By Geoff Case
Rebuilding the Mavs
The Dallas Mavericks go into the offseason with only four players with guaranteed money for the 2013-14 season: Dirk, Vince Carter, Jae Crowder and Jared Cunningham. It’s likely that we’ll see another completely overhauled roster next year but Mark Cuban indicated that doing one year deals will not be the method of building the roster this offseason. He will be looking to lock some players up that can help the team for the long term. It’s clear that one question stands out above the rest when dealing with the performance of the team.
What should the Mavericks do about the backcourt?
Mayo looked like he was finally tapping into his potential to start the season but it was a long and steady decline from a performance standpoint. He never was able to fill the fourth quarter shoes of Jason Terry, in fact much the opposite in crunch time with costly turnovers.
Mayo had a player option of $4.2 that he has indicated that he will be opting out of. He also indicated that he would like to pursue a long-term deal and stay in a Mavericks jersey. While Mayo didn’t pass the eyeball test late in the season, the Mavericks should try to keep him around for the three ball. In the post-lockout NBA the game has shifted to where you must be able to make it rain. Defenses are too smart and complex, you can’t score against the toughest teams without the deep ball. Nine of the top-10 teams in made 3s made the playoffs. The four best teams (Miami, Oklahoma City, New York and San Antonio) rank second, third, fourth and fifth in 3-point percentage. Mayo will have suitors lining up for his services.
Collison is a tricky player to judge because he had so many ups and down throughout the season. He’s a good point guard but might be just a hair under starting caliber. Ultimately he’s a luxury back-up point guard until he can get some consistency with his game. The franchise knows how critical having a difference maker at the point is and how it can raise the level of play for your entire team (See Jason Kidd, Steve Nash). They will be gunning for Chris Paul this offseason and Collison will likely be signed elsewhere by the time the Mavericks regroup if they miss out.
Wax on, Wax off
What will likely be remembered as the “Dirk-Injury” season has come to a close. The search for what comes next begins as the next champion is crowned. The season began washed in the chaos of uncertainty, a roster of one year mercenaries unsurprisingly were plagued with chemistry issues. They never seemed to merge together as one fluid unit and will never likely get another chance to.
There is one thing that is certain about the 2012-2013 Mavericks roster, it will be vastly different than the one that preceded it and will be vastly different than the one that will succeed it. Hopefully Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban have a master plan that can bring the Mavs enough fire power to give Dirk one last chance at a ring.