Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dallas Mavericks: What To Look For In 2010-11

2009-10 Regular Season: 55-27
2009-10 Playoffs: #2 seed; lost in Round 1 to the San Antonio Spurs in six games
Additions: Tyson Chandler, Dominique Jones, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson
Key Losses: Erick Dampier
Projected Rotation Players: Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois, Shawn Marion, Brendan Haywood, J.J. Barea, Dominique Jones

Look for the Mavs to dial up the tempo from recent years.

I’m not saying these guys are going to be the SSOL Suns, but there should be a lot less “walking it up” possessions. Yeah, J-Kidd’s rapidly approaching his 38th birthday, but he’s retained enough of what’s made him great to be remain a pretty effective lead guard. Last year, he ranked in the NBA’s top five in apg (9.1), spg (1.8) and 3-pointers made (176), and was 11th in 3-point percentage (42.5%).

Additionally, if this is the year that age really catches up with Kidd and his game goes off a cliff, super-athletic combo guard Rodrigue Beaubois (recovering from a broken foot, but should be back some time in November) would take over some of the ballhanding duties. In just 12.5 minutes per game as a rookie last season, Beaubois averaged 7.1 ppg and shot better than 50- 80- 40 FG-FT-#-pt. As a starter he was good for 8.7 ppg and 2.1 apg in just 18 minutes, with FG-FT of 52- 86 (he struggled from 3 as a starter, making just 25% of his attempts). Whether he’s the Mavs’ primary ballhander or two-guard, Beaubois is expected to play a significant role in 2010-11.

Regardless of who’s handling the ball (but much more so with Roddie-B), the 2010-11 Mavs are the franchise’s most athletic incarnation since Josh Howard was an All-Star. In addition to Beaubois and the still-capable Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler and the age-resistant Jason Terry, while all 30+, are all well-suited to play a “semi breaking” style that will create more layups, mismatches and open jumpers in transition. Over the summer the Mavs also added rookie SG Dominique Jones, whose NBA body (6’4”, 215 lbs), elite athleticism and talent for filling the wing on the break and getting to the free throw line should help him find his way into the rotation- though probably not until later in the season.

Bottom line: Vegas has the over-under on regular seasons wins for the Mavs at 49.5. While the Mavs are still definitely a playoff team and, with good health and the right matchup(s) in the postseason, possibly more, they do not have the look of a 50-win team. Waiting for Beaubois to return, get up to full speed and possibly have to assume some of J-Kidd’s responsibilities, along with major questions in the middle (Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi), will cost the Mavs’ a few games during the regular season. Look for them to post a win total in the mid-40s and enter the playoffs as a 5-7 seed that no one's too eager to face in Round 1.

No comments: