The eighth seed from the 2014 playoffs can’t be underestimated, because experience never should be.
The Dallas Mavericks have made moves this offseason, and in a sense have reloaded a team around aging superstar Dirk Nowitzki for yet another run.
The acquisitions of Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Richard Jefferson—and most notorious for Rockets fans at Space City Scoop, Chandler Parsons.
Mavs owner Mark Cuban may have overpaid for Parsons, but it doesn’t seem smart to bet against that proposition. Parsons had improved every season in Houston and seems well suited to an even bigger role.
Chandler is a Defensive Player of the Year award winner, while Jefferson and Lewis both add an accent of experience to a team hardly bereft of it to begin with. With Nowitzki leading the way and Monta Ellis, Shawn Marion (should be be re-signed), and Jefferson, the Mavs are replete with veterans that have been tested.
Losing Vince Carter to the Memphis Grizzlies is a bit of a blow since Carter was instant offense off the bench, but it isn’t a death blow to a team that figures to improve this season. Felton is questionable at this point in his career, but Devin Harris is adequate as a replacement should Felton come in out of shape and unproductive.
Ultimately, this remains a team that can’t be taken seriously as a top tier contender, but one still capable of doing damage and upsetting a higher seed in the playoffs. The ultimate tell tale of this team’s fate will be if Parsons can handle becoming a legitimate second or third option, and whether Ellis embraces Parsons as a target for his passes. At the minimum, Parsons will no longer have to deal with James Harden encompassing such a large role within his team’s offense.
Nowitzki still has a lot left and is a player no team really wants to face at the end of a close game. He’s destined for the Hall of Fame, and the Mavericks have made small yet significant moves to bolster the roster.
Losing Chandler proved to be a huge mistake following the team’s championship run, and ultimately the team did what it took to bring him back into the fold. He’s not an offensive juggernaut, but he anchors a team’s defense and is an excellent communicator on the court.
Just as a point guard can head a defense, Chandler anchors a defense and directs it, much like another DPOY winner, Kevin Garnett.
It’s not inconceivable that the Mavericks improve on last season’s 49 wins, despite the aging roster. Parsons has the potential to elevate his game to higher levels still, while the defense will toughen up and gain what it has lacking.