Scouting Report: Dallas Mavericks
Much like the Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks have a new-look team this season. They’re still led by former MVP Dirk Nowitski, who presents a nightmare matchup for any power forward simply because of his height, his ability to shoot over defenders and his range. The Mavs are hoping having Dirk healthy this season will mean a return to the playoffs after missing out last season for the first time since 2000.
The other familiar face on the roster is the ageless Shawn Marion. He’s going into his 15th NBA season, but the production is still there. He averaged 12 points and eight rebounds in 67 games last season, and he hopes to improve on those numbers by avoiding nagging injuries. His explosiveness has no doubt slowed, but he’s still a bruising small forward. If he’s matched up with DeMarre Carroll, expect it to be physical.
The Mavericks have several new faces, including projected starters Samuel Dalembert and Monta Ellis from Milwaukee and Jose Calderon from Detroit. Dalembert hopes to anchor down the middle for Dallas. He played in just 47 games for the Bucks a season ago, but he had some terrific seasons in Philadelphia, including averaging a double-double in 2007-08. He has length at 6’11″, and Dallas is hoping he can improve the interior scoring they’ve been lacking for quite some time.
Ellis has all kinds of talent but just needs to put it together. His shooting can be hit or miss, as can his decision-making at times. When he’s on, he’s almost impossible to stop, but when he’s off, the walls crumble down. A change of scenery might be exactly what he needs to get over the hump and elevate himself into elite company among the league’s shooting guards.
Calderon is a sneaky point guard because he doesn’t look like much, but he’s certainly not someone you can ignore. He’s a career 40 percent three-point shooter and shoots just shy of 50 percent from the field overall. In splitting time between Detroit and Toronto last season, he averaged 10.1 points and 7.2 assists, so he’s creating almost 25 points per game alone.
The mavericks are 3-3 this preseason, any many of the games have been close. All five starters played at least 25 minutes in Monday’s loss to Houston, so, like Coach Bud, Rick Carlisle is trying to get his new players time together on the court to gel and get used to one another. This is the final tune up before the real action starts, and it just so happens to be in the same building the Hawks will be in on opening night, which may provide an advantage since they’ll be used to the atmosphere.
Photo by Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images