The Dallas Mavericks ended their streak of 12-straight appearances in the NBA Playoffs this season as their run to try and capture the eighth-seed in the Western Conference fell short. They struggled earlier in the season when they were without Dirk Nowitzki and had to claw their way back to even be in contention for the playoffs.
Now they face an off-season where they have a lot of work to do. They’ll likely lose their second leading scorer in O.J. Mayo, who carried the team when Nowitzki was still recovering from his injury. They will also desperately need to do their best to find young, talented players in free agency that can help this team for the future.
The Mavericks’ four leading scorers last season were Nowitzki, Mayo, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. All of those players but Mayo will be back for Dallas next season. That might seem promising if it weren’t for the fact that Dirk is the youngest of the three at 34 years old. This Mavericks team has a nucleus built of players on the downside of their career. Because of that, they need to find younger or high-energy guys that they can bring in to give the team life.
They tried to bring in Darren Collison this past season, but he often butted heads with head coach Rick Carlisle. Given Collison’s personality and style of play and how that contrasted with Carlisle, it’s unlikely that Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack or Brandon Jennings are viable options for the Mavericks.
One player that would be very interesting to see on the Mavericks would be Ronnie Brewer. Brewer will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and has gained a reputation as a high-energy and consistent player, though he has been under-used over the past few seasons. He has the ability to get up and down the floor and score efficiently, as well as play solid defense. He will also likely come with a low price tag, which is just an added bonus.
There are other free agents that the Mavericks could pursue, but they have to find guys that will inject either actual youth or the appearance of youth through energy into this aging Mavericks team. If that doesn’t happen, it’s likely that the Mavericks won’t even come close to making the postseason next year.