5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Mavericks at +7000 to win the 2013-2014 NBA Championship and that would put them directly in the middle of the pack. With a mixture of “past their prime” vets and young un-challenged talent, these betting odds are right on the money. Let’s take a look and see what they have to offer this season.
Owner Marc Cuban has very deep pockets and he’s stated that he want’s star Dirk Nowitzki to be a Maverick for life. Cuban and Nowitzki got their championship ring and it appears that Cuban’s loyalty to the aging German star could be interfering with this team’s ability to getting better and looking for another title.
Dirk wasn’t ready for last season as the Mavs got off to a poor start. In just 53 games, he averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. To add to it, he shot just 47.1% from the field and 86% from the charity stripe; these aren’t Nowitzki type of numbers and it showed on the court and with Dallas’ record. Look for Nowitzki to get off to a better start this season, but this is a team on a downward trend that’s done a poor job in bringing quality youth to its roster.
Past Their Prime
Dallas has a lot of capable veterans in Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, and Devin Harris, who were all above average to near hall of famers, in Carter’s case, but these players are all well past their prime. Inconsistency takes over as one game Carter or Marion are capable of a 25 point performance and the next game, they’ll be lucky to hit two buckets. The key players on the Mavericks squad lack a consistency due to age and we’ll see a lot of that this season.
One major improvement to the Mavericks squad is point guard Monta Ellis. Ellis shared the ball with Brandon Jennings last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 19.2 point, 6 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game. Look for his production to increase as the Mavs pick up a very unselfish player in Jose Calderon. Calderon was a big assist man for the Pistons last season and he’ll make sure that the best player on the team gets plenty of scoring opportunities.
Along with Ellis, the Mavs also pick up center Samuel Dalembert from the Bucks. Dalembert had some huge games for Milwaukee when he got the playing time. He averaged 6.9 points and 5.7 rebound per game in just 16.3 minutes per game. Expect Dalembert’s playing time to skyrocket and we could see a career year from the 11 year veteran out of Haiti.
Can Larkin Make the Transition To the NBA?
The Mavs have undersized rookie point guard, Shane Larkin, pegged as a 3rd stringer. This could change quickly if we see what we saw last year when he played with the University of Miami Hurricanes who won the ACC Title. Larkin is a great ball distributor and can add some much need energy to an older team. Larkin has the ability of being a game changer if he’s given the playing time. With Calderon and Harris ahead of him on the depth chart, we might see a lot of Shane Larkin and he could surprise a lot of people; only time will tell.
Dallas is giving the fans a lot of what we’ve seen for the last couple of years; an average aging team that’s a boarderline playoff squad. That said, the additions of Ellis and Dalembert are a definite improvement and Shane Larkin has the potential to make an impact like Damian Lillard did with Portland in his rookie season for our NBA picks, if given the playing time.