#7 The Dallas Mavericks

COMMENCE VINSANITY!!!! I was in a hotel room somewhere in Southern Ohio when I saw that, beat up and tired from a day’s worth of ultimate Frisbee and busting ass through rain and mud. Didn’t matter. This was one of those “HOLY SHIT” moments that made everyone, exhausted and dirty, leap from their seats, jump up and down, and run down the hall to get everyone in our group to change the channel in their rooms and await the replay. Special shoutout to the quick shot of Popp’s grouch face as he tries to get off the court as quickly as possible.

Let’s forget that Vince Carter is no longer a Dallas Maverick or that this 1st round play-off series was the closest that anyone came to beating the Spurs last year. No, wait, let’s not forget that last one.

For all the talk of coaches like Greg Poppovich and Doc Rivers, the casual NBA fan might not know how excellent Dallas’ head coach Rick Carlisle is. Carlisle was crucial in the Mavs knocking down the first year of the Big 3 in Miami and has kept this team competitive ever since. Not an easy thing to do as most of those complementary championship players were jettisoned to other teams (Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, and the Jet himself, Jason Terry), leaving him with an increasingly older, and defensive-allergic roster.

Last year the real injection to this team was journeyman SG Monta Ellis, fresh from an unsuccessful stint in Milwaukee. Ellis has long seemed to be a sort-of Rudy Gay, analytic community punch-line, in that this he appears a guy who will fill up his score sheet, leading his team to loss after loss as he averages 27 ppg. However, Carlisle managed to tailor Ellis’s cutting to Dirk’s passing and shooting in the pick-and-pop, creating a top-5 offense+.

A lot of that success came from Adelman being able to stagger his starter’s minutes and leave Dirk alone on the floor with a pretty capable bench in an effort to always keep shooting on the floor. Dallas did go through a lot of offseason changes, but I’d say we’re looking at overall improvement. Say whatever you want about the Parsons deal, it does provide the Mavs with a massive upgrade at SF, while simultaneously robbing their in-state rivals of that same player. Tyson will undoubtedly be glad to be back and may have a resurgence with his old championship teammates, and Raymond Felton may never need to see the floor after the Mavs also went and picked up the veteran Jameer Nelson. This could be a very dangerous team in a win-now mode to get Dirk one more ring.

X-Factor= Raymond Felton. Hahaha just kidding, gonna go with another former Knick, Tyson Chandler

Tyson Chandler has looked like two different players during his stint in NY. There’s the dominant Chandler who made the Knicks care at least a little about defense during their 2012 campaign. A guy who smashed rims on the pick-and-roll and mastered the long swat out offensive rebound that allowed us to take a TON of second-effort open three pointers. Then there’s the Chandler from last season who was on and off injured, involved in chemistry issue questions, and was murdered by pretty much any other large center he played against. Which Chandler Dallas gets will go a long way towards determining whether this team can win a playoff series in April.

+ While there are numerous ways to quantify an NBA’s offense the Mavs were 8th in PPG, 4th in FG%, 2nd in 3Pt %, and 3rd in Hollinger’s Offensive Efficiency Ratings.

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