This is an article of pure optimism.
Remember the team that pushed the Spurs to seven games last year? No, not the Thunder with Durant; no not the Heat, with Lebron. That team was the Dallas Mavericks and they were actually up in the series 2-1. Since then the Mavs have improved. They declined to bring back Marion and Carter, and Calderon, a pure shooting point guard, but limited offensively otherwise, and a very mediocre center. They brought in a solid NBA point guard, a top 8 small forward in the NBA, and Tyson Chandler, a player who won the Defensive Player of the Year award two years ago, just a year after helping the Mavs win the NBA title. There is no doubt that the starting five for the Mavericks is more talented than the starting five last year. The depth is a question mark, as is the defensive abilities of all five starters except Tyson Chandler.
Parsons is an under-rated player, with a well rounded game. He will combine with Dirk and Monta to present a very respectable “Big 3.” Nelson will take over Calderon’s role as the team manager. He will slow the game down when it needs it and will defer to Monta when need be. Tyson will never score 20 but he will never have less than 8 rebounds and a block. It’s easy to say the Mavs of last year could have defeated the Spurs. They could have defeated the Blazers. Then the Thunder would have been a tossup, but we’ll never really know.
The Mavericks won’t have people believing they’re a top 6 team in the league, but there is no doubt they got better. While the Rockets got worse, the Blazers and Warriors have the same team. The Heat and Pacers certainly got worse. Realistically there is a top 5 and then a drop off in talent. Those five are the Cavs, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, and Bulls. Then there is a second tier of the Mavs, Blazers, Wizards, Heat, and Warriors.
Of the second tier teams the Dallas Mavericks stand apart. They are a well-rounded team with players that complement each other very well. They are not the San Antonio Spurs in the sense of being everything that a team should be, but I believe they are the second most well-rounded team in the west. Each player on the team has his role and they play within their abilities, with a possible exception of Monta Ellis, but again that’s his role, really.
They are 1-1 against the Thunder in the last few years in playoff series. And this team is a lot better than the 2012 squad that lost. The Clippers seem like the Kings of 2001-2004, a team that should make the Finals every other year that simply can’t get it done. This team, the Clippers, had the best point guard in the league, the second best power forward in the league, a top 10 coach, and had A LOT to play for and still couldn’t push the Thunder to seven. So I am indeed proposing a Mavs-Spurs Western Finals.
Here is how: 1-Thunder 2-Spurs 3-Clippers 4-Warriors 5- Mavs 6- Blazers 7- Rockets 8- Suns/Grizzlies. After the first round and entering the second round we have Thunder vs. Mavs and another Spurs vs. Clippers that will continue to end with Spurs winning, similar to the Kings that couldn’t topple SA or LA. The Spurs wait on the Mavs, while watching the Cavs-Bulls East Finals that has already begun, since they both won in five games. They wait…and they get older. Then, although unlikely, the Mavs shock the NBA world and win in 6 games in Dallas. LeBron wills his team to a Game 7 victory and the Cavs come in tired to the NBA Finals. Cavs-Mavs. And once again, LeBron can’t get past the Big German and his team and the Mavs defeat the Cavs in 6 games to win their second title in five years.
Kevin Love shoots poorly under the big lights. Kyrie is slowed by double teams. LeBron is passive and clogged in the lane by Tyson. And Dirk, knowing that he has just two seasons left, averages 28 and wins the NBA Finals’ MVP. It is a bit farfetched, but I can envision it, much more so than I can for the Blazers, Rockets, Warriors or even the Clippers. Beating the Thunder and Spurs will be tough. But was it not tough when Dirk and his Mavs defeated Kobe/Phil, Durant/Westbrook, and then Lebron/Wade/Bosh in six weeks? Is defeating the Spurs, Thunder, and Cavs that much more difficult? Parsons has the potential to be the best small forward in Mavs history if he stays in Dallas for 8 seasons. Chandler is an adequate defender and Dirk is Dirk.
Only time will tell, let’s wait and hope.