Dallas Mavericks: 5 Vital Formulas to a Championship Repeat
First of all, never mind David Stern's face on the photo.
He does not play a part in the Dallas Mavericks odyssey anyway.
In the upcoming NBA season, the Dallas Mavericks are stepping on the ground that they have never stepped on and will do something that they have never done before: defend as NBA champions.
They will eventually do anything to protect their throne, but that doesn't mean the Mavs are walking in a park towards that goal.
The defending champions lost key players Tyson Chandler and Caron Butler on the free-agency market. JJ Barea, one of the teams X-factors, is yet to decide on his future. This alone has been one downfall for the Mavs.
True to what they say, when one door closes, another opens. The Mavs landed the 2011 Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom and sizzling sensation Vince Carter, two ingredients to the Mavericks' first step into their journey for a repeat.
But how can the blue boys from Texas hang another banner in the rafters? Read along.
Tighten Up the Defense and Crash the Boards
Last year, the Dallas Mavericks paraded one hell of a defensive job every outing. The center for that feat was Tyson Chandler. With the big man's presence inside and with a defensive backcourt composing of Jason Kidd, JJ Barea and Jason Terry, the Mavs closed out opponents almost every night with sticky blocks and lightning steals.
With the departure of Chandler and Barea, the defensive unit has a lot of working out to do. Putting Brendan Haywood and Dirk Nowitzki inside to swat and grab boards could be very helpful in reproducing or even surpassing the 5.4 blocks and 32 rebounds per game averages from last season.
Kidd and Terry, along with DeShawn Stevenson, will have to plug the perimeter well for a more balanced defensive strategy. The addition of the "Swiss Knife" Lamar Odom could also be essential for the Mavericks' defensive performance.
Improve the Running Unit
Jason Terry stays first in line with this type of offense. Over the years, the Mavericks have not really been known for the run-and-gun style of basketball. That paid them the price of being thrown away in the first round of 2007.
With the legs of Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion running a little bit of a phase now, the Mavs will have to put in Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois and Corey Brewer for tremendous amount of energy on the court.
The Mavs are pretty good at forcing turnovers and a fast break jam would be the best offense that comes off their great defensive stops. The running unit for almost all basketball teams has a degree of momentum-shifting power that could change the flow of the game.
In the case of the Mavs, the running unit provides the energy needed to sustain life on the core of the defending champs.
Maintain Good Leadership
The Mavs boast players of winning tradition. With Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter all on the same team, the amount of leadership would be enough to carry this team. On and off the court, these veterans model the example of winning passion to the younger players.
Leadership on the court will be greatly carried by Kidd himself, being one of the best court generals in the history of the game. With Nowitzki, Carter and Odom playing together, the Mavs leadership aspects would surely have a boost.
Hone the Bench
The Mavs now possess two Sixth Man of the Year recipients in Lamar Odom and Jason Terry. Coach Rick Carlisle would probably put Haywood, Nowitzki, Marion, Carter and Kidd in the starting lineup.
On the bench sits Odom, Terry, Rudy Fernandez, Rodrigue Beaubois, Brandan Wright and Corey Brewer, guys who provide energy when needed.
The depth of the Mavericks bench is deep. On paper, one could mistakenly consider this as a good backup, but the floor tells a different story. The coaching staff needs to ensure that these players get good playing time while making sure the starters don't run out of gas. Mixing units can be drastically difficult when superstars swarm your bench, though.
On the positive side, the Mavs bench is more of an asset. When the first unit tires and the second unit comes into play, it is always good to get equal or greater production from the latter, which I believe the Mavs bench can do.
Land Dwight Howard
For many, this sounds impossible.
For me, no, it isn't.
Dwight Howard's agent agreed to talk to the three teams, including the Dallas Mavericks. That alone gives the Mavs an isle of hope on landing the big man, who is now the standard for NBA centers.
If Dwight is wise enough and leave his desires to immediately be the face of a franchise and chase for a ring, he'll be choosing Dallas.
The Mavs landing Howard would bring the NBA one of the most powerful frontcourts ever made. The dominance of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year shows when he transformed the Orlando Magic into contenders post-T-Mac era.
Howard will surely bring greater dominance in the upcoming season knowing that he is a vital organ in the Mavericks system.
But for that to happen, an intense level of analysis should be made by Superman, which I think shall pass by him during the time that he will be wearing the red and white uniforms for New Jersey.
Now the fate of the Mavericks lies on the coaching staff and the players themselves.
Honestly, with the current lineup that the Mavs have right now, the chance for a back-to-back championships is far from impossible.
Besides the five vital formulas given, one greater element is possessed by each of them: That, my friends, is having the heart of a champion.
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