The Dallas Mavericks have ended their preseason with a record of 4 wins and 4 loses. With their first game of the season just four days away there is still a lot of question marks surrounding this team.
This preseason tells you absolutely nothing accept that this team has a bumping start ahead of them. Dirk Nowitzki is out for a month, Chris Kaman is always a question and of course the distraction of Delonte West which could be gone within the coming days. Also Jae Crowder left tonight’s game holding his right hamstring, so he could be listed as day-to-day.
One positive thing about the preseason is that Mavs fans got a chance to see what their team could look like once Nowitzki decides to retire in the next few years. This also gives coach Rick Carlisle a chance to use and evaluate his new guys and the young rookies in the next month before Nowitzki returns from his recovery.
Plus, November should be an exciting month for Mavs Nation. For the first time in a long time they will get to see young fresh new players on the court and the young players they have they will finally be able to keep up with the other quick teams in the NBA.
One player in particular is rookie, Jae Crowder. I know I have been praising this kid for the past few weeks, but the fact is that the Mavs finally have a youngster that they can develop to be an all-star type of player. During these eight exhibition games Crowder has averaged 11.4 points a game and has scored in double figures in the last six games. He has also averaged 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals a game.
If his hamstring is not a problem that forces him to miss games then expect Carlisle to put him in the starting lineup during the month of November. If he can perform at a decent level then he should have a main role in the rotation once Nowitzki returns.
Another person that could help the Mavs is newly acquired, Eddie Curry. Tonight was his first time to play with the Mavericks and was picked up Thursday evening hours after the suspension of Delonte West. Tonight’s game against the Charlotte Bobcats he scored 11 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Even though it’s preseason basketball the solid performance Curry had could be the beginning of his redemption year. Curry has played only 24 games in the past four years and he did not play during the 2010-11 season. Hopefully tonight’s performance is a sign that he is prepared to play a full season and provide solid minutes as a back up center.
Of course the question that surrounds the team right now is “What are they going to do with Delonte West?”
Even though they have not officially announced it I believe that the Mavs will cut ties with West in the coming days. Whether that be by a buyout or putting him on waivers West will no longer be part of this organization this season.
As for the new Mavericks like O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman the preseason for them probably did not show much in what’s to come for this team. Without Nowitzki in the line-up these guys may not have everything “clicking” when he returns.
Since playing the whole preseason (except the first game) without Nowitzki these guys have not yet develop under a system that Carlisle has made up with the big German on the court. When he does return possibly at the start of December the Mavs will still be out of sync since it will be their first time to play with Nowitzki in a regular season game.
However, I do expect everything to go back to normal for Dallas after Christmas. I believe that they will be back on the right track in their road to a playoff berth once everything starts coming together as a team on and off the court.
The Mavs Nation need to expect a bumping start and the game against the Los Angeles Lakers opening night next week may not be a pretty site to see. However, they will become more comfortable as each game passes and for Mavs fans it will be a fun site to see with these new young guys come together to continue to provide “Maverick Basketball” for Mavs Nation.