addition to the difficult starting schedule, the Mavs had the task of integrating a substantially remixed roster. When the 2013 offseason failed to secure Dwight Howard, Mark Cuban scrambled to execute Plan B. Plan B was more than just a specific signing but a considerable shift in philosophy. Previously Cuban cherished his financial flexibility because it enabled him to potentially sign max free agents like Howard. After 2 consecutive years of failing to lure the targeted max free agents (Howard in 2013 and Deron Williams in 2012), Cuban officially junked his previous philosophy and decided to collect as much talent as possible for contracts greater than one year.
That’s a novel idea (sarcasm intended).
Considering both of these sizable obstacles, it was widely accepted the Mavericks would start slowly but should be able to improve as the season progressed. With any luck the Mavericks would be in the hunt for the seventh or eighth playoff spot in the west. And that was a fairly optimistic expectation.
Where we stand now, the Mavericks certainly aren’t locked in a top seed (they are currently 6th in the west), nor are they blowing people away with their dominating play. But what they are doing is competing in almost every game and beating the teams they are supposed to beat. With the exception of the Atlanta game they have played smart veteran basketball.
Over the next few months the team will really meld. Defensive assignments will be better executed and the Mavericks will play more like a team. They are positioning themselves well this early part of the schedule. As time progresses we should see more wins against top-flight teams (like the Trail Blazers last night) and a serious playoff push, rather than just a first round and out playoff team.
This team is surprisingly successful early on. Expectations should be raised and excitement should be building. The Dallas Mavericks are on pace for 50+ wins this season and things are only looking better.