The Dallas Mavericks maintain hope of being a contender this season despite being essentially ruled out in the Western Conference.
The 2015-16 NBA season is almost here.
Even though the Dallas Mavericks aren’t expected to be contenders in the highly competitive Western Conference this year, they might actually be pretty good.
But who am I to say, right?
We get it, the Mavs went 0-7 during the preseason, but let’s remember that record-wise, those games are meaningless. Preseason games are about teams figuring out their strengths and weaknesses.
Yes, we all love wins, but head coach Rick Carlisle was more focused on evaluating his current roster to see what players can actually impact this Mavericks team and help them become a threat in the league.
There are a lot of things the Mavericks learned from the preseason.
To start with, Dirk is still Dirk.
Yes, forward Dirk Nowitzki may be aging, but his shot is still money. With his size and athletic ability, the ‘Big German’ is going to score a lot of points. Needless to say, there are still many defenders who have trouble guarding his fade away jumper.
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Point guard Deron Williams and shooting guard Wesley Matthews looked good on the court. Neither played many minutes during the preseason, but they did get on the court during the final road trip in a 102-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Williams showed he can still play point. He only finished with six points while playing limited minutes in the first half. Williams looked comfortable in Rick Carlisle’s system. He ran the offense with poise, made some great passes and his pick-and-roll timing was nearly perfect.
Sure, Williams can work on his defense, but offensively, he looks confident, he has a decent post-up game and will not hesitate taking the ball to the rim. This guy can make some things happen and should be fine in a Mavs uniform.
Matthews didn’t get many minutes either, finishing with just seven points in limited work. But even after recovering from a torn Achilles, Matthews seemed to be moving quite well on the hardwood.
He went 4-for-8 of shooting, but looked solid behind the perimeter. His height and speed is definitely an asset to this Mavs squad. Matthews is a prolific defender and if he can overcome his injury, he’s going to make this team even better.
Small forward Chandler Parsons didn’t play at all in preseason.
But think about the return of Parsons, along with the trio of Williams, Matthews and Nowitzki.
Coming off a knee injury from last season, Parson’s has a lot to prove this year. He’s already been a good fit in Dallas and has plenty of range. Now it remains to be seen what kind of impact he brings this season.
This season may not look bright for the Mavericks, but their future does. Still, there’s no reason to believe they can’t surprise a lot of teams in the league this year.
Not to be overlooked are centers JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia, point guards J.J. Barea and Devin Harris and also shooting guard John Jenkins. Even small forwards Justin Anderson and Jeremy Evans can make good role players. As the season progresses, they’re going to develop rapidly under Carlisle.
If the Mavericks can get beyond-expected performance out of these players, there’s a possibility they could be a dark horse in the Western Conference and a possibly seventh or eighth-seed playoff contender in May. Everyone is doubting them, but there’s a good reason to have hope.
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