Ranking the Dallas Mavericks' Offseason Acquisitions
By being active in the trade market and exploiting the rules of restricted free agency and offer sheets, Dallas may be re-entering the title picture once again.
Michael Pina at Sports on Earth broke that down here:
No team -- save the Cleveland Cavaliers, for obvious reasons -- has had a more pleasantly surprising offseason than the Dallas Mavericks. They filled a glaring hole, added a rising star and filled the margins with cheap, veteran production.
With Dirk Nowitzi still hanging on as a dark horse MVP candidate and Rick Carlisle functioning as the second best coach in the league, Dallas is perhaps once again on the brink of another title run.
There's a lot of room for optimism in Dallas, but which offseason acquisition should have the biggest impact this season?
Based solely on what they should be able to provide on both ends this season, we'll rank the Mavericks' top five pickups this offseason.
5. Al-Farouq Aminu
Checking in at No. 5 is one of the sneakier moves of the offseason for the Mavericks. While all the attention will be drawn elsewhere, Al-Farouq Aminu has the potential to surprise in a new system with a new coach.
In his first four years in the NBA, Aminu has been very limited. The only areas he's really contributed in have been rebounding and in transition, as the skills required to be competent in the half-court setting just haven't been there.
Of course, there's still time for Aminu to develop into something more than a lanky, rebounding small forward. He's only 23, and with a coaching staff that utilizes a lot of creative defensive schemes, Aminu could be a nice piece on the chessboard for Rick Carlisle to play with.
At least when he's engaged, Aminu can reasonably cover three positions. That should help replace some of what Shawn Marion did for the team, although it's not fair or reasonable to expect Aminu to be on the same level right away.
Again, there's potential for growth here. If Aminu works hard and maintains a high level of energy, he could be a useful rotation player and a solid wing defender.
4. Raymond Felton
You won't find many players more hated by their former fanbases than Raymond Felton. While that can certainly be telling and indicative of a player's effort, Felton's bulky body type invokes a lot of criticism that he might not fully deserve.
When Felton is healthy and moving well around the court, he's still a pretty useful point guard. A lot of his effectiveness depends on his jumper falling, which has always been an inconsistent thing to hope for, but he's a good passer out of the pick-and-roll and has shown a nice chemistry with Tyson Chandler in that setting in previous years.
Felton seems to go through swings where he's motivated to prove everyone wrong, and it certainly seems like he's being written off a little prematurely at 30 years old. He'll need his three-point shooting (31.8 percent) and defense to be on point more than ever to justify time next to Monta Ellis, but it's not hard to imagine Felton having a bounce-back campaign.
The good thing for Dallas is that it's not married to Felton as a starter. With a variety of other available options to play that spot, the Mavericks aren't in a position where they have to count on Felton being all systems go, which is probably a good thing.
He was likely viewed as more of a salary-dump acquisition than a real asset in the trade with the New York Knicks, but Felton has the talent to produce at a decent rate next season.
3. Jameer Nelson
Jameer Nelson isn't a player who can handle a full starting load of minutes because of his injuries and advanced age, but he may the best bet to close out games for the Mavericks at the point.
Nelson has always had a steady hand at point guard, and his long-range shooting should be a valuable asset next to Dirk Nowitzki. Rick Carlisle will undoubtedly want a point guard he can trust to initiate the offense and get the ball in the right player's hands, and Nelson can do that.
Nelson is another candidate for a comeback season, mainly because he'll be playing for something again now that he's no longer with a rebuilding team in the Orlando Magic. Playing next to a star like Nowitzki and for a great coach can give a player new legs.
A deep point guard market and Nelson's desire to play for a contender made him available later in the offseason than you might expect, but Nelson was a solid acquisition who should provide valuable minutes, particularly if his shooting numbers revert to the mean in an explosive offense.
2. Chandler Parsons
Most would probably consider Chandler Parsons to be the biggest move for the Mavericks this offseason. He'll bring athleticism on the wing and even more firepower offensively, which certainly won't hurt.
Here's what Parsons told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News about playing with Nowitzki and about his future:
I think we’re going to be really good. Me and him in the pick and roll and working off each other, I think it’s going to be tough to guard. We can be really efficient. ...
I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of where I can be. I’m an extremely hard worker and I look forward to being here for a really long time. I’m all about winning and put the team before myself. But I definitely view myself in that way (as a future star). I’m going to keep proving people wrong. All my life, people have doubted me.
Parsons could certainly be ready for a career year, but he doesn't necessarily fill a huge need in terms of production for the Mavericks. Shawn Marion was a far superior defender, even in his old age, and last year Parsons put up numbers very similar to those of Vince Carter.
When you remember that Dallas was third in offensive efficiency and 22nd in defensive efficiency, you wonder if Parsons was the right guy to put next to Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki, particularly for over $15 million next year.
Parsons is an overall talent upgrade, and he's certainly on the rise as opposed to the decline like Carter and Marion, so this is still a really nice pickup, especially since it robs the Houston Rockets of one of their best players. It's just not the best acquisition for the Mavericks this offseason.
1. Tyson Chandler
The best acquisition this offseason for Dallas was Tyson Chandler.
It's easy to look back to the 2010-11 NBA season and point to that as all the proof you need for why Chandler is the top pickup, but that's not necessarily fair. Chandler is a step slower and no longer a one-man wrecking crew defensively, but he'll be great for the Mavericks simply because of who he isn't.
Without Chandler, Dallas has struggled mightily to protect the rim and clean the glass. Samuel Dalembert's effort would come and go, and DeJuan Blair was just too short. The Mavericks were one of the worst teams in the league last year in defending the paint, and the overall defensive numbers reflected that.
With Chandler back in the starting lineup, the Mavericks will get back a lot of what they've been missing since he left. Chandler can run the screen-and-roll with Ellis and gash defenses with his rolls to the rim, making the perimeter sniping of Nowitzki all the more effective. He should have a positive impact on both ends, which is important to consider.
A quality, defensive-minded center is the one thing Dallas was really missing last year. While the added depth at point guard and the signing of Parsons were certainly big moves, they pale in comparison to what Chandler can bring to the table.