Dallas made some good moves in an attempt to stave off a rebuilding era. It added Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, Dahntay Jones, Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo, while getting rid of Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Ian Mahinmi. Sounds like a formula for a playoff return, right?
Well, not really. If the Mavs had been able to get Deron Williams, that would be a different story. But Dallas has fallen into the trap of signing decent free agents in order to delay a rebuilding era, which is not a good way to keep your team going.
The only ones who add a lethal scoring threat are Mayo and Kaman, who are good at what they do. However, both have faults that Mavericks fans will gradually see throughout the season. Kaman doesn't play good defense and has a knack for sustaining injuries, which will cause him to be a bit of a liability.
As a Memphis fan, I can tell you that by the end of the season, O.J. will give you headaches. He plays good defense and can shoot, but at times it looks like he doesn't know how to. He's a very hot and cold player who can't decide when he wants to actually score. Consistency is a big problem with him.
Brand and Jones play good defense, but that's pretty much it. Brand has seen a drastic decline in offensive efficiency, while Jones never had too much of an offensive game to decline from.
Collison is really one of the only ones who you can't fault. He's not overly good, but he's not bad either. He plays great defense and is a good facilitator. He will probably never be an All-Star selection, but he doesn't need to be.
Will the Mavericks return to the playoffs next year?
Their bench is decent, but once again, not great. The only one who stands out is Delonte West, but he never wowed anybody.
For the most part though, the Mavericks got better. It was a minor improvement, but improvement nonetheless. It won't be enough to beat out other Western Conference teams though.
Yes, that is what I ultimately think will keep Dallas out of the playoffs. While the Mavs made minor improvements, everyone else made major ones.
I think one will be obtained by the Timberwolves. They were battling for a spot with Love and Rubio before he tore his ACL. They obtained a hopeful Brandon Roy and Andrei Kirilenko, which should bolster their defense and help offensively.
I think Dallas could certainly return to the playoffs the year after next. It certainly have talent, but it has yet to be seen if its mixing of those talents will really come together.
I just can't put my money on saying that the Mavericks will make it to the playoffs next year.