Pieces Dallas Mavericks Must Acquire to Become a True Contender
The Dallas Mavericks are going to be a team looking to make a splash in free agency this offseason.
Dallas is coming off a 41-41 season and the franchise failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999-2000.
However, there is a certain possibility that neither one of those players will jump to the Mavericks, so the front office may very well have to use its cap space in a different way.
The Mavericks only have five players under contract for next season, and they have many needs that they can go after in the free-agent market.
If Dallas was able to acquire these players, even if none of them are superstars, it would be on its way to being a serious contender in the West by plugging up some of the holes it has on its roster.
One of the first things the Mavericks need to do is address their point guard situation if they want to improve next season.
It seems unlikely that Darren Collison will be brought back and given the starting role for a second year, so Dallas is going to be on the prowl in free agency to find a lead guard that can take over for the team's future run.
One option that they certainly will be looking at is Jarrett Jack who played for the Golden State Warriors this past season.
While coming off the bench to relieve Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Jack had an outstanding season and put himself in the discussion for NBA Sixth Man of the Year consideration.
Jack could be brought in for a reasonable price, and the Mavericks have reportedly already expressed interest, according to CBS Sports, in bringing Jack on board, presumably for their starting point guard position.
Averaging nearly 13 points and six assists this past season, plus he was a crucial part of the Warriors playoff run. One would expect Jack would only increase those numbers playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas.
D.J. Augustin may not be the first name that pops into a Mavericks fans mind when thinking of future point guard options, but the Pacers backup is a great potential option to bolster the team's bench.
Augustin's numbers won't stand out in many ways, but he has the capability of coming in and making a positive contribution in a backup role.
Once the Mavericks address their starting point guard role, they then need to start looking at backup options as the team had a revolving door of backup point guards in 2012-13.
Augustin has averaged as many as 14.4 points in his career, so he certainly has a knack for putting the ball in the basket. He is also a capable passer and three-point shooter and will likely go for a relatively cheap price in free agency.
The Dallas Mavericks ranked 27th in the NBA in opponents' points per game last season, so they simply must fix their defensive woes if they want to get back to the playoffs.
They have a serious need on the interior for a defensive presence, but they also need help guarding on the perimeter.
The most talented defensive free agent in this year's class is Tony Allen.
Allen has the ability to guard the 1, 2 or 3 positions and uses his length and quickness to stay in front of defenders.
Allen helped lead the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals this season and will now be a hot commodity on the free-agent market.
Allen, along with a still great defensive player like Shawn Marion and a decent point guard defender like Jarrett Jack, could completely turn the Mavericks D around.
It certainly won't be easy to pry Allen away from the Grizzlies, but giving $8-10 million to a guy like Allen isn't a bad investment if you have the money to spend on him like the Mavericks do.
Once they land Allen, the Mavericks can then look for a pure shooter to come off the bench. If they can't attain Allen, Lance Stephenson and Andre Iguodala are also prime options to help their perimeter defense.
After the Mavericks address their perimeter needs, they can then focus on helping the interior of their roster.
Chris Kaman just didn't work out for the Mavericks this year, and Brandan Wright, Elton Brand and Bernard James had up and down seasons.
Along with being one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, the Mavericks also struggled immensely on the glass.
In fact the Mavericks were the third worst team in the league in terms of rebounding differential at minus-3.7 per contest.
A guy who could really help them in that area is J.J. Hickson who has spent the past year-and-a-half with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Since coming to Portland, Hickson has blossomed into one of the most solid scorers and rebounders in the league.
Hickson ranked seventh in the NBA in rebounds at 10.4 per-game, and he was one of only seven players in the league to average a double-double.
Despite being just 6'9'', Hickson plays the center position, and he uses his strength and physicality to bang with the big boys down low.
Hickson would be a great fit in Dallas not only because he would help them in scoring, defense and rebounding, but also because he is used to playing center next to a taller, more offensive-oriented power forward like Dirk Nowitzki, as he played with LaMarcus Aldridge while with the Blazers.
Hickson only went for $4 million in his last contract and he will certainly have a bigger market than that this year, but if the Mavericks don't land Dwight Howard, Hickson may be their next best option at center.
Playing behind Kosta Kufos and Javale McGee in Denver, Timofey Mozgov never got consistent minutes while playing for George Karl and the Nuggets.
However, now that he is a free agent, Mozgov could help out the Dallas Mavericks come next season.
Mozgov isn't offensively skilled enough to play big-time minutes in the NBA. However, he is a good rebounder and defender, and can be even better with more experience.
Mozgov is 7'1'', 250 lbs. and has shown in his short NBA career a good ability to block shots and be a bother in the paint.
If he continues to improve, Mozgov could become the prototypical backup NBA center, and the Mavericks would be smart to look at him very closely in free agency.
I do believe the team should look at bringing back Brandan Wright, but playing him at the power forward seems like a more natural fit than playing him at center since he struggles so much with rebounding.
If the Mavs could bring Wright off the bench at power forward, and Mozgov off the bench at center, along with J.J. Hickson and Dirk Nowitzki, it could give them a solid frontcourt rotation.
It will be curious to see what kind of market Mozgov has in free agency, but if the Mavericks are lucky they may be able to sign him for close to the $3.9 million that his qualifying offer stand at this offseason.