But the Mavs have since rebounded nicely, and have once again set themselves up to be in position to sign free agents next summer, while putting together a team that will be extremely improved from last year. Dallas has set themselves up to start another playoff streak this upcoming season.
Jose Calderon and Devin Harris, assuming their deals get finalized, will drastically improve a point guard position that struggled last year, especially in high IQ and clutch situations. Calderon is a terrific spot-up shooter and can do his job with the best of point guards, which is get the ball to where it needs to go. In this case, he will be able to get the ball in hands of scorers like Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Vince Carter. Harris, who will enter his second term in Dallas, looks like he will be the backup point guard on most nights. With his slashing ability and veteran presence, Harris will improve the second unit.
Monta Ellis and Wayne Ellington, also assuming their deals get finalized, give the Mavs some dimensions they haven't had in a while. Ellis will be the second scorer behind Nowitzki, and he is better than O.J. Mayo. His ability to penetrate and create his own shot gives head coach Rick Carlisle some nice things to work with. With a great coaching staff, an unselfish superstar, and point guards to get him the ball in Calderon and Harris, Ellis should cut down on the mistakes that make him such an inefficient scorer at times. Ellington gives the Mavs a good defender and spot-up three-point shooter off the bench, similar to a DeShawn Stevenson, although less intense.
Small forward was a position of strength for Dallas last year, and with Shawn Marion and Vince Carter back in the fold for at least one more year, we all know what they are capable of doing on a nightly basis. If Jae Crowder can develop a consistent shot and improve on an otherwise solid rookie season, that give Dallas another solid player to go with Marion and Carter. Expect no drop off at this position.
With Dirk handling the power forward duties once again, that leaves the center position. After the Mavs failed to land Dwight Howard, and also passed on Andrew Bynum, Dallas got to work and landed Samuel Dalembert, a solid veteran that is an instant upgrade over Chris Kaman. Dalembert reminds some of Tyson Chandler, with his ability to play very solid defense and block shots. Any offense from Dalembert will be a bonus, but Dallas needs him to be the defensive stopper.
And that doesn't even mention rookies like Shane Larkin, Gal Mekel, and Ricky Ledo. All these guys have potential, but could use one season of developing, although they could all still make the roster, depending on how owner Mark Cuban fills in the remaining pieces.
The Dallas Mavericks have upgraded at every position, and this team should be more fun and less frustrating to watch, as opposed to last year's team. The offseason isn't done, and trades are always a possibility to improve the roster even more, but expect Dallas to roll into the 2013-2014 with this solid group of guys.
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