|2011-12 Team Rating|
|17th Overall||4th Overall|
Stats through Feb. 16
It's never a good sign when your resident All-Star and reigning Finals MVP has to take a week off to get in shape. But Dirk Nowitzki has rounded into his All-Star form, though the same can't necessarily be said about Shawn Marion.
An ailing Jason Kidd, an aging Vince Carter, an average Delonte West and an underperforming Roddy Beaubois has had the defending champs offense running less than smooth.
The Mavs no longer have Tyson Chandler to challenge and chase every shot attempt in the paint. But they're still getting out chasing on the perimeter and rank with the best in limiting opponents' field goal percentage.
Jason Terry campaigns to get into the All-Star 3-point shootout while everyone tries to figure out what's ailing Lamar Odom. Still the Mavs have the most productive bench in the league.
It probably took until Game 6 of The Finals for Rick Carlisle to start getting credit he's deserved. Give him more for telling Dirk to sit out and get into shape and for keeping championship hangover from consuming the Mavs.
There are so many different ways to look at the first half of the season by the Mavericks. Were they still suffering from a championship-sized hangover when they opened things up on Christmas Day getting crushed by Miami? Were the remaining Mavs still searching in every nook and cranny of their locker room trying to find their old buddies Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea, DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, Corey Brewer and Caron Butler?
Or is there something a bit more devious going on here, such as team owner Mark Cuban trimming his payroll and marshaling his resources to make a big run at the free agent jackpot combo of Dwight Howard and Deron Williams next summer? Who could blame Cuban if he were willing to sacrifice one title defense for the possibility of a handful more?
Whoa! Hold on there with conspiracy theories and leaps to conclusions. Now that Nowitzki has taken the time to get the proper conditioning to find his stride, the Mavs have steadily pushed themselves back toward the top of the standings after their 1-4 start. They need a fit and functioning Jason Kidd to make the offense run and it would certainly help if Lamar Odom could return from whatever planet he's on to help. But if they're healthy when the playoffs arrive, these guys know how to execute at crunch time and know how to win.
-- Fran Blinebury
Explanation of Marking System
|Golden State Warriors||C-|
|Los Angeles Clippers||B|
|Los Angeles Lakers||B-|
|New Jersey Nets||D|
|New Orleans Hornets||F|
|New York Knicks||C+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||B-|
|San Antonio Spurs||A|