2009-10 Dallas Mavericks Season Preview
For the Dallas Mavericks (50- 32) in 2008- 2009, it was another year of finishing in the money at the end of the regular and out of the running when it came to the NBA Finals. It wasn’t an easy road for the club but under new coach Rick Carlisle the starting five performed well while the bench guys seemed to struggle. The backcourt featured two guys who are plus-30 in age. At point, the aging Jason Kidd 99.O PPG, 6.2 RPG, 8.7 APG) was efficient and smart. At the two spot, the slightly older Jason Terry (19.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.4 APG) posted fine numbers. The team made the most of its chances at the charity stripe, leading the league in foul shot percentage. They were fifth in the NBA in overall offensive efficiency but placed 25th in three-point completions. On defense, the club struggled and despite winning their first-round series in the playoffs, they were eliminated in round two.
Power forward Dirk Nowitzski (25.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.4 APG) is a dead-on shooter who can hit from anywhere. Small forward Shawn Marion (12.9 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.28 SPG) hits 49% from the floor. Both are sound rebounders. Former free agent center Drew Gooden (11.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 0.9 APG) joins the team this year. He should be a big held in the paint, taking some of the workload off of Nowitzki’s shoulders. There are quality guys coming off the bench to fill in.
The team in the backcourt this year looks to be Kidd and Josh Howard (18.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.98 SPG). Howard, a swingman, will also see action upfront. When he does, veteran Terry can offer solid minutes. Terry averaged19.6 PPG in 63 games last season coming off the bench.
The team’s biggest strength can be found upfront. The starting forwards are some of the best in the business and the guys coming off the bench are nothing to sneeze at. Nowitzki is the leader of the pack and as he goes so too does the rest of the team. The harshest reality this team must deal with is its age. Four of the starting five are over 30 and Josh Howard is 29. The age factor really affects the “D,” as these guys have lost a step or two. And nobody is getting any younger.
The question on everyone’s mind when it comes to the Mavs is “will this be the year?” Rick Carlisle (331- 243) has had success as a head coach with other teams, but he’s been unable to take a team through a successful playoff run. He’s smart, well prepared and organized but for some reason Carlisle teams don’t do well in the post season. The Mavs have a solid, star laden core but they are aging and the regular season is simply grueling. If the organization can work a deal during the season for one more star player, trading Dampier and Gooden, the Mavs could suddenly be the elite team in the West. For now, they look to finish third in the Southwest and around seventh in the Western Conference.