The Mavericks could not get the big-ticket item—free-agent point guard Deron Williams—at the top of their shopping list, but they did find some solid pieces on the clearance rack this summer. They acquired point guard Darren Collison and swingman Dahntay Jones from the Pacers for backup center Ian Mahinmi, and signed forward Elton Brand (with a $2.1 million amnesty claim) and Chris Kaman (one year, $8 million). An All-Star two seasons ago with the Clippers, Kaman provides another low-post option, while Brand can play two positions and give the second unit scoring punch.
But the key is Collison, a starter for 56 games last season before losing his spot to George Hill just before the playoffs. Collison likes to push the pace and should energize a Dallas team that ranked 21st in fast-break points (11.9 per game). If coach Rick Carlisle can polish Collison's half-court execution—the player's weakness in Indiana and a hallmark of Carlisle's teams—the Mavs will still be a threat in the West.
COACH: Rick Carlisle (5th season with Mavericks)
2011--12 RECORD: 36--30 (3rd in Southwest)
OFFENSE: 95.8 ppg (19th)
DEFENSE: 94.8 ppg (12th)
PICK-AND-ROLL OFFENSE: 26.8 ppg (7th)
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
he is just not big enough to play the two.
Carlisle incorporates Collison and the other new pieces, and Dallas pushes a top-tier team in the second round.
The chemistry is poor, Dirk Nowitzki loses another step, and the Mavs miss the playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Career 20-point games for new center Chris Kaman since entering the NBA in 2003--04. During that span, Mavs centers have had eight 20-point games (four each for Tyson Chandler and Erick Dampier).
GARRETT ELLWOOD/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (COLLISON)
GREG NELSON (NOWITZKI)