So the Rick Carlisle era tips off Thursday night at the ACC against the in state rival Houston Rockets. This will be his first of many tough tests he will face in the deeper than usual Western conference.
By no means does Carlisle inherit an easy project here in Dallas. He was brought in here to instill the Mavericks with confidence and mental toughness-what's been missing for sometime.
After the nasty divorce between ex coach Avery Johnson and the Mavs, Carlisle comes to pick up the train wreck that was left behind. Ask any Mavs fan about the heart break and horrific mistakes Avery made in his last few seasons as the coach.
Need I remind you of the Finals collapse or the back to back playoff exits by the Don Nelson led Warriors or the one that takes the cake the Kidd for Harris trade that will be stinging way after Kidd is gone.
But hey its a fresh start for this team and Carlisle who knows these Mavs will go only as far as Dirk can take it, the new coaches motion offense will help open up good looks for the seven foot German star.
I'm sure Carlisle knows Dirk needs help. He's not that kind of superstar to dominate on both sides of the ball and take over games. He is probably the best big man shooter in the NBA, but his lapses on the defensive end takes him out of the super star column for me.
As I go down this 08 roster, I really like the youth injection of Antoine Wright and Gerald Green. This team will need them desperatly when they play the young running teams of the Hornets and Jazz. And with and increase playing time of Brandon Bass there should be a new energy on the floor.
And here we go with the Josh Howard ordeal. Oh yeah, that guy who's trying to beat out Pac-man for the dumbest athlete award. But Carlisle has dealt with some crazy players while coaching Indiana and Detroit. Ala Ron Artest and Rasheed Wallace-he couldn't be any better prepare for any of his antics.
The one thing this Mavericks team has on its side is doubt, alot of people aren't predicting much from them. So the pressure will be off the team for the first time in years.
If you could give this team a movie title for the season it would be either The Good,the Bad and the Ugly or Rocky, so we'll see if these Mavs help erase those bad memories of the past.