- PG – Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois, JJ Barea
- SG – Dominique Jones, DeShawn Stevenson, Matt Carroll
- SF – Caron Butler, Shawn Marion
- PF – Dirk Nowitzki, Ian Mahinmi, Steve Novak
- C – Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, Alexis Ajinca
- The remarkable offensive ability and go-to scoring of Dirk Nowitzki
- A tough one two punch at center with Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood who combine to give Dallas a very effective defensive anchor, shot blocking and high quality rebounding throughout the game.
- The all-round game of Jason Kidd. Very good passer, excellent rebounder, very good team defender and good shooter.
- The explosive power of their small backcourt with Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and JJ Barea
- The lockdown defensive ability of Shawn Marion on the wing and his ability to play both forward positions.
- The defensive combination of Marion (perimeter stopper) and Tyson Chandler (interior defender) is one of the most effective defensive combinations in the league.
- Weak collection of shooting guards. Over-reliant on small backcourts.
- The lack of a second quality shot-creator to play alongside Dirk Nowitzki
- The vulnerability of Kidd + Dirk + Caron defensively. Plus their small backcourt defensive issues.
- The offensive limitations of Haywood/Tyson + Marion + Kidd and their lack of a second scorer.
Not A Contender
Say it with me now, the Dallas Mavericks are not a title contender.
They do not have enough elite talent, are vulnerable in terms of shot creation and have enough defensive weaknesses to hold them back on that end of the court.
What Dallas does have is a wonderful player in Dirk Nowitzki and a very good albeit flawed supporting cast.
If Dallas could just add that final impact player to the puzzle, they could push themselves over the hump and back to being a legitimate title contender.
Caron Butler’s Ineffectiveness Offensively
Caron Butler’s inefficiency, scoring wise, and, limited passing ability is rendering him ineffective offensively.
Last season, Butler scored 15.6ppg between his time in Washington and Dallas last season. He did so on a TS% of 50.6% (way below average) while turning the ball over twice a game. His numbers, scoring wise, were consistent in both DC and Dallas.
Dallas cannot compete for an NBA title while relying so heavily on Butler offensively, or for that matter, on Jason Terry and their small backcourts. Simply put, their secondary and tertiary scoring options are too inconsistent and vulnerable to quality defensive teams to get them over the hump in a tight playoff series.
Dallas is not a legitimate contender but they only sure-fire contender in the West is the Los Angeles Lakers. They are a pair of maybes (Houston and Portland) and then a bunch of teams who could just as easily get knocked out in the first round as make the Conference Finals. Like Phoenix and Denver before them, Dallas is one of those teams.
So let’s concentrate on just the Lakers rather than 10/11 teams who are scrambling for playoff positions out in the West.
Los Angeles Lakers
Good news: The Mavs big men have the size, rebounding and overall ability to matchup with the Lakers.
Bad news: The Mavs have all types of problems on the wing matching up with Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest.
The Mavs propensity for backcourts + issues offensively and lack of a second scoring threat when Marion plus a defensive big plus Kidd are on the court together … make it difficult for Dallas to matchup effectively with the Lakers on the wing.
To have any hope of containing Kobe Bryant, the Mavericks will need to play Shawn Marion 35 minutes a night to keep Kobe in check. That is a lot of minutes to be playing three low level offensive threats + that will put a huge amount of pressure on either Jason Terry or Caron Butler to supply a second go-to scorer to go alongside Dirk in that lineup.
The simple truth of the matter is that those two are very unlikely to score enough, efficiently and consistently, to lead Dallas to a series win over LA in a seven game series.
The Lakers should handle the Mavs comfortably enough when all is said and done.
And if the Mavs fail to play Marion big minutes, Kobe should have a huge series (similar to what he did against Phoenix and Utah in the playoffs last year) and lead LA to victory.