clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Mavericks 2014-15 Preview - Reloaded

The new-look Dallas Mavericks have mixed in some old friends with new faces and have reloaded for the 2014-15 season. Did they improve enough to make some more noise in the Western Conference playoffs?

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Mavs Moneyball - Dallas Mavericks 2014-15 Preview -

There's no way in hell I'm going to say that it is in any way likely that the Mavs make the NBA Finals this season, but unlike the past three seasons, I am willing to entertain the possibility. The Spurs have to be the favorites, and the Thunder and Clippers are right behind them, followed by about eight other teams out West that should all be legitimate playoff teams if not for the NBA's terrible conference setup. So even though the Mavs have more talent for Rick Carlisle to work with than any year since the championship season, it is a very steep uphill climb.

For the first time in a long time, the Mavs are built to compete with anyone. And I, for one, cannot wait for this season to start.

Dirk Nowitzki & Monta Ellis

2013-14 IN REVIEW

4th in Southwest Division - 8th in Western Conference
Lost to SA (4-3) - Western Conference Quarterfinals

Mark Cuban and the Mavericks were very busy in the summer of 2013, where they exercised their enormous amount of cap space and put together a complete overhaul to reconstruct the roster. After signing Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert and reintroducing Devin Harris back into the mix, the new-look Mavs had a different energy about them for the 2013-14 season.

Monta Ellis would combine with Dirk Nowitzki to form one of the most lethal one-two punches in the Western Conference, as Ellis added a new dynamic offensively and brought them a big time creator with the ball. Ellis put together one of his most efficient seasons as a pro, shooting 45% from the field, averaging 19 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds while finishing seventh in the NBA in total steals (141 - 1.7 SPG). The acquisition of Ellis turned out to be one of Dallas' better moves in a while as his ability to create for himself and others both in isolation and pick n' roll situations, athletic gifts and consistent production was huge for the team.

Dirk Nowitzki put together one of his most efficient seasons last year, as well. The seven-foot face of the franchise stayed healthy all season to produce 21.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on 50% shooting, including 40% from beyond the arc and 90% from the free throw line. Dirk was named to his 12th career All-Star squad and after a 2012-13 season that was hindered due to recovering from knee surgery, he proved that at age 35, he's still got a lot left in the tank.

Another big key to last year's Mavs was, once again, Shawn Marion. You always expect Marion's toughness, defensive tenacity, rebounding and ability to run the floor, but with guys like Monta Ellis slicing and dicing, Marion's perimeter game was opened up a bit. After shooting 26% from beyond the arc throughout his first four years in Dallas, The Matrix took over two long-balls per game in 2013-14, surprisingly connecting on 35.8% of them. Marion hadn't shot the ball from the outside that often or efficiently since his final year in Phoenix in 2007-08.

Brandan Wright also made a big impact off the bench last season and played the best ball of his career thus far. The former North Carolina Tar Heel posted career highs 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting a ridiculously efficient 67.7% from the field. Wright missed the first 23 games of the season as he recovered from a fractured shoulder, but he came back physically stronger and was dynamite for Rick Carlisle off the bench.

Wright helped lead a much-improved Dallas bench alongside Devin Harris, DeJuan Blair and Vince Carter, who lead the second unit with 11.9 points per game.

Dallas survived the one-game cut that separated them from the Phoenix Suns, as the Mavs went 49-33 to earn the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. It is never an easy task to go up against the likes of San Antonio, but Dallas gave the defending conference champs all they could handle. In an epic in-state battle where five games were settled by six points or less, Dallas pushed the Spurs to seven hard-fought games before falling just short in Game 7.

Dallas was sent home in the first round, but they showed that they aren't going to be easy for anyone to take out.

