The Dallas Mavericks were set purely in defense mode when they met for their first official 2013 Training Camp practice on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
This game plan certainly was a smart idea because they ranked close to the bottom – 27th out of 30 – for defense during the 2012-13 season. They gave up an average of 101.7 opponent points per game, with a total of 8,342 points scored against, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Therefore, head coach Rick Carlisle made good on his words from Media Day.
“We have to establish ourselves as a solid defensive team.”
Of course the Mavs still will work on their offense, yet Carlisle identified the need for improvement on defense, which was where they had to start on day one.
“The truth is we need everything functioning the right way for us to be successful.”
Before the team even convened for their first practice, some members already were a step ahead of the game. This was to their advantage, especially if they plan to advance all the way to the Finals again.
After the Mavericks roster got a makeover – by keeping a select few key players, plus bringing in veterans from other NBA teams and around the world, along with rookies who are fresh to the league – some of the guys got a head start by practicing together in September.
During the summer, some Mavs veterans trained on their own to maintain prime offseason condition, like guard-forward Vince Carter and power forward Dirk Nowitzki. Some team newbies competed at international tourneys, like forward Renaldo Balkman at the FIBA Americas and point guard José Calderón at the Eurobasket.
When the franchise faces the New Orleans Pelicans (former Hornets) for their preseason opener in five days, the Mavs are prepared to bring their “A” game that includes a better D for Defense in the Big D for Dallas.