2013-14 NBA Season Preview Player Power Rankings for Dallas Mavericks
During an offseason full of roster changes, Dallas acquired new players at nearly every position who will contribute throughout the season. From shooter Monta Ellis to shot-blocker Samuel Dalembert to facilitator Jose Calderon, the new-look Mavs have loads of incoming talent that will be showcased immediately.
Production and role were major factors in deciding the final rankings. Other aspects considered include playing time, health, efficiency and last season's numbers.
Dirk Nowitzki is Dallas' unquestioned leader and star, but how does the rest of Rick Carlisle's team stack up against one another?
16. Mickey McConnell
At the beginning of training camp, the Mavericks had five non-guaranteed contracts on their roster.
But small forwards Renaldo Baklman and Devin Ebanks, center Fab Melo and shooting guard D.J. Kennedy were waived by the team.
16. Mickey McConnell, Point Guard
The only remaining non-guaranteed player, Mickey McConnell is finishing out the preseason as the third-string point guard. Devin Harris and Shane Larkin were unavailable for early action, so McConnell played sparingly but filled an end-of-the-bench role.
A 46.3 percent three-point shooter in college, McConnell can stroke it from the behind the arc.
Unfortunately for the former St. Mary's guard, however, he is stuck in a logjam behind Calderon, Harris, Gal Mekel and Larkin.
A trip to the NBA D-League is McConnell's likely future.
15-11 (Guaranteed Players)
Per Hoopsworld, the Mavericks currently have 15 guaranteed contracts.
15. Shane Larkin, Point Guard
Shane Larkin is in a tough spot.
A second team All-American at the University of Miami during the 2012-13 NCAA season, Larkin was drafted in the first round. But shortly before the Mavericks left for summer league, Larkin fractured his right ankle.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel notes Larkin is trying to remain patient during ankle rehab. When he returns, the 5'11" point guard will be fourth at his position on the depth chart.
14. Ricky Ledo, Shooting Guard
Ricky Ledo edges out Larkin for the 14th spot because he has actually been able to play throughout the offseason.
Though Ledo has not been sensational during the preseason, he will survive the final cuts.
Of course, a season in the D-League wouldn't be an awful thing for Ledo as Ellis, Ellington and swingman Vince Carter stand in his way for playing time.
But as it stands, Ledo will occasionally appear as one of Dallas' final players to enter a given game.
13. Bernard James, Center
Last season, Bernard James held down the end-of-the-bench garbage-minutes role for 46 games.
James is not expected to be an impactful backup, and his preseason performance certainly backed that up. James played scattered minutes, never really finding a rhythm on either end of the floor.
Wright's injury will help the third-stringer get some more minutes right now, but when Wright returns, James will be relegated to the only-if-necessary part of the lineup.
12. Gal Mekel, Point Guard
With Jose Calderon, Devin Harris and Larkin each sidelined by injury, Gal Mekel has been thrown into the gauntlet.
Mekel struggled protecting the ball during the preseason, but Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com notes the point guard has earned coach Rick Carlisle's trust heading into the 2013-14 season.
The additional preseason playing time Mekel was given will prove invaluable since he will be tasked with playing second-string minutes at least until Harris is healthy.
11. DeJuan Blair, Power Forward
Signed away from the rival San Antonio Spurs during the offseason, DeJuan Blair will contribute off the bench.
At 6'7", Blair is certainly undersized for his position, but the Mavericks need him to play big. As Nowitzki's primary backup, Blair will play a more significant role than he did in San Antonio last season.
The University of Pittsburgh product did play 20-plus minutes per game during 2010-11 and 2011-12, so Blair should be ready for the challenge.
10. Devin Harris, Point Guard
Former Maverick Devin Harris signed a deal to return to Dallas and will serve as Calderon's backup during the 2013-14 campaign.
When he comes back from a toe injury, that is.
When Harris finally hits the court, he will play both point guard and shooting guard in a reserve role.
9. Brandan Wright, Center
Last season, Brandan Wright scored 8.5 points on 59.7 percent shooting and grabbed 4.1 rebounds per game.
In his one preseason game, Wright dropped 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting and snagged three boards.
