NBA Off-Season Preview: Dallas Mavericks
Record (42-40) This off-season, the Dallas Mavericks will again be in the hunt for a star center after failing to land 2016 All-NBA 1st Team member Deandre Jordan last summer. Jordan verbally agreed to sign a four-year, $80 million contract with the Mavericks last off-season, but eventually backed out and re-signed a similar four-year, $88 million contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. This left Dallas with three centers on its roster for the 2016 season: Salah Mejri, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee. The seven-foot tall Mejri, in his rookie season, played 34 games for the Mavericks, averaging 3.7 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game. He is entering the second year his contract with Dallas and should be a reliable back-up big man in the near future. Pachulia, the team’s most called upon center this season, averaged 8.6 points per game and a career-best 9.4 rebounds per game. However, he has become an unrestricted free agent and may not be re-signed by the Mavericks. He was paid $5.2 million by the team last season. McGee will be entering the final year on his contract this coming season. He played in 34 games last season, averaging 5.1 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game. The Mavericks simply need a center as capable as Jordan, who was second in the league last year in rebounding (13.8 RPG) and blocks (2.3 BPG), in order to join the highest ranks of the Western Conference, where the Mavericks finished sixth this season. Dwight Howard would be the team’s ideal choice. After a tumultuous season with the Houston Rockets, it’s clear that Howard wants out. He played in 71 regular season games for the Rockets in 2016, averaging his lowest point total since his rookie season (13.7 PPG) but was fourth in the league in rebounding (11.8 RPG). Howard, along with the budding Stanford-man Dwight Powell, will be able to take some offensive and defensive pressure off of veteran Dirk Nowitzki, who will turn 38 on June 19. The addition of Howard could give Dallas an elite starting-five for the 2016-17 season: Point guard Deron Williams alongside guard/forward Wesley Matthews, forwards Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki and, of course, Howard at center. Dallas can also add depth to its bench with its second round draft pick. The Mavericks will have the 46th overall selection and may want to draft another shooting guard or power forward. The team’s bench currently consists of Powell, point guards JJ Barea and Devin Harris and forward Justin Anderson.
NBA Off-Season Previews
Atlantic Division: Boston Celtics – Brooklyn Nets – New York Knicks – Philadelphia 76ers – Toronto Raptors Central Division: Chicago Bulls – Cleveland Cavaliers – Detroit Pistons – Indiana Pacers – Milwaukee Bucks Southeast Division: Atlanta Hawks – Charlotte Hornets – Miami Heat – Orlando Magic – Washington Wizards Southwest Division: Dallas Mavericks – Houston Rockets – Memphis Grizzlies – New Orleans Pelicans – San Antonio Spurs Northwest Division: Denver Nuggets – Minnesota Timberwolves – Oklahoma City Thunder – Portland Trail Blazers – Utah Jazz Pacific Division: Golden State Warriors – Los Angeles Clippers – Los Angeles Lakers – Phoenix Suns – Sacramento Kings