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NBA 2016-17 Team Previews – Dallas Mavericks: Dirk’s Last Dance?

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after scoring during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after scoring during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after scoring during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after scoring during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) reacts in front of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) after scoring during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS provides our NBA 2016-17 Team Previews.  Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Get a complete break down of each team. Included in the profiles are:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews now looks at

Dallas Maverick:

2015-16 Record: 42-40

Playoffs:

Lost NBA Western Conference First Round (1-4) versus Oklahoma City Thunder

Apr 25, 2016; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) greet each other after the Thunder defeated the Mavericks 118-104 in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Points Per Game: 102.3 (16th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  102.6 (14th)

Pace: 94.3 (22nd )

Offensive Rank: 106.7 (11th)

Defensive Rank:  107.0 (17th)

Three Point Rank:  34.4% (23rd)

Rebounds: 43.1  (19th)

Assists: 22.1 (18th)

Steals: 6.8 ( 26th)

Blocks: 3.7 (29th)

Turnovers: 12.8 (2nd)

Next: Future postioning - draft, free agents

May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Spurs 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Spurs 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

May 2, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during the game against the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Spurs 113-111. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Unrestricted: none

Restricted:

  • Andrew Bogut
  • Deron Williams

Future Draft Picks

As per Real GM:

Incoming:

Jan 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) grabs a rebound against Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) in the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

  • 2019 second round draft pick from Golden State Golden State’s 2019 2nd round pick to Dallas; Dallas has the right to defer this pick conveyance to 2020 [Dallas-Golden State, 7/7/2016]

Outgoing:

  • 2018 second round draft pick to Milwaukee Dallas’ 2018 2nd round pick to Milwaukee protected for selections 31-55 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Dallas’ obligation to Milwaukee will be extinguished) [Dallas-Milwaukee, 7/9/2015]
  • 2019 second round draft pick to Golden State Dallas’ 2019 2nd round pick to Golden State protected for selections 31-55 (if this pick falls within its protected range and is therefore not conveyed, then Dallas’ obligation to Golden State will be extinguished) [Dallas-Golden State, 7/7/2016]

Average Age of Team: 28.4 years

Next: Off Season Moves

Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut (6) looks to drives to the basket as Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) defends during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks

Round 1: N/A,

Round 2: A.J. Hammons (46)

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

RestrictedDwight Powell,

Unrestricted:

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Exiting: 

Re-upping:

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Dec 22, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Dallas Mavericks logo on the shorts of forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center. The Hawks defeated the Mavericks 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 22, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Dallas Mavericks logo on the shorts of forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center. The Hawks defeated the Mavericks 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 22, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the Dallas Mavericks logo on the shorts of forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the game against the Atlanta Hawks at the American Airlines Center. The Hawks defeated the Mavericks 105-102. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 39.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 9th with 0.93 extra losses

The Mavericks have a fairly unremarkable schedule across the board, though they do rank a surprising 10th in projected air miles. That’s unexpected because not only is Dallas in the middle of the country, but several conference opponents are within relative proximity.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Friday October 28th at American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX at 8:30 PM EST
  • Sunday October 30th at Toyota Center, Houston, TX at 8 PM EST HOME OPENER
  • Saturday December 10th at Toyota Center, Houston, TX at 8 PM
  • Tuesday December 27th at American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX at 8:30 PM EST

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 14th

J.J. Barea and Dirk form the all-time pick-and-roll odd couple, and Justin Anderson brings some modernity off the bench — especially amid the switchy small-ball groups Carlisle uses when Nowitzki rests. Andrew Bogut’s subtle brutality is always fun. He’s like a water polo player doing unholy stuff below the surface, where referees can’t see.

Dwight Powell has some bounce, and Salah Mejri deserves a second look as a shot-blocker who can rim-run through an uncluttered lane. And there’s this: Is Nowitzki’s one-legged fallaway banker the prettiest trademark shot in NBA history?

Next: Team Overview

Oct 19, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) passes around Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) and center Andrew Bogut (6) during the first quarter at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Committed Salary

2016: $107,960,789 – 21st ranked

2017: $59,690,046 – 26th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard: Deron Williams – 14.1 points, 5.8 assists, 2.9 rebounds

Shooting Guard: Wesley Matthews -12.5 points, 1.9 assists,  3.1 rebounds

Small Forward: Harrison Barnes – 11.7 points, 1.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds

Power Forward:  Dirk Nowitzki  – 18.3 pints, 1.8 assists,  6.5 rebounds

Center:  Andrew Bogut – 5.4 points, 2.3 assists,  7.0 rebounds

Reserves:

Guards: JJ Barea, Devin Harris, Seth Curry

Wings:  Justin Anderson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Nicolas Brussino

