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News » Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2009-10-18

Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2009-10-18

Dallas Mavericks Getting Inside 2009-10-18Realizing they needed a talent upgrade with Dirk Nowitzki's window getting smaller with each passing year, the Mavericks were aggressive this offseason. Shawn Marion was the key acquisition in a summer that nearly included the signing of Marcin Gortat. While losing out on Gortat, who would have taken over at center, was disappointing, the Mavs are still happy with their haul. They're more athletic after signing Drew Gooden and Quinton Ross, and added three-point specialist Tim Thomas, who's currently recovering from knee surgery.

The newcomers came aboard without comprising the nucleus of a squad that reached the Western Conference semifinals last season. Jason Kidd re-signed. Josh Howard, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea and Erick Dampier are among those rotations regulars back for another go-around. Brandon Bass is the only significant loss.

"We want to make the team better," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "When you have a superstar player, you want to make sure you have the right components around him. And with Dirk, we feel we've got to surround him with the right kind of physical presence at different positions, dynamic athleticism, and have to be guys out there that can make shots and take pressure off him."

Dallas easily dispatched the Spurs in the first round before being ousted by the Nuggets in five games. Falling to the Denver exposed the Mavs' lack of athleticism, especially at the defensive end.

Nowitzki believes the new faces will help in that category and get the team back into the discussion as a true West contender.

"We can be right there, especially if we get better defensively than we were last year, and we should be since we're longer and more athletic," Nowitzki said. "And offensively we should be better if we can keep Josh healthy.

"We were really good with him last year in the lineup, but he missed almost two months and missed some in the playoffs. And that really hurt us because he showed in the San Antonio series how valuable he is to this team."

COACHING STAFF: Head Coach -- Rick Carlisle, 8th year overall, 2nd with Mavericks (331-243). Assistants -- Dwane Casey, Terry Stotts, Tom Sterner.

LAST SEASON, REMEMBERED: 50-32 (3rd in Southwest), lost in Western Conference semifinals to Denver, 4-1.

THIS SEASON, PREDICTED: 54-28 (2nd in Southwest), Western Conference semifinals.

POSSIBLE CHANGES, PREDICTED: Erick Dampier is a valuable trading chip come the deadline. The veteran center is on essentially an expiring contract at $10.1 million, and Dampier also tends to elevate his play in the last year of a deal. Mark Cuban is willing to spend money, i.e. take on a long-term contract, for a difference maker. Dampier is likely the chip needed to make any big-time deal.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 18, 2009


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