By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 41-41
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 4th in the Southwest Division
Projected Starting Lineup
Scoring came easily for the Mavericks in 2012. They finished 8th in the NBA in scoring, averaging over 100 points per game. A large part of the team’s success on the offensive end is due to how well they share the ball. The Mavs were a top 10 team in assists, and they will need to keep up the unselfish play in 2013. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs in scoring (17.3 PPG), and you can expect the same this year from the German big-man. Five others averaged double-digits a season ago, but there has been some turnover with the roster in the offseason. O.J. Mayo has been replaced by Monta Ellis, which has the potential to be an upgrade. Ellis and Nowitzki should make for a great one-two combo, and the Mavs will ultimately go where the two take them.
As good as the Mavs were on offense a year ago, they were equally as bad on defense. They ranked 27th in scoring defense, and they were only 16th in rebounding. That is a recipe for disaster. I don’t see the Mavs really improving on either area because their new additions are mirror images of the one’s they will replace.
Let’s face it, the Mavs play in a very tough division/conference. The Spurs, Grizzlies, and Rockets all made the playoffs last year out of the Southwest Division – and all three teams are expected to make it back this season. The Mavs are an aging team that seems to be stuck in mediocrity. On the other hand, they do have a superstar in Dirk Nowitzki. If he and Monta Ellis can form a dynamic scoring duo, and the team’s defense improves – then they might have a chance to sneak into a seven or eight seed in the Western Conference. At the end of the day, the Mavs are going to compete, but the rest of the west will be too much for “Big D”.