The Mavericks won a title in 2011. You can never take that away from them. They did it because the great Dirk Nowitzki was their best player, and they had built well around him. Nowitzki has always been a joy to watch, and I'll cherish every chance I get to see him from now until the end of his career. The biggest issue with the team now, though, is that Nowitzki is still their best player. Don't get me wrong - he's still a legend and all. Like the rest of us, though, he's not as young as he used to be. He is still playing well, but not well enough to lead a legitimate contender in the Western Conference. Other teams have handled the necessary transition better - Tim Duncan didn't have to be the star of the Spurs for his final years, for example. Dallas hasn't yet figured that out, and until they do it's going to be hard to get too excited about the squad.
2016 Dallas Mavericks Betting Storylines
I find lots of reasons to be negative about this team and the direction they are locked into. While they lack an impressive bench, and favor age over beauty in general, there is one thing you absolutely can't knock them for. Rick Carlisle is a great coach - one of the very best in a league that is very well coached in general right now. That's an obvious asset for this team, but it is also part of the problem - Carlisle gets the most out of these teams, so they are never quite bad enough to justify a course correction. I'm sure Carlisle has been more thrilled with other rosters in the past, but he'll get more out of this group than most would.
The success of this team is going to ride to a significant extent on how Wesley Matthews plays. He joined the team last year as a free agent and is probably their best defensive player. He looked solid last year but still seemed to be working to shake off the impact of the torn Achilles' he suffered the year before. This year he is further removed, and we really need to see him step up and take a leadership role on this team. He's probably the player I'm most bullish about on the team - at least in terms of upside - but he has a lot to prove. In particular, his shooting was substandard last year and needs to be much better. The point guard position is a bit of a mess with the team - a whole lot of guys who don't amount to nearly enough - so the pressure on Matthews to power this backcourt will be significant.
2016 Dallas Mavericks Additions and Departures
The biggest moves the team made in the offseason displays what is wrong with the mindset of the squad in my eyes. Chandler Parsons and Zaza Pachulia have moved on, and Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut were brought in to replace them. You could argue that the changes are an improvement - they had better be given how much they overpaid Barnes - but they aren't difference makers, and they don't really dramatically change the fabric of this team. The Mavs seem to be clinging to what worked and hoping that somehow it works again instead of making big moves to keep up and innovate. To put it more harshly, it's hard to see how you are going to catch up to the Warriors by grabbing the two core players the Warriors didn't want anymore.
Aside from those moves, there was plenty more shuffling, but none that shatters the earth. Jeremy Evans, Raymond Felton, David Lee, JaVale McGee, and Charlie Villanueva are all gone, and Quincy Acy, and Seth Curry joined up. The only draft addition was Purdue senior center A.J. Hammons, who was a second-rounder. The team is also evaluating a large number of undrafted players and imports looking for a bargain gem.
2016 Dallas Mavericks Futures Odds and Trends
Dallas was a mediocre team last year, but for bettors they were elite - their 45-36-1 ATS mark was tied as the second best in the whole league. The total was less fruitful, though - they went "under" 42 times and under 39, so no real money could be made. Their playoff run was almost too brief to even remember. They were 2-3 ATS in their five games and went "over" in three of them.
Dallas Mavericks Futures Odds (from Bovada)
NBA title odds : +20000
Western Conference title odds : +10000
Dirk Nowitzki MVP Odds : +30000
Season win total (from Westgate): 39.5
2016 Dallas Mavericks Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The Mavericks will probably make the playoffs. They probably won't win a series. They probably won't do anything about them. People probably won't care about them too much. Mark Cuban will probably still be very rich.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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