Chandler Parsons


Key Additions - Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton, Richard Jefferson, Al-Farouq Aminu, Charlie Villanueva
Key Losses - Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Shane Larkin

The Mavericks kicked off their busy summer with a draft night trade that brought Tyson Chandler back to Dallas along with Raymond Felton, in return for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second round picks. Chandler is coming off of an injury-riddled season where he was only able to suit up for 55 games and saw his production take a slight dip. However, he was an All-Star the year before and the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12, which was of course the year after Chandler helped the Mavericks win their first championship in franchise history.

With a healthy Chandler back in the fold, the Dallas defense will be much-improved by a guy who has already proven how much of an impact his presence can make.

In an even bigger splash, Dallas was able to pry the up-and-coming Chandler Parsons away from Houston as a restricted free agent, as Houston declined to match the three-year, $46 million max deal. The Mavericks lost Shawn Marion to Cleveland in the process, but they replace him with an extremely versatile 25-year-old that has yet to maximize his potential. Parsons will provide the Mavs a formidable third option and drastically improve their floor spacing with his versatility and reliability from long distance. The price tag is very high, but Parsons is a heck of an all-around ballplayer.

Dirk Nowitzki wouldn't be asking for a max contract, however. In fact, he Mavericks lifer turned down a pair of $97 million deals from the Lakers and Rockets in an act that displayed an unbelievable level of loyalty. Nowitzki took a decent-sized pay cut and re-signed with Dallas for three years, $25 million. You don't see that every day from professional athletes and you can't help but gain even more respect for a guy like Dirk, who is willing to sacrifice for those who have sacrificed for him.

The Mavs also strengthened their backcourt by landing Jameer Nelson on a two-year, $6 million deal, with the second year as a player option. Nelson is likely to assume the responsibility as the team's starting point guard, but he'll have some healthy competition behind him in Raymond Felton and Devin Harris, who Dallas re-signed long-term on a four-year, $16.6 million deal.

Vince Carter's impact off the bench will be missed, as the 37-year-old veteran moved on to Memphis, but Dallas brought in a couple of guys that can help pick up the slack. Richard Jefferson was signed for the veteran's minimum of $1.45 million and is coming off of last season as Utah's starter, scoring 10 points per game while shooting above 40% from three-point territory. Al-Farouq Aminu will also bring length, athleticism and a defensive mindset to Carlisle's perimeter rotation.

The Mavs have successfully bolstered their supporting cast and have legitimately improved both their starting lineup and bench rotation this summer. Through good health, this team is going to be difficult to deal with and should improve on both ends of the floor.

C - Tyson Chandler / Brandan Wright
PF - Dirk Nowitzki / Charlie Villanueva / Greg Smith
SF - Chandler Parsons / Richard Jefferson / Al-Farouq Aminu / Jae Crowder
SG - Monta Ellis / Devin Harris / Ricky Ledo
PG - Jameer Nelson / Raymond Felton / Gal Mekel

Tyson Chandler

X-FACTOR - Tyson Chandler
Tyson Chandler missed a lot of time last season while dealing with fractured ribs, but he is back at full strength and will be as important of a piece as anyone to Dallas' success in 2014-15. A healthy Chandler is one of the best pick n' roll defenders and overall defensive anchors in the game, as proven by that ring on his finger, and he still has a lot of good basketball left in him at age 31. If he can avoid the injury bug, he changes everything in terms of the Mavericks' chances of advancing in the postseason.

With as tight as the Western Conference is in terms of win-loss separation, your guess is as good as mine when trying to predict where the Mavericks will end up in the standings. However, you can expect them to compete in the playoffs and perhaps even earn the second-best record in the Southwest Divison (good luck beating out San Antonio).

The 2014-15 Mavericks will be a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams and if they're clicking once late-April rolls around, nobody is going to want to draw them as a first round opponent, especially after what happened vs. San Antonio last season. This year's Mavericks squad is stronger, and they've got a chance to make some noise.

3rd - Southwest Division
7th - Western Conference

Keep your eyes peeled for the Charlotte Hornets team preview, coming tomorrow morning.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog