Mark Cuban potentially lost out on Deron WIlliams, Dwight Howard, and Chris Paul in separate instances as candidates to help Dirk Nowitzi and his Dallas Mavericks return to glory. The 2011 NBA champions have since lost assets such as Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, and Jason Kidd, resulting in a full re-grouping that now has left 36-year-old veteran Vince Carter as the only player remaining from last season's roster.
I think Cuban was able to salvage some competitive company to surround Dirk. He signed guard Monta Ellis to a three-year deal, $25 million deal for his dynamic speed and scoring ability. Despite Grantland statistician Kirk Goldsberry's "ShotScore" shooting chart, which grades Ellis as the least efficient shooter with the Bucks last season (see link and chart below), his streaky offense is sorely needed in Dallas. Alongside four-year, $29 million signee Jose Calderon, who ranked exceptionally high on that same stat chart, that's an unpredictable back court for teams to defend.
Bringing back guard Devin Harris under the veteran minimum will serve beneficial for depth purposes once he's healthy from toe surgery. Harris will likely explore free agency next summer. There's also the addition of big man Samuel Dalembert, (two years, $7.6 million) a willing defender who they will want to mimic Tyson Chandler from 2011, and DeJuan Blair from the San Antonio Spurs, another veteran-minimum that can add muscle and your occasional double-double from the bench. The Mavericks didn't crack my top ten because I believe they're still middle-of-the-pack in the west. Although, Rick Carlisle was voted the second-best in-game adjustment head coach by NBA GM's, second to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Those attributes will need maximizing for Carlisle to slip this new-look Mavericks team into the playoff scope this season.
- Martin S. @marley_mcfly