With the NBA Season creeping around the corner fans of the Dallas Mavericks do not know what to expect this year. Will the Mavs even make the playoffs? Is O.J. Mayo the right guy to replace Jet? How much gas does Dirk have in the tank? Maybe these predictions will help the fans relax a little bit.
#1– The Mavericks will begin the first two months of the season with a below .500 record
It may be hard to believe that a team that has been part of championship talk for the past decade will struggle the season early as we all know that in the past the Mavericks surprises the league with a nice record to finish the season. This year I believe will be a little different.
I believe that the Mavericks will (or should) take the San Antonio Spurs approach this season. With a new group of talent on this Mavs team don’t expect the Mavs to start off the season with a “bang”. These guys are going to need to have time to get into the flow of things and get the right team chemistry together. Once that happens then the Mavericks will be back to what they are known for and that’s having a great regular season. However that time that they need will go through the first two months of the season. That means that the Mavericks will have losing streaks of 5-6 games and there will be time where they will get it together to put up a 5-6 winning streak, but with a new team and new guys under a system that Rick Carlisle will need to build up the Mavericks will struggle for a few months.
That’s why I said that the Mavs will (or should) take the Spurs approach. What I mean is that the Spurs have shown time and time again that even though they start the season “slow” they pick it up when crunch time comes. They know how to turn it on when it gets close to the post season and most of the time they have everybody healthy and ready to go at the end of the season. That’s what the Mavericks are going to need to do. Even though the Mavs will start off with a below .500 record if they are able to do what the Spurs have done in the past ten years then they will be just fine when it gets close to the end of the season.
#2– Chris Kaman will become the best center in Mavericks franchise history
It’s really not unbelievable to say that Kaman will be the Mavs best big man they have ever had in their history. The Mavericks have never had a big man other than Tyson Chandler that has lived up to their expectation. Kaman, on the other hand, I believe that he will have a career breaking season this year with the Mavericks. Mark Cuban has already mentioned that he doesn’t have to cringe when watching his Center take a shot and that’s true. For years Mavs fans had to settle with Erick Dampier, Brendan Haywood, Raef LaFrentz and Shawn Bradley who all were been horrible centers when they played for Dallas.
I can’t tell you why the Mavericks have never really had a legit big man other than Chandler, but now with Kaman in the picture the Mavericks have a legit shot in competing with other teams with big centers like the Los Angeles Lakers with Dwight Howard, for an example. Kaman is an underrated big man and this year he will prove a lot of critics wrong. He has averaged 11.9 points and 8.3 rebounds during his nine year career in the NBA.
If Kaman stays healthy then there’s no doubt that he should be able to surpass all of his career stats. I believe he will average around 15-18 a game to go along with over 10 rebounds a game and 2-3 blocks a game. If Kaman can do that then I can see the Mavericks offering him a short term deal next off-season and with Dirk Nowitzki still on the team there’s no question that Kaman will accept any offer the Mavs give him.
#3– “Freeing Roddy B” chants will be over
It’s sad to say, but Rodrigue Beaubois will not live up to his expectation this year. Everyone in Mavs Land expected Beaubois to become the Mavs next big thing after he scored a career high 40 points and going 9 of 11 from beyond the 3 point line in a game against the Golden State Warriors on March 27, 2010. Ever since then it’s been all about “Freeing Roddy B.”
However, in other games where he does not go “lights out” he struggles badly. He will force up shots beyond the arc. During the 53 games he did play for the Mavs last season he shot 28.8% from three point land. Ever since breaking his foot back in August of 2010 while training with the French National Team he hasn’t really done much for this Mavs team. Yes he is still capable in becoming a great role player, but the Mavericks just can’t put a guy on their shoulders when they do not know when he will or will not perform to his full potential.
I’m sorry Mavs fans, but it’s not going to happen. It’s time to let Roddy B go. Of course that is not going to happen anytime soon. There might be games that if he is put in that he can provide 12-15 points, but that’s not an every night thing for him. I can honestly see him being part of a trade before the trade deadline in February.
#4– Shawn Marion will be a contender for Defensive Player of the Year
Last year coach Rick Carlisle mentioned that Marion should have been at least part of the Defensive Player of the Year debate, but only got five votes out of 121. This year if Marion played like he did last year on a consistent bases then Marion could be on of the top names consider as a top defender in the league.
Since Marion has been a Maverick he has been able to defend guys like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony and may be the only guy again this year that will continue that role. Without Marion last year the Mavericks would have never made the post-season. It was his defensive skills that helped the Mavs squeeze into the post-season.
I expect Marion to keep doing what he has been doing. I believe that a lot of his stats will go up from what it was last year since there is a full 82 game season. If Kaman and Elton Brand can live up to be great center/forward for the Mavericks and are able to defend the big men from the elite teams then with Marion’s defensive skills then the Mavs will be able to win games against the Lakers, Miami Heat, Oklahoma City Thunder and other top contending teams in the NBA.
#5–The Mavericks will make a blockbuster trade close to trade deadline
The Mavericks will surprise the NBA once again and make a trade that nobody expects. Do not be surprise if the Mavericks end up trading Delonte West, Vince Carter, Rodrigue Beaubois and/or Brandan Wright in exchange for a “big fish”.
I expect the Mavs are still wanting to get a big name player even if they do not admit it. Failing to get Deron Williams back in July and unlikely in landing Dwight Howard with the players they have right now the Mavericks may look to teams like the Knicks. I believe that Carmelo Anthony would be the Mavericks top focus if a trade is indeed on their mind. Most of the players they have right now the Mavericks cannot trade away until after December 15th, so the Mavs will have to wait until then to make any type of a big trade.
