Every team in the NBA can always get better. No matter how well they did the previous season, there is always room for improvement.
Here is the "to do list" for the Dallas Mavericks in the 09-10 NBA season:
Acquire a (better) center
Before I start cursing, let me get to the point.
I actually have some love for Erick Dampier.
He is a strong rebounder and defends big bulky big-men such as Duncan and Shaq well.
However, the league is getting a new burst of quick, agile, and high-flying big-men like Nene, Howard, Jefferson, Chandler, and the like.
That combined with Damp's offensively challenged game and highly overpaid contract means he must be upgraded.
Fortunately, Damp has a great expiring contract that will attract a lot of teams that are making space for the LeBron/Wade/Bosh sweepstakes.
The Mavs also have other fruitlful contracts in Greg Buckner and Drew Gooden.
So what does that all mean? Hopefully, some team can give the Mavs a low-post prescence while taking in an expiring contract.
Have a defensive state-of-mind
With the addition of Marion, the Mavericks have no shortage of offensive firepower.
Marion's arrival also helps tremendously with defense, but in no way is it a fix-all solution.
The Mavs have a lot of holes on defense with a slower/older point guard, undersized two-guard, and a less-than-stellar defensive player in their superstar.
With that said, defense is played with heart and this same core of Dallas Mavericks' players have proved they can be a solid defensive team.
They will have to work on talking on defense, their rotations, rebounding, and the like.
Even though they have disadvantages at some parts, they still have advantages in other areas.
For example, a starting unit of Kidd-Howard-Marion-Nowitkzki-Dampier is a formidable rebounding team and should have no problem on the offensive and defensive glass.
Run, run, and run some more
The Mavericks tried to grasp a running identity last year but this was hindered when their main running piece (Josh Howard) was limited because of injury.
The addition of Marion, a terrific up-tempo player, and a healthy J-Ho adds up to a pair of deadly slashing/running wings. And there is no one better to get them the ball than Kidd.
When the lanes are not open J-Kidd has another option in sharp-shooting Jason Terry. And of course, Kidd can dish it to the Dirkster who can shoot his deadly jumper or attack the paint.
Indeed, running is a must for the Mavs.
Shoot the three-ball better
Last year, the Mavs shot a league-best 44.4% from two-point range (inside shots). That then allowed them to average 35.3 points per game from that range; again a league-best.
This makes sense if you think about the Mavs' superstar Dirk and all the mid-range jumpers he scores from.
However, the Mavs were 25th in three-point shooting percentage last year.
All they had last year was Jason "JET" Terry and J-Kidd's exceptional shooting from behind the arc. That's about it.
Tim Thomas was brought in to stretch the floor and I predict he will do a fine job, but cannot change the woes himself.
I suggest Carlisle encourage the "Avery Johnson influenced" Dirk to shoot the trey more often. It has been sorely missing from his game.
Also, Josh Howard needs to improve his shooting stroke. He is now going to be the starting two-guard and needs to have a solid jumper.
Finally, Marion needs to improve on his horrid 18.9% three-point shooting from last year. I know the guy has an ugly shot but there is no reason his percentage should be that ugly.
Score in the paint
Not surprisingly, the Mavs were dead-last in points per game from inside shots in the 08-09 season.
Bringing in low-post prescence will no doubt help out this statistic.
If the Mavs can successfully adapt an effective up-tempo stye, transition lay-ups and dunks should come in bunches. That will also boost this stat.
*All statistics can be found at 82games.com*