It has been a busy off-season in Dallas. The Mavericks have been in a state of limbo since winning the 2011 NBA Finals. Now, they’re trying to start over from scratch again. First, they tried to lure in Chris Paul. When that didn’t pan out, they went after Dwight Howard but again, no dice. Despite the off-season setbacks, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has nonetheless managed to bring in some additional offensive firepower to help keep the heat off of aging star Dirk Nowitzki.
New shooting guard Monta Ellis has been tasked with taking over the scoring duties for the German superstar. With a career average of almost 20 points per game, Ellis should provide a much-needed boost for the team. Nowitzki is a beast when healthy, but his health concerns hobbled the Mavericks during the 2012-2013 season. Along with small forward Shawn Marion’s constantly improving three-point shooting, the addition of Ellis as an offensive option will hopefully open up the court enough so that Nowitzki doesn’t take the pounding that star players normally go through.
If we think of Nowitzki, Ellis, and Marion as the Mavericks’ three offensive aces, then all the team needs for a four of a kind is another one. The acquisition of new starting point guard Jose Calderon may yet prove to be the NBA equivalent of an ace in the hole. Calderon is a terrific 3-point shooter who shot 46.1% from beyond the arc last season. The thing is, Calderon only took less than 10 shots per game last season even though he was on the court for 30 minutes per game. As a point guard, Calderon is a great ball distributor but he should take advantage of his shooting skills and start taking more shots. He may yet become the key to another winning season for Dallas.
Sticking to the poker analogy which you can find a lot of on PartyPoker on Twitter, a four of a kind still isn’t the highest hand. What keeps it outside the flush zone is Dallas’ lackluster defense but in basketball, as it is in poker, you play the cards you’re dealt. We’ll find out if Dallas finally has a winning hand again once the 2013-2014 season kicks off later this year.