Will the Mavericks look different in the Playoffs or will they be the same team they were in the regular season? In Part 5 of our “Five Mavs’ Questions in Five Days”, we look if the Mavs will change their approach or stick to the plan.
I think it’s safe to say the Dallas Mavericks will be a different team in the playoffs. At least Mav fans better hope they’re different, because regular season Dallas Mavericks just weren’t getting it done. Without a winning record against the best-of-the-west, the Mavs do have a couple reasons for optimism.
First, the NBA playoffs are notoriously different from the regular season. The game slows down considerably. Teams do a better job at preparing for one another. They run plays to exploit weaknesses and scheme to protect themselves from their own weakness. Good coaches get a sizable advantage in the playoffs since preparation is where the best of them excel.
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Rick Carlisle is one of the best coaches in the NBA. If given time to prepare, he can out coach nearly everyone in the NBA (even Greg Popovich). He obviously needs his players to execute, but the fact that he’s putting them in the best possible situation to succeed is priceless.
Second, the Dallas Mavericks are an old team. They take plays off and sometimes even games off in the regular season. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler don’t have the same energy they once had. They can’t play 100%, 100% of the time. As I explained here yesterday – the top Maverick players will step up the intensity in the playoffs. In fact, they’ve already started.
Effort has been sporadic this season as the players try to gel with each other. This will change dramatically in the playoffs.
What will the Mavericks look like in the playoffs?
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That largely depends on the opponent they face. It would benefit the Mavericks if they could run a fast-paced offense and a stifling slow-down defense. Sadly those usually are not very matchable systems. The half-court offense will improve but the Mavericks need to push the ball offensively as much as possible. They are so dynamic and efficient they cannot afford to rely solely on the half-court pick and roll.
Defensively the Mavericks need to slow the ball regardless of who they play. The guard play from Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, and Rajon Rondo should be vastly improved given the gravity of the games. Al-Farouq Aminu figures to play a prominent role as will Tyson Chandler. Amar’e Stoudmire and Dirk will somehow channel their inner-defender and will provide some situational stops.
The Dallas Mavericks must be considered underdogs but don’t expect them to just roll over. They will be a different team in the playoffs and that’s good news for Mavs Nation.
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