Dallas Mavericks: Predicting the Final 15-Man Roster
Predicting the Final 15-Man Roster for the Mavericks
During the offseason, the Dallas Mavericks decided to completely overhaul their roster. Dallas added nine new faces to the team and parted ways with many others. Obviously, some of the faces remained the same, like Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion. However, instead of O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison, you have Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon.
One of the challenges coach Rick Carlisle will have is putting together a roster that will be compete and put Dallas in a position to make the playoffs. Dallas missed the playoffs last year for the first time in 12 seasons. A big part of that was due to the fact Dirk missed the first 27 games of the season.
Another challenge Carlisle will have is getting this team to gel together and play like a unit. That's one of the things that set the 2011 championship team apart from other Mavericks teams. They played like a single unit and all the different pieces were in unison. Of course, another major challenge will be getting all of these superstars enough minutes to satisfy them and make the team better.
Coach Carlisle mentioned using the D-league if needed to get some players some time. He also said the first month of the season would be one of the most challenging of his career. He knows it's going to take lots of shuffling and moving around to make it work.
Dallas came into training camp with 21 men on the roster. They are going to have to get it down to 15 before it's all said and done. Here's my prediction on the final 15 to make the team.
15. Fab Melo - Center
The Mavericks like to have big bodies so they can eat up minutes if needed against other centers in the Western Conference. Now that Dwight Howard has joined the division, it'll be big to have some extra big men.
14. D.J. Kennedy - Small Forward
The Mavericks are a little thin at the small forward position, and D.J. Kennedy should be able to help eat up some minutes so Shawn Marion doesn't have to spend so much time on the court.
13. Bernard James - Center
James is returning to the Mavericks, and his return was a priority for Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban. They liked his game from last year and he will be able to help defend against the likes of Dwight Howard.
12. Jae Crowder - Small Forward
Crowder is a fan favorite and helped bring the intensity last year off the bench. His energy is reminiscent of J.J. Barea and what he brought to the Mavericks.
11. Brandan Wright - Center
Wright is another returning player for Dallas. Last season, he started in 16 games for the Mavericks and averaged almost nine points per game.
10. Gal Mekel - Point Guard
Mekel comes over to Dallas from the Israeli League. Mekel is a two-time champion in Israeli and a two-time MVP. He should be able to spell Calderon if needed.
9. DeJuan Blair - Center
Blair was a nice pickup for Dallas. Playing with the San Antonio Spurs, he gave them nice minutes off the bench during their Finals run last season.
8. Shane Larkin - Point Guard
Larkin was highly sought after by Dallas. Drafted in the first round of this year's NBA draft, Larkin was given high praise by Carlisle when he said Larkin runs the pick-and-roll better than anyone in the collegiate ranks.
7. Devin Harris - Point Guard
Bringing Harris back for the Mavericks made a lot of sense simply because he can also play at shooting guard. With Vince Carter being the only other shooting guard on the team after Monta Ellis, it makes sense to have a versatile player that can play point or shooting guard.
6. Vince Carter - Shooting Guard
Vince will be looked at to help mentor some of the younger guys and new faces on the team.
5. Samuel Dalembert - Center
Dalembert was brought in for one purpose, and that was to shore up the defensive side of the ball, especially around the rim. The Mavericks struggled with rebounding last year, and they'll need to fix that this season. Dalembert will be expected to fix this.
4. Shawn Marion - Small Forward
Marion is one of the best defenders on the Mavericks team and he will once again be expected to help fix the defensive side of the ball.
3. Jose Calderon - Point Guard
Calderon is a point guard that the Mavericks have targeted for a while. They hope he can help mentor the younger point guards and also be a facilitator amongst this offense.
2. Monta Ellis - Shooting Guard
Ellis was a key offseason acquisition as he will be expected to help ease some of the scoring burden that is placed on Dirk.
1. Dirk Nowitzki - Power Forward
He's still the main guy in Dallas. Look for him to help spread the floor and open up things for Ellis and Calderon.