Do not worry Mavs fans. Dirk Nowitzki will not be the one that is part of the trade. As long as Mark Cuban is the owner of this team Nowitzki is here to stay until the day he retires.
#6–The 3 rookies will make an impact
Jared Cunningham, James Bernard and Jae Crowder will be a difference maker for this Mavericks team this year. I know it takes time for late draft picks to get settle down in the NBA, but I believe with Rick Carlisle and his staff that they will be able to develop these three rookies into legit role players for this team.
Cunningham averaged almost 18 points a game during his junior year at Oregon State. He could be the key guy in the future to run the guard position for this Mavs team. At 6’4 he could become what Jason Kidd was during his prime. Crowder averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game during his last year in college and he also averaged 16.6 and 5.4 rebounds a game during the NBA Summer League. As for Bernard who enters the league as a 27 year old rookie I believe that he will be the one that develops quicker than the other two because of his age. I believe that he is more mature because of his age and that’s the reason why he should pick up on the game a lot quicker than most young rookies. Bernard averaged 10.2 points and 9 rebounds a game during the Summer League and I believe that he could become a great center for the Mavericks in the coming seasons.
These three rookies could become the Mavericks version of the “Big 3”. If they stay together and build up the right type of chemistry then the Mavericks can still be a playoff contending team once Nowitzki retires. However, as for this year I believe that once the D-League begins that the Mavs need to put all three guys in at least a week of games to see how they could perform together. If it comes out positive then the Mavs have found their future and really do not need to do much in terms of signing key guys to put around a superstar.
Once put in a NBA game I doubt that they will make an immediate impact, but give them enough minutes and time they can become a dangerous three combo. I mean look at the Thunder and how they got their young guys. The Mavericks might have their own group of young talent. They just need to develop them right and give them the proper training to become legit starters for their team.
#7–Dirk Nowitzki will be looking to “pass the torch”
It’s hard to believe that the “Big German” will soon call it quits after playing his whole career with the Dallas Mavericks. It’s true. It could come at the end of his contract which is in a few years or it could be a little longer than that it just depends on how this season and next season goes.
Whether it be the current roster now or by a trade Dirk Nowitzki will be looking to “give the keys” to someone that can carry this team once he retires. As I mentioned before the three rookies that the Mavs got during this past NBA Draft they may have someone that Nowitzki will look towards in passing the torch.
I believe that Crowder could become a elite player in the NBA and if developed right then he can be the perfect guy to take on the “all-star” role once Nowitzki hangs it up. This year, however, will be no different from past seasons since Nowitzki will still have to carry the team on his back. If he is able to find someone to give the team to then I expect Dirk Nowitzki to hang it up sooner than later.
#8–O.J. Mayo will be better than Terry
Jason Terry was a huge asset to the Mavericks the past eight years. Without him the Mavericks may have never made two NBA Finals appearances. Now with O.J. Mayo on the team the Mavericks he will be able to carry on what “The Jet” left here.
Mayo is no Terry, but he is his own unique player. Mayo has averaged little over 15 points a game during his time in the NBA all with the Memphis Grizzlies. However, unlike Terry I believe that Mayo will be able to be a consistent player that Jason Terry wasn’t. Mayo should be able to average around 18-22 points every night and doing so the Mavericks will have that “side-kick” that they have been looking for to be along side with Dirk Nowitzki. If Mayo can provide those stats as a starter then the Mavericks will have no problem filling the hole that Terry left and doing so they will still be able to continue to compete in the NBA.
#9–Dirk will be a contender for the MVP
I did mention earlier that the Mavs will begin the season as a below .500 team, but that doesn’t mean they will stay down there. Once this team figures out how to play together and gets their chemistry on the right track then there’s no doubt that Dirk Nowitzki will be carrying this team once again.
Lets face it that without Nowitzki the Mavericks would have never won that NBA Title in 2011 and would never make it to the post-season as they have been for the past decade. If Dirk Nowitzki is able to bring a team from below .500 to a 4th or 5th seed in the post-season then I expect Nowitzki to at least be the runner up for the MVP Award. I expect him to average 22-25 points a game with an occasional 30-50 points.
However, with eyes being on LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant it may be hard for voters to see how well Dirk Nowitzki carries this Mavs team. It has shown in the past and it will show again this year. It’s hard being in a small market city that people around the NBA won’t look at. Which is ashamed due to the fact that Nowitzki has always played as a MVP player and he did prove it when he won that award in 2007.
#10–The Mavericks will win the Southwest Division
Yes the Mavericks this year will win the Southwest Division and take the title away from the Spurs. Even with a below .500 record to start the season I believe the Spurs will start the season the same way. I believe the Mavericks will get hot in January once they figure out how to play the game together with this new group of guys and once that happens then the Mavs will be off to the races.
Winning the Division means that the Mavericks are guarantee a top 4 seed in the post-season and if that’s the case I expect the Mavericks to go at least to the Conference Semi-Finals as they would not have to meet the Lakers, Thunder, or Los Angeles Clippers since they should all have a top seed as well.
If that’s the case then the Mavericks could take advantage of certain situation that pops up during the post-season as they did in 2011. Nobody expected the Mavs to win the NBA Title two years ago, but they took advantage and got hot at the right time. If they do that exact thing this year at the exact same time then the Mavs like any other team before will use that and could possibly make a long playoff run.