In the offseason the Mavericks had quite a bit of drama with the whole emoji wars and Deandre Jordan committing to Dallas then later saying nah I rather play with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. (I’m sorry I cannot blame him) The Mavericks this year have made the playoffs and many before the season did not have them even making it there. (Myself included.) We should really be applauding Rick Carlisle and Dirk Nowitzki for this effort this season. Dirk at 37 years old is still carrying a team that overall has been putrid this year leading them in scoring again. It is absolutely crazy that he is able to produce the way he has been.
They offered Wesley Matthews a big contract which was probably not the best move considering he had just torn his achilles, and he has not been what Maverick fans were hoping for. Matthews is shooting 38.8% from the field and 36% from 3 point land. It has not been pretty to watch and it is hard to blame Matthews for Cuban handing him a lot of money. It is just going to take him at least a year to recover if ever from an injury like that. Then there is Chandler Parsons who many Maverick fans are already tired of. It does not have much to do with his on court production as that is pretty damn good, but his injuries have become a real issue. They will not have him in the playoffs this year and that is a killer when you have to go up against the Thunder.
The surprise of the 2nd half of the year has been J.J. Barea. Before getting injured in the 4th to last game of the season J.J. had a 7 game stretch averaging 22.3 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, 6.3 assists per game, on 52.9% from the field and 50% from 3. He can be lethal when he is out there and I have always thought he has been one of the more underrated players in the league. My one issue is his defense. In most cases throughout the regular season you do not have to worry about it as much, but what are the chances of J.J. who is listed at 6’0, and I know that is incorrect because I have met him in person and was taller than him when I was in 8th grade, limiting Russell Westbrook? Yeah the chances are not good. I hope Carlisle can find ways to make him useful, because if you can get him out there on the court he only brings positives to the team. Having someone who can do things like this on a Westbrook who is very lackadaisical on defense in huge.
We will see a lot of Deron Williams out there on the floor because he is probably the best option for Westbrook and can be physical with him. I am all for it, and maybe Dallas is lucky enough to see a glimpse of prime Deron Williams like he showed us last year in the playoffs against the Hawks. Deron has not been anything crazy good this year, but always has the ability to show out and get hot at a much needed time.
Then there is the guy who was thought of as nothing and almost started in the all star game this year and that man’s name is Zaza Pachulia. Many thought of Zaza as a horrible replacement for Deandre Jordan, but after seeing him this year I realized just how much I underrated Zaza. He is averaging basic numbers that resemble Tyson Chandler’s numbers while in Dallas. He is also an extremely high IQ player on defense. He is very slow, but knows positioning and footwork to do what is needed for the team. I cannot lie I fell in love with Zaza this year because he gives you more value than you will ever have to pay him and I am hoping we can see some of his value in this series.
They face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round and I have to be honest things do not look good. I do not see the Mavericks having any answer for the Thunder. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook might have a field day and that could have this series ending in a clean sweep. Only way the Mavs seems to have a chance at winning is an explosive game from one of their players and that is asking a lot of one guy to carry a team past two of the top 5 players in the NBA.