Dallas Mavericks will be exciting this season

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images /

Although Dallas Mavericks training camp is still about two months away, they’ve given us plenty to get ready for next season.

Despite missing the playoffs for just the second time in 17 seasons, the Dallas Mavericks had a pretty successful season. It could be due to their landing the number nine pick in the NBA Draft or their recent summer league performance. In any case, there should be lots of fun ahead when they go to camp in September.

Abundance of youth

The mass amount of talented, young players stands out immediately about the Mavericks this next season. They took Dennis Smith, Jr. in the first round and he’ll likely make contributions right out of the gate.

He represented himself well in the Las Vegas summer league last week, averaging 17.3 points in six games. Smith didn’t need to have the ball in his hands to make plays, though. His 2.2 steals per game tied him for seventh among players that had at least three games played. It will be interesting to watch what he does in a larger sample size of the NBA preseason schedule.

As for guys with more NBA experience under their belts, the Mavs will also bring back some guys that excelled in 2016-17. Guard Yogi Ferrell played 36 games with Dallas last season and averaged 11.3 points per game. While he’s likely not superstar material, he did show that he has great value off the bench or out of a rotation as a role player. Don’t overlook his solid .877 shooting percentage from the charity stripe, either. Give me a guy any day that can hit his free throws regularly.

Guard Seth Curry also showcased his potential in significant playing time. In 70 games, he put up 12.8 points per game while hitting 85% of his free throws. Entering his fourth season, the biggest question about him is whether he’ll build on a good year or grow stagnant. In all, the point guard position will have some excellent competition for a starting spot. But youth isn’t all they have.

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Accomplished veterans

Nobody can talk about Dallas’s veteran leadership without first mentioning Dirk Nowitzki. “The Blonde Bomber” just turned 39 years old and will go down as an NBA legend.

He’s embraced his role on the squad as a mentor to a lot of the younger guys and his presence alone is something of incredible value to the Mavs. Although he doesn’t have the longevity that he did early in his career, he’s still a great shooter and leader for a team that’s (finally) building on its youth.

Forward Harrison Barnes will return with Dallas after leading the team in scoring last season. At 24 years old and four prior years of NBA experience, he’s a great player to base the offense around. He could benefit himself and the team a lot more to grab rebounds a little better, but overall he’s their biggest scoring threat. Barnes also gives the point guards an outlet and will be the first one they look for with the ball. If they feed him well, the assist totals will soar as he racks up the points.

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An outstanding coach

Head coach Rick Carlisle is among the best in the league. To realize just how much of a gift he is to the Dallas Mavericks, look no further than the 2010-11 season. He did so much with that roster, bringing the city of Dallas their first NBA championship.

His use of the roster and ability to take the best from everyone on the court makes him one of the NBA’s finest. Most experts knock him as a guy that can’t develop young players that well, but he will have plenty at his arsenal this season to try and disprove that.

His defensive philosophy and ability to shut down opposing stars (see LeBron James in the Finals) make him great. The biggest challenge for him this season will be to try and bolster the defense of a team that didn’t defend too well last year. If he can coach them to at least an average level, then this team will compete with anyone.

Next: Dennis Smith Jr. is the real deal

Don’t expect a second championship this next year. That’s not what this camp or the upcoming season will be about. But what we can look for, is to see a lot of young talent come out and show their athleticism. With good youth, a group of mentors and a coach that can outwit anyone, this team will show promise.