How Chris Kaman and Elton Brand Transform the Dallas Mavericks' Low-Post Offense
With two former All-Stars joining Dirk Nowitzki in the post this year in Dallas, the Mavericks have an opportunity to be more productive down low then at any other time in the Dirk Nowitzki era.
After missing out on Deron Williams and Steve Nash, and losing Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, many immediately touted the Mavericks as big losers in this year's offseason.
However, Mark Cuban responded by picking up a plethora of established players to ensure that the Mavericks improve on their seventh-place standing in the Western Conference from last season.
In the backcourt, Dallas picked up Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo to go along with their first-round draft pick Jared Cunningham out of Oregon State.
It was in the post, however, where Dallas made its biggest moves.
First, the Mavericks swiped up former Clipper Chris Kaman in a one-year deal to play alongside his German National teammate Dirk Nowitzki.
Kaman already shoots close to the top of the list of the best big men that Dirk Nowitzki has ever played with, and Kaman's ability not only offensively but on the boards and on defense, will be an upgrade over the Brendan Haywood-Ian Mahimi combo of last year.
Along with Kaman, Dallas managed to pick up veteran forward Elton Brand, who will serve as the team's sixth man in the frontcourt.
Brand isn't exactly a spring chicken anymore at age 33, but he still played an important role with the Philadelphia 76ers last season, and averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game. If he can come close to those numbers again this year, he will be everything that Lamar Odom wasn't last season for the Mavs.
Who is the Mavs best offseason addition
With the addition of Kaman and Brand, Dallas has two solid options down low to support Dirk Nowitzki.
Never in the Nowitzki era has there been a legitimate scorer in the post other than Dirk, and now Dallas seems to have two guys who can put up between 10-15 points and 10 rebounds or so every night.
Having Brand and Kaman on the roster helps Dallas by providing it options in the post, and it also frees up space for Dirk Nowitzki.
Nowitzki has been facing double-teams his entire career, but now if an opposing center leaks off of Brand or Kaman, he can simply dish it off and let the one of the two talented big men go to work.
Kaman and Brand are not fast-break type players, especially not at this point in their career. Therefore, don't expect Dallas to score a ton of points in transition, at least not from its bigs.
While not having bigs who run would upset Jason Kidd and his style of play, Kaman and Brand's half-court style seems to fit what Rick Carlisle and Dirk will want for next year, a team who is methodical but efficient in the half-court.
With Collison, Mayo, Cunningham, Vince Carter, Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois all capable of scoring in bunches from the perimeter and making threes, having three excellent offensive big men also helps Dallas free up long-range attempts for those shooters.
Who will have a bigger impact next year?
When you think about it, having Brand and Kaman is a pretty huge upgrade from last year and really any of the last several years for Dallas in the post, at least offensively.
While Tyson Chandler was a difference maker on D, his offensive skills were still not at the level of Brand and Kaman. With Nowitzki, Brendan Wright and Shawn Marion joining them, Dallas will have a rotation of five forwards and centers that will be hard to match up with for many teams in the West.
Another great thing about having Kaman and Brand on the roster next season is that they are both high-character players who will only help locker-room dynamics.
Brand and Kaman are not the type of players to complain if they aren't getting enough shots, and they have both been soft-spoken professional type players in their careers.
They also have a combined 22 years of experience in the NBA and will help Nowitzki teach the young players like Wright and Bernard James the way of the game and how to be a successful NBA post player.
The more you look at it closely, the better Dallas looks for next season. One through 12, the Mavericks have players who can contribute at a high level.
While there are still questions about how all the new additions will gel together with the returners, Dallas has to be optimistic that its in the top four or five teams talent-wise in the West for next year.
Their backcourt is particularly deep, and although losing Jason Terry will hurt, there are plenty of new additions who will have a chance to shine.
In the frontcourt, Dirk Nowitzki is still playing at a world-class level. The fact of the matter is, with no disrespect to Kevin Love, there isn't a power forward in the NBA I'd rather have on my team for next year than Dirk.
Now with Brand and Kaman joining the fray, Dallas will have one of the most solid low-post teams in the league, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the Southwest division.
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