After their first-round exit, the Dallas Mavericks will be at home for the remainder of the NBA playoffs. Joining only the Miami Heat, the team that beat them in the 2006 NBA Finals, the Mavs became only the second squad to get swept in the first round following a championship the previous season.
Naturally, the head-scratching from fans and players alike is set to begin. However, there were unmitigated circumstances and differences between this year's team and the one that won the championship just last June.
The loss of major contributors Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea hurt. So did the ineffectual play of Lamar Odom, who basically stole his $8.9 million salary from Mark Cuban this season. And the 66-game schedule certainly played no favorites with the champs, who were the oldest team in the league.
Even with this failed title defense behind them, there are more questions than answers than ever before for Dirk Nowitzki and Co. Here are the top five priorities this offseason to help Dallas return to championship form as soon as possible.