Are the Dallas Mavericks good enough to find themselves back in the playoffs? If Dirk Nowitzki is healthy for the entire season, it might almost be enough, but in the loaded Western conference, even the additional help from Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder, DeJuan Blair and others might not be enough.
The Mavs got their first win of the preseason by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 95-90, as Nowitzki (who else) led the way with 20 points. He was sharp as you can expect from the future hall of famer, going 7-of-10 from the field, including 2-2 from beyond the arc and a few more points from the line. But it isn’t Nowitzki’s ability the Mavs have to be concerned about going into the new season.
They have a problem at center with Sameul Dalembert, who did play 20 minutes and scored 11 points, but it’s hard seeing him doing that on a more consistent basis, and we’re going to see a lot of DeJuan Blair and possibly Fab Melo backing him up next season, or even starting for him at some point. Dalembert is an offensive liability, and the defense and shot blocking he brings aren’t worth keeping him on the floor for too long.
Right now there’s also a problem with Jose Calderon being injured, meaning that Gal Mekel got to start, and keeps showing that the enthusiasm from him during the offseason workouts is going to take time before it translates into something more real in an actual game, once again turning the ball over as much as he scored, finishing with 4 points.
No Calderon means more Monta Ellis with the ball. Ellis scored 11 points and finished with 8 assists, playing like a true point guard during his 20 minutes on the floor, but considering his track record, it’s hard to believe he’ll be able to restrain himself from trying to take over a bit too much than he should be.
The Mavs have a decent bench with Crowder, Vince Carter and Wayne Ellington, but when you look at the rest of the Western Conference, including the Memphis Grizzlies, who were missing Marc Gasol, Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince, the Mavs aren’t that special, and even a healthy for a full season Dirk Nowitzki might not be enough to make the postseason. The calculations of Dallas going 41-41 last season with Nowitzki missing half the year doesn’t automatically translate into wins, especially when there’s been such a huge turnover in the lineup, and most of the key players on this team are on the wrong side of 30.