Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dallas Mavericks: Looking Into The Crystal Ball

On February 18, three days before this year's NBA trade deadline, Jason Kidd finally made his return to Dallas. This, all after almost two weeks of different reports that J-Kidd was coming to be a Dallas Maverick. Since his acqusition, the Dallas Mavericks are a mediocre 9-8, four and a half games back of the Western Conference lead in seventh place, and most importantly 0-8 against serious NBA Championship contenders. These eight loses have included the New Orleans Hornets, San Antonio Spurs (twice), LA Lakers (twice), Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, and Boston Celtics. Seeing the Mavericks lose nailbiter after nailbiter has to be completely disheartening for the Dallas fanbase, but at least there is a little good news. Dallas has competed in six of their seven losses, but they have failed to execute and make the neccesary big plays at the end of games. 

Not that it matters, but in their nine wins with Jason Kidd, the Mavericks have averaged nearly a twenty-point margin. The reason I say it doesn't matter is that unfortuanetely all nine of these teams are below .500 and all of them may not even make the playoffs.  

Earlier this season, Dirk Nowitzki was being reported as having an 'off-season', especially by many local reporters, mainly just because Josh Howard had emerged as having his best season in his career, thus far. In fifteen games with Jason Kidd, I don't think anyone should be complaining with Dirk's recent play which includes 27.2 points per game on 52% from the field and a few very big shots where he single-handidly kept the Mavericks in games (I.E. hitting a three-pointer at the end of regulation on March 2 in Los Angeles against the Lakers to force overtime). Mavericks' forward Brandon Bass has also really had a chance to shine with his recent play including his season-high point total earlier this month totalling in 19 against the New Jersey Nets on March 8. 

If the Mavs want to get out of their rut against good teams he will need to  become more of a consistent scorer.  Recently, the Mavericks picked up two solid role players in point guard Tyronn Lue and Jamaal Magloire.

Outlook & Predictions: Dirk Nowitzki was hurt in today's game against the San Antonio Spurs and if it is a serious injury than the Dallas Mavericks may be in serious danger of not even making the playoffs.  Assuming that Dirk is okay I say that the Mavericks finish the season 52-29 as the Western Conference's #6 seed and lose in the first or second round of the playoffs.  Unfortunately for the Mavs, Jason Kidd coming to Dallas in February may not have left enough time for him to get use to the Dallas Maverick's system; at least this season.

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