Dallas Mavericks 2016-17 Season: 33-49 (11th in Western Conference)
Additions: Dennis Smith Jr (Draft), Josh McRoberts (Trade), Dirk Nowitzki (Free Agency: Re-signed), Nerlens Noel (Free Agency: Re-signed), Brandon Ashley (Free Agency), Gian Clavell (Free Agency), P.J. Dozier (Free Agency), Maxi Kleber (Free Agency), Jonathan Motley (Free Agency: Two-way contract), Maalik Wayns (Free Agency), Jeff Withey (Free Agency)
Subtractions: DeAndre Liggins (Trade), Jarrod Uthoff (Trade), A.J. Hammons (Trade), Nicolas Brussino (Free Agency)
The Mavericks are at a turning point. They have to move away from the Dirk era, and find a new star or set of stars to build around. Mark Cuban has promised that the Mavericks will never tank under him. Given the rebuilding, it will depend on how their existing talent develops.
The Mavericks just had one pick and it looks like they hit the jackpot with it. Dennis Smith Jr had a great career in NC State, and showed his skill in the Las Vegas Summer League. Rightly so, he will be a front runner for the Rookie of the year award if his summer league performances are judged. Many fans see him as the next face of the franchise.
Their additions from the free agency market were surprising. No major talent was acquired. Retaining Dirk Nowitzki was a no brainer. To facilitate the rebuild, his salary is also team friendly. Approaching the end of his career, he can still be effective. Last season he was a 14 point 6 rebound a night and crossed 30,000 points. Nelens Noel, one of the young 76ers was hoping for a big money move. He did not get it and has taken the qualifying offer given by the Mavericks. If he wants his big money move, he needs to perform to justify the Mavericks or anyone spending big on him.
The rest of the signings are just role players at best. None of them have had much NBA experience except McRoberts. They have all had limited production.
The problem the Mavericks face this season is the lack of star power. Seth Curry, Dennis Smith Jr., Dirk Nowitzki and Harrison Barnes are the main scorers of the teams. Other players are inconsistent. The new additions just do not have that extra fire power that the team needs. Since they have not lost much in fire power through the squad departures, their points per game scored will roughly remain the same. An injury the aforementioned players can really hamper them, seen last season when Nowitzki was out during the first half of the season.
The Mavericks find themselves in an interesting position. They have salary cap space but have not signed a star like most teams, or signed 7-8 good players like Miami. This is the start of the transition, a first in the Mark Cuban/Nowtizki era of the team. In a tough Southwest Division and Western Conference, Dallas will inevitably end up in the bottom rungs of the conference. They will not be anywhere near the playoff spots. If they can build a solid foundation with Barnes, Smith Jr, Curry and Farrell then the team can have a brighter future to look forward to. For the first time in quite a while, Maverick fans can see talent develop. Till then, it will be the old guard Nowitzki leading the new team.
The Mavericks’ decisions this summer lives up to their name.
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