He was expected to spell the newly acquired Dalembert, but Wright is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, leaving a void that must be filled by Blair, James or a small lineup.
Long story short, the Mavs are eagerly awaiting Wright's return.
8. Jae Crowder, Small Forward
Jae Crowder must become a more efficient player on offense, but he is in a perfect situation to improve as an under-the-radar backup.
Crowder is certainly fighting for minutes now that Vince Carter will see action at small forward, but injuries at the point guard position give Crowder an early-season opportunity for more playing time.
The Marquette University product needs to capitalize while he has the chance and make himself indispensable when Harris and Larkin return to the court. Because when that happens, Carter's 2-guard duties will be reduced, and the Marion/Carter/Crowder battle will be in full force.
7. Wayne Ellington, Shooting Guard
Wayne Ellington finally has the chance to play for a playoff-caliber team, and the fifth-year guard is already drawing some attention.
Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News notes Carlisle likes what Ellington brings to the Mavericks on both ends of the court.
"[Ellington is] a solid two-way player. ... He obviously shoots the ball well, but he’s been one of our better defenders in training camp. He’s going to be an important guy for us as I look at it right now."
Arguably Dallas' most underrated offseason signing, Ellington brings a knack for connecting on outside shots. He has converted on 38.2 percent of his career three-point attempts, so he is more reliable than Monta Ellis—the Mavs' anticipated starting shooting guard.
6. Samuel Dalembert, Center
Offseason addition Samuel Dalembert was a frustrating case through three preseason games. He was supposed to be a defensive menace in the post for the Mavericks, but Dalembert was racking up personal fouls instead of blocked shots.
A well-documented episode, after the first preseason contest, Carlisle criticized the veteran center for his lack of conditioning (h/t ESPN Dallas).
The calling-out must have stroke a chord with Dalembert, however, and he finished the preseason exponentially better than he started.
5. Monta Ellis, Shooting Guard
Monta Ellis is an interesting player to rank.
He could certainly be Dallas' second-leading scorer by season's end, but Ellis is strictly an offensive weapon.
Ellis' offensive contributions will be overshadowed by his lack of defensive effort, but he is still an important player to the Mavericks.
4. Vince Carter, Shooting Guard
Kinda-sorta bold prediction time: Vince Carter will be a leading candidate for the 2013-14 NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Carter is the Mavericks most versatile player as he will be used at both the shooting guard and small forward positions throughout the upcoming season and could even be the primary ball-handler if absolutely necessary.
The former North Carolina standout is Dallas' second-leading returning scorer, and Carter's veteran presence is important due to the influx of new talent.
3. Jose Calderon, Point Guard
With the signing of Jose Calderon, the Mavericks will once again have one of the league's top distributors.
Darren Collison was a serviceable point guard last season, but Calderon is light years ahead of Collison as a facilitator. Calderon is also a fantastic three-point shooter and led the league from behind the arc during 2012-13.
Calderon's passing ability will take pressure off of Dirk Nowitzki to create his own shot, and it will allow for players like Ellis, Ellington and Carter to find more open—or at least less-contested—looks.
He missed Dallas' first four preseason games, but Calderon is ready for the regular season.
2. Shawn Marion, Small Forward
While Vince Carter is the Mavs' most versatile player, Shawn Marion is Dallas' best all-around talent. Marion has been the team's starting small forward for three seasons and parts of another, starting 232 of his 285 appearances with the Mavericks and showcasing his talents on both ends of the court.
SB Nation's Drew Garrison did an excellent breakdown of why Marion is still one of the NBA's elite defenders.
During 2012-13, Marion had his most efficient season in Dallas, averaging 12.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.7 blocks per game.
Save for the obvious No. 1, Marion is easily Dallas' most important player because of his offensive and defensive contributions.
1. Dirk Nowitzki, Power Forward
Even at 35 years old, this Dirk Nowitzki guy is pretty good.
Last season, Nowitzki played the fewest games (53) of his career since his rookie year, but the 7-footer showed few signs of regression following his return from knee surgery.
After an offseason to completely heal, Nowitzki will be at full strength with a better surrounding cast than he had a year ago.
The Mavericks missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, and Dirk will be the key player in leading Dallas back to the postseason.