Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015-16 Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks

DALLAS MAVERICKS
[] 50-32
[] Offensive Rating: 110.3 (5th)
[] Defensive Rating: 107.1 (17th)
[] Net Rating: +3.2 (11th)
[] Eliminated in 1st round of NBA Playoffs
[] Coach: Rick Carlisle

The Mavericks had one of the busiest offseasons in the league, highlighted by their pursuit of DeAndre Jordan carrying out like a high school romance.  Jordan initially gave his word to Mark Cuban that he'd be joining the Mavs after the open of free agency.  However, the NBA's 10 day moratorium gave the Clippers a chance to slip back into the picture, and Jordan's Texas home, and that was enough to convince DAJ to go back to LA.  By the time the smoke had cleared, the Mavs had lost Tyson Chandler to the Suns, and the other viable options on the market at the C position had already found new homes.  It was the second personnel move to burn the Mavs in the last year (the Rondo thing didn't go well, did it?), and this one could sting even more.  Beyond the sour taste it left in the mouth of the Dallas organization, the bigger problem is the glaring hole it leaves on the depth chart.  The Mavs responded by grabbing Zaza Pachulia, Samuel Dalembert and JaVale McGee, who they hope can cobble together decent rim protection and efficiency in the paint.  However, even if that group hits its ceiling, missing out on Chandler/Jordan is going to sting.  Fortunately, the rest of the Mavs offseason was strong, as they added two quality upgrades to the starting backcourt in free agency, and got great value by drafting Justin Anderson with the 21st pick.  Still, the end result feels like a team that's probably lost a step on the rest of the Western Conference, after failing to secure a replacement for one of the few competent defenders on the roster.  They'll be in a dogfight for the final playoff spot out West.

Projected Starting Five

PG: Deron Williams - 6'3, 210 - 11th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
68
13.0
15.7
22.3%
50.4%
36.7%
.307
83.4%
.313
33.7%
14.9%

Williams' time in Brooklyn came to a disappointing end as the two sides agreed to a buyout this summer, as rumors swirled about his lack of professionalism and leadership.  Of course, the bigger issue was that Williams is about half of the player he was in 2011-12, the last time he made an All-Star team.  He'll get a fresh start in Dallas, an organization that is looking for a similar fresh start at the PG spot after the Rajon Rondo experiment crashed and burned late in the year.  If Williams can stay healthy, I think he'll have a bounceback year.  Maybe not to All-Star form, but to the point where he's at least an above-average starting PG.

SG: Wesley Matthews - 6'5, 220 - 7th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
60
15.9
16.1
19.8%
58.6%
38.9%
.592
75.2%
.193
10.8%
9.0%

The Mavs may miss Monta Ellis' scoring punch at the SG spot, but assuming Matthews bounces back from tearing his Achilles, he should be an overall improvement to the position.  Matthews is the definition of a 3-and-D guy, and the D part should mean more to the Mavs than the loss of Ellis' offensive creation.  Again, this is all based on Matthews recovering fully from his torn Achilles, which is far from a given, although he has stated that he'll be ready for opening night.

SF: Chandler Parsons - 6'9, 210 - 5th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TRB%
66
15.7
16.3
20.6%
56.7%
38.0%
.419
72.0%
.233
11.4%
8.1%

Parsons is exactly what you want out of one of the secondary options in your offense.  He's good in catch-and-shoot situations, he can create a little bit of his own offense, and he doesn't always need the ball in his hands to score.  He's not a great defender, but it's not like that cancels out his offensive value.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki - 7'0, 240 - 18th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TRB%
77
17.3
19.2
24.9%
56.0%
38.0%
.258
88.2%
.272
10.4%
11.0%

If Nowitzki has fallen off with old age, I don't see it.  He's still a really good outside shooter, still effective from the mid-range and his rebounding numbers haven't fallen far in the last couple years.  He turned 37 this summer, and you know he can't play forever, but if he's going to slow down, he hasn't shown any signs of it.  The only difference now is that it happens in a slightly reduced role: Nowitzki's 2014-15 Usage Rate is two full percentage points below his career average.

C: Zaza Pachulia - 6'11, 250 - 13th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FT%
FTr
BLK/36
73
8.3
15.6
19.1%
50.6%
16.5%
13.1%
19.9%
78.8%
.302
0.4


Pachulia seems like the most competent of the fallback options that the Mavs scooped up after being spurned by DeAndre Jordan.  JaVale McGee has more natural talent and ability, but Pachulia is much tougher and more trustworthy.  I have no clue who starts at C for Dallas this year, but Pachulia is my best guess.  This spot could've been Tyson Chandler or DeAndre Jordan, so, yikes.

Bench

PG: JJ Barea - 6'0, 175 - 10th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
77
7.5
15.1
21.2%
50.2%
32.3%
.312
80.9%
.175
29.5%
10.8%

Barea was solid during the 2014-15 season, minimizing his turnovers and scoring at an efficiency near his career rate.  He's not the ideal backup guard, but he works in limited minutes.