Bigs: Salahj Mejri, Dwight Powell, Quincy Acy, AJ Hammons

Injury News:

  • Devin Harris – left foot (doubtful for season opener)
  • JJ Barea – left elbow (likely for opener)
  • Quincy Acy – right foot strain is probable for opener

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) on the bench during a game against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center. Phoenix won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) on the bench during a game against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center. Phoenix won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 21, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) on the bench during a game against the Phoenix Suns at American Airlines Center. Phoenix won 99-87. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

Rick Carlisle: ask any pundit who the top 3 coaches are in the NBA and inevitably Popovich, Carlisle and Brad Stevens are named by most. What makes Carlisle so unique is the number of things he does well.  RC is the best at squeezing the best out  of aging stars,  but is equally adept at nurturing young talent.

Further, Carlisle is someone who’ll figure out a way to put players in a position to succeed. Case in point JJ Barea has never been able to translate his skill set outside Dallas. Charlie Villanueva played with renewed passion on the Mavericks. And Vince Carter had moments where he looked 10 years younger in Dallas.  With pundits already dishing shade at Harrison Barnes, I’d advise holding off because my bet is Carlisle finds a way for him to excel.

Dirk Nowitzki: Dirk is the ‘Grandfather of the fall away step back’. It’s impossible not to cheer for the German who remains one of the funniest and nicest guys in the Association. While hordes of players born outside the US flood the Association, fans keep waiting to see which one could potentially be the next  Dirk. Nowitzki is chasing down a very prestigious group as he sits 1,929 points back of Wilt Chamberlain for fifth place in all time NBA scoring. It’s a milestone unlikely to happen this season (unless he averages 23. 5 points per game), but realistically could happen should Dirk remain in the league for another 2 seasons and stay healthy.

Young role players: Justin Anderson, Dwight Powell and Seth Curry are all players who have grown their games and look to provide serviceable minutes this season. If you’re looking for late round fantasy players each offers tangible stats.

Weaknesses:

Center Back Up: Dallas hit pay dirt with the Kevin Durant defection to Golden State by grabbing both Bogut and Barnes.  Since Tyson Chandler’s departure combined with DeAndre Jordan and his infamous emoji’s stayed in L.A. the Mavericks have been in desperate need of centers. Zaza Pachulia did a serviceable job last season, but Bogut is a definite upgrade. The issue though is who is the back up to him? If Bogut sustains an injury and has to miss substantial time it’s worrisome who would fill his shoes.

Aging Backcourt: The 3 point guards who provide the point guard serves are all over 32. Deron Williams blossomed under the Carlisle fountain of youth program. Yet in his 11-year career he’s only played a full 82 games once, averaging 65  games his past 3 seasons.  Barring a shift from the norm the Mavericks should expect Williams to miss around 17 games this season. Regardless of the fact Carlisle gets the most out of his vets, the fact they have no youngster in this role points to the need for GM Donnie Nelson to earmark that as a need moving forward.

Effort Stats:  Last season the Mavericks ranked 29th in blocks, 26th in steals and 26th in offensive rebounding. Although Bogut will help with some of these stats the team on a whole need to raise their effort and energy in order to improve in these areas.

More from Space City Scoop

Prediction:

In terms of where the team ranks this season much of their success will be based on the vets remaining healthy.  One would say that’s a dangerous slope to take or pin decisions on. That said the marriage of the youngsters with the vets offers a nice mix of versatility and variety. As NBA TV’s John Schumann pointed out utilizing Dirk in limited minutes at center surrounded by shooters offers defensive match-up nightmares for opponents. Therefore Carlisle’s goal will be to garner a lead or keep the game close through 3.5 quarters. If the Mavericks can do that they may very well surprise a few analysts who have Dallas missing the post season.

Harrison Barnes also definitely has motivation to shut up his critics. Though he was part of the history setting 73 win Warriors starting line-up and part of the lethal death line-up he was also the unenviable scape goat when things went wrong.  Tasked with giving up more shots than his counterparts the reality was the Warriors were at their best when Harrison Barnes was at his. Under the tutelage of Carlisle he’ll be  afforded more opportunities. Let’s see if he can learn to showcase his passion and subsequently demonstrate why during his 2012 draft so many GM’s felt his upside was to become a star.

Best case scenario: Mavericks stay healthy, rediscover a defensive presence, Barnes becomes Dirk’s 1B and they grab a seed between 6 and 8.

Worst case scenario: Mavericks suffer a fate similar to last year’s Grizzlies with copious injuries, Barnes fails to rise to the challenge and Dallas just miss the post season.

FanSided Affiliate Site: The Smoking Cuban

Next: Houston Rockets 2016 Team Preview

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