Well, it's been a long summer, we've grown as people, we've seen the world and we learned to hate a few new superstars in the process. While I find myself intrigued with the storylines entering the season, the ones I hate the most are the ones most likely to happen.
The Mavericks continued their streak of three straight summers where their big accomplishment was re-signing one of their own players. Sure, Erick Dampier was turned into Tyson Chandler, and you've gotta believe that's an upgrade.
But is it really an upgrade over what the Mavs were last season: a good team that got some sneaky wins and was bounced in the first round.
And I'm pretty sure the Mavs are that right now. Sure, maybe they could get into the second round. And we have seen the Nuggets and Suns make it into the West Finals in recent years, so maybe the Mavs are just next up in the rotation.
Because as hard as it is to win the West four straight times, I'm pretty sure that's what the Lakers are going to do, I haven't seen any indications otherwise.
But the Mavericks stayed pat at every position: Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki and Brendan Haywood, the same team that lost to the hated Spurs in six games.
And the shooting guard spot, a position that has puzzled these Dallas Mavericks for a long, long time now, is wide open. And I mean wide open.
There's Jason Terry, who is rumored to be starting at the two. And why not? He can run off screens, hit threes and generally play pick-and-roll ball with Dirk. He's gotten a little quicker defensively, but that was in the preseason.
Jason Terry is a known quantity at this point. He would be best used coming off the bench (as the NBA recognized in 2008-09) for some energy and scoring. But he's not going to start dropping 28 points per game in the playoffs.
But if the Mavs are going to improve noticeably this year, Rodrigue Beaubois and/or Dominique Jones needs to make a big leap as a player.
Either Roddy or DoJo needs to be able to score in transition, create their own shot, and in Roddy's case, make open jumpers, and in DoJo's case, get aggressive and get to the line.
Roddy has proved he can score against good defenses in a variety of ways, from almost anywhere on the floor.
He enters the season in a walking boot, the result of a broken foot sustained this summer. This has stunted his growth a bit, as he was to spend this preseason learning the point guard ropes from Jason Kidd.
This means we'll probably see Roddy in the SG position for most of this year, which may be a good thing. If he's playing 36 minutes a game, and can prove to be a reliable scorer alongside Dirk, Roddy can help the Mavs emerge into a dangerous team.
DoJo is a much more limited player, but he's also the type that, if he pans out, could really be the players the Mavs have been missing.
Jones is a shooting guard in the Dwyane Wade mode, a little undersized, but fast and powerful with a knack for getting to the rim. Clearly Dwyane Wade is the pinnacle of what the Mavs are hoping for, and I doubt DoJo will make that leap this season.
Best case scenario for Jones this year would have him moving above Terry on the depth chart, and he comes in when the Mavs need to get aggressive, when they start settling for jumpshots. With Caron Butler on the team, you know that's going to happen.
It's a little sad that a summer that began with grandiose hopes of Bron Bron and D-Wade ends with hopes foisted upon a rookie and someone in a walking boot. It sure isn't the ideal way to complement Dirk and Kidd on their last hurrah.
But stranger things have happened, and we haven't even discusses the two-headed center combo that could be one of the best in the game.
So the Mavs come into this season like they have most seasons for the past few years: with a slightly less than legitimate chance to win it if the cards fall right.