PG: Raymond Felton - 6'1, 200 - 11th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
29
3.7
12.4
20.7%
48.0%
29.4%
.321
80.0%
.142
21.9%
13.8%

Once a top five pick, Felton has spent a large portion of his career being a punchline, whether it's been for his felony gun possession charge or his issues managing his weight.  He wasn't good for the Mavericks last season in minimal action, and he shouldn't factor largely into the rotation this year.  He's certainly not any better than Barea or Harris.

G: Devin Harris - 6'3, 185 - 12th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
76
8.8
14.8
18.0%
55.9%
35.7%
.508
81.5%
.309
20.4%
12.5%

Harris is the most capable backup G the Mavs have, based on his ability to get to the FT line consistently, a usually reliable, if unspectacular jumper and versatility that allows him to play both guard spots.

SG: John Jenkins - 6'4, 215 - 4th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TOV%
24
5.6
15.9
17.8%
62.9%
40.4%
.525
84.2%
.192
7.0%
6.9%

Jenkins didn't get much playing time for the Hawks last year, but he made the most of it when he did.  Impressive showings include a 16 and 17 point performances in April and March respectively.  He should compete for SG minutes off the bench, and could steal some playing time from Felton and Barea.

SF: Justin Anderson - 6'6, 230 - Rookie
GP
PPG
RPG
APG
FG%
3P%
FT%
26
12.2
5.8
1.7
46.6%
45.2%
78.0%

The 21st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is in line for major backup minutes at the SF position based on the lack of other SFs on the roster beyond himself and Parsons.

F: Maurice Ndour - 6'9, 200 - Rookie
GP
PPG
RPG
APG
FG%
3P%
FT%
30
16.0
8.3
1.7
48.4%
43.5%
78.5%

Ndour seems like a bit of a long-shot to make the final roster, but I liked what I saw out of him during summer league play for the Knicks.

PF: Charlie Villanueva - 6'11, 235 - 11th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
3P%
3PAr
FT%
FTr
AST%
TRB%
64
6.3
17.4
26.7%
53.4%
37.6%
.610
57.1%
.097
4.7%
12.1%

Villanueva actually looked passable for the Mavericks last year, on offense at least.  That's a painful thought.

PF: Jeremy Evans - 6'9, 220 - 6th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FT%
FTr
BLK/36
38
2.4
20.5
13.1%
63.6%
15.4%
11.3%
19.4%
82.8%
.500
1.6

Evans was little-used with the Jazz, and it's hard to see that changing too much in Dallas.  Hell of a dunker though.  If he can break into the rotation, it'll be because of his defense.

F/C: Dwight Powell - 6'11, 240 - 2nd NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FT%
FTr
BLK/36
29
3.1
13.8
17.5%
55.2%
11.6%
8.3%
14.9%
75.8%
.493
0.9

Powell didn't get much burn in his rookie year, but there's opportunity to be had at both PF and C off the Mavericks' bench.  It's only his second season, but he's 24 years old, so it's time to start proving himself.

F/C: Jarrid Famous - 6'11, 240 - Rookie (2014-15 D-League stats)
GP
PPG
RPG
BPG
FG%
FT%
27
16.0
14.9
1.2
56.5%
73.9%

Famous had a solid D-League campaign last year, which means he's not that much less accomplished than the Mavs' other backup C options.  Famous hasn't played a single NBA minute since going undrafted out of South Florida in 2011.

C: Samuel Dalembert - 6'11, 250 - 14th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FT%
FTr
BLK/36
29
3.1
13.8
17.5%
55.2%
11.6%
8.3%
14.9%
75.8%
.493
0.9

Dalembert went from useful in 2013-14 to pretty damn bad in 2014-15.  If he can regain his form, he'll win the job as the main backup C.  If not, The Haitian Sensation could be approaching the end of his career.

C: JaVale McGee - 7'0, 240 - 8th NBA season
GP
PPG
PER
USG%
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FT%
FTr
BLK/36
29
3.1
13.8
17.5%
55.2%
11.6%
8.3%
14.9%
75.8%
.493
0.9

McGee has the most natural talent among the Mavs' C options, but putting it together mentally has always been a challenge.  He's running thin on good grace around the league and this is the perfect opportunity for him to rejuvenate his career.  Can he realize it and take advantage?

Outlook

The Mavs have a talented starting five, one that matches up well with any lineup in the league at four of the five spots.  The problem here is, they don't have a quality C on the roster, and the depth either is unproven or just isn't there.  On top of that, Dirk is another year older, and their prized offseason SG acquisition is coming off of a torn Achilles.  I do like what they did by bringing in Deron Williams to upgrade the PG spot at a discount, but I think this will be the second time they've missed the playoffs since 2000.  They're a surefire playoff team in the East, but playing 52 games against the Western Conference makes me think they're in line for 40 wins.

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