Friday, June 17, 2011

Can The Mavs Repeat?

The case for: NBA champions are frequently repeat affairs. The organization is top-notch, and the experience of getting all the way to mountaintop is big and meaningful. Key components of the team are getting better (those would be JJ Barea and Tyson Chandler). They get Caron Butler back, and he's a major upgrade over DeShawn Stevenson. They've got enough of a bench to get them through the regular season without wearing out the starters. Coach Rick Carlisle showed his chops in every series this playoff season. Owner Mark Cuban will spend to win, and the team has a serious home court advantage.

For years, they've mostly gotten in their own way in the playoffs. At this point, you have to think that they are playing with house money, and since they did this as an underdog, they will still come into next year with a chip on their shoulders, rather than having to worry about complacency and hangovers.

The case against: The best players are Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry -- all way past the point of their careers when they would be getting better. They made a ton of hay this year with a zone defense in the playoffs,and teams that play zone rarely have good defense in the long run. Shawn Marion was absolutely crucial for many of these games, and he's also on the downside. DeShawn Stevenson is capable of getting arrested at any moment, and the big man combo of Chandler and Brendan Haywood doesn't exactly create big confidence.

Oklahoma City and Los Angeles could be better -- much better -- fairly soon, either from emerging talent or from aggressive personnel management. They were healthy during their run this year, and as an older team, that's not a given. If Kidd falters, and he's got an astounding number of miles on the tires, this team will falter, since there isn't any other pure point on the roster, and Kidd's renaissance also gave them a strong defensive presence.

The prognosis: It's impossible and silly to even consider predicting the season before it begins; if the Lakers manage to, say, swing an Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard move, or the Magic send Howard to another contender, that would swing the balance of power a ton. Chris Paul is getting closer to free agency as well, and as the early part of the Laker series showed, he can swing games just by himself. I also still think the world of the Thunder, and wonder if Kendrick Perkins was actually healthy.

I don't think they are getting there again, but I didn't think they were getting there for much of the playoff year. So add your own opinion in the comments...

2 comments:

Dirty Davey said...

You know my opinion -- it all depends on whether Roy Tarpley can come back from his suspension.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the conversation is over if they do not resign Chandler but I think Mark Cuban sees that through.

Besides getting Butler back we also get Roddy B and Dominique Jones who where injured. I think Corey Brewer will play a bigger role as well.

Bill B

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