The NBA Season is ready to start on Christmas Day, the last couple of preseason games are being played as I write this up, and it's time for me to cater to every serious NBA fans love of season previews! The 2011 Geektastic Preview is going to be way too large for one article, so I'm dividing it up into divisions (and even so, it's going to be long, so get a cup of coffee!). In this article I'm going to preview the Dallas Mavericks, who are still going to be a powerful team despite losing Tyson Chandler.
The 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks
Lost: Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Caron Butler, Corey Brewer, Rudy Fernandez (well, he never played, but still)
Added: Lamar Odom, Vince Carter, Brendan Wright, Delonte West, Andy Rautins
Outlook: Hard to see them repeating since a) they lost Chandler and even though they added Odom, Chandler's positional minutes were more important b) they're a year older, and c) it's really hard to repeat anyway. But they'll still be in the thick of things, all while keeping lots of 2012 cap space open.
And the new additions:
Losing Chandler really hurts. Picking up Odom helps a lot but it won't replace Chandler, because as giid as he is, the minutes Odom will play won't be at Center, which means either that Dirk has to play out of position (costing them some wins) or one of their poorer options at center will get some more minutes (costing them some wins).
Without Chandler's presense I have a hard time seeing the Mavericks being able to beat Denver (yes, Denver), the Clippers, San Antonio, or Oklahoma City in a 7-game series, but they'll definitely be in the thick of things and injuries or bad play from any of those teams can give them an opening.
What I really like about this team is that their contracts are all very short. In 2012, Cuban would love to sign Dwight Howard and make another big run and I like that he didn't re-sign Chandler because although he's worth it right now, his injury history is a concern, and it's a big question of whether he'll be worth his contract in the final two years of it. Not signing Barea was a no-brainer; someone was definately going to overpay for him (again, overvalueing the small sample size of one playoff series) -- he's this year's Troy Hudson.
From a management perspective, Cuban's looked very smart this year, aside from the supremem head-scratcher of re-signing Cardinal. I guess he did win them a championship by hip-checking Dwyane Wade out of the series, so maybe his signing is just to set up a moment like this: