After missing the playoffs for the first time in twelve years in 2012, the Dallas Mavericks bounced back and were led once again by Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk was limited to only 53 games the previous year and the Mavericks finished with a .500 record. This year Dirk played in 80 games and helped the Mavs win 49 games.
At age 36 Dirk was back to his old form. He was healthy and very close to hitting the 50-40-90 mark again. He shot 49-39-89 while averaging 21 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Monta Ellis was a good addition in the off-season and he played well. He took better shots and was a big shot maker in the fourth quarter. Vince Carter was good off the bench, averaging 11 ppg and hit 39% of his three pointers. He hit a game winning shot in the 1st round of the playoffs against the Spurs.
Rick Carlisle did a great job with this team. They were the 8th seed and faced the San Antonio Spurs. Many thought the series would end in four or five games. The Mavericks were not a great defensive team in the regular season but Carlisle made adjustments in the 1st round. They were the only team to take the Spurs to seven games last year.
The Mavs did not have a draft pick and did not sign any undrafted player. There was a meeting with Carmelo Anthony but never any real progress to sign him. They did manage to sign free agent Chandler Parsons away from the rival Houston Rockets. Along with Parsons the Mavs signed Al-Farouq Aminu, a defensive minded wing player and veteran Jameer Nelson. They lost fan favorite Shawn Marion to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Vince Carter signed with the Memphis Grizzlies. I think Carter will be missed because he was solid off the bench and could stretch the floor.
There was a trade with the Knicks in which the Mavs traded away Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin. In return they got Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Chandler was a part of the Mavs team that won the NBA Championship in 2011. Chandler is an upgrade and will improve their defense.
On paper this team looks better than last year but they will need good bench play. Parsons is an upgrade over Marion and will fit next to Dirk. The point guard position is slightly worst because Calderon was a good floor general and shot 45% from three point land. Nelson and Felton might share backup duties, whichever guy is knocking down shots without turning the ball over will win that job. Dirk has worked on getting a quicker release and I expect him to have a good year. The Mavs had to win 49 games to sneak into the playoffs, this year they will win 50-52 games.