Team Preview #10: Dallas Mavericks
by Eric Wong AKA Roto EvilAugust 11th, 2008
LAST SEASONAfter winning 67 games in '06-07 and getting knocked off by the Warriors in the 1st round of the Playoffs, the Mavericks won 51 games in '07-08 and got bounced in Round 1 by New Orleans. Dallas had a very slow pace factor under Avery Johnson (22nd in '07-08, 28th in '06-07, 26th in '05-06), so it's reasonable to expect more points per game under new coach Rick Carlisle.
OFFSEASON MOVESKey Additions: Rick Carlisle, DeSagana Diop, Shan Foster, Gerald Green, James Singleton
Key Losses: Avery Johnson, Devean George, Juwan Howard, Jamaal Magloire
Avery Johnson compiled an impressive 194-70 regular season record (.735) as Dallas' head coach, but his teams were just 23-24 in the Playoffs. So out he goes, and in comes the '01-02 Coach of the Year Rick Carlisle. Diop has returned to Dallas after a brief layover in New Jersey, and they've decided to gamble on the athletic Gerald Green to replace Devean George at small forward. The Mavericks also drafted high-scoring swingman Shan Foster as the heir apparent to Jerry Stackhouse. In perhaps the quietest free agent signing of the summer, Dallas gave former Clipper James Singleton a guaranteed contract. I really like this pickup, because Dallas needs a defensive scrapper.
ROTATION / PLAYING TIMEAt point guard, Jason Kidd played 34.9 minutes for Dallas and should see 34-35 minutes of action once again. In the past, they've been reluctant to give Jose Juan Barea consistent backup minutes, but after re-signing him to a two-year, $4.8 million contract, perhaps they're ready to give him 12-14 mpg this season. If not, Jason Terry can slide over and play point, but he'll spend most of his 30-32 mpg at shooting guard.
Despite making two bone-headed mistakes in a little over three months, Josh Howard is still their starting small forward. The guy is a serious talent, but he's already 28 years old and needs to grow up before his career passes him by like a Pharcyde song. At the backup swingman spots, there will be a dogfight for minutes between Jerry Stackhouse, Eddie Jones, Antoine Wright, Shan Foster, James Singleton, and Gerald Green. None should have any fantasy value unless there's an injury. At power forward, Dirk should play 36 mpg once again while Brandon Bass gets his backup minutes plus a little extra PT at center. I'm projecting 24 minutes for Dampier and 16 minutes for Diop, which means limited value for both 7-footers.
DON'T SLEEP ON: Dirk NowitzkiThe arrival of Kidd immediately took pressure off of Dirk, as the veteran PG became Dallas' leader and made things much easier for the 7-foot German. With Jason in the lineup, Dirk averaged 25.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, .7 steals, .8 blocks, and 1.6 threes while shooting 50% FG and 89% FT. His rebounds and assists were down, but the increases in points, threes, and FG% more than made up for it.
From '99-'06, Nowitzki was a lock for 1.3-1.9 made threes per game, which was a huge boost for his fantasy value. But in '06-07, he made just .9 per game and was only making .8 per game before Kidd's arrival. If Dirk falls to #7 or later, I wouldn't hesitate to draft him, as he could easily be a Top 5 player this season.
BE CAREFUL OF: Erick DampierIf the astute fantasy owner realizes Dirk's 2nd half increases with Kidd in the lineup, they may also recognize Dampier's improved statistics as well. After the All-Star break, Dampier was rock solid (by his standards at least), averaging 26.8 minutes, 7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks while making an impressive 65.9% of his shots. Those are very respectable numbers for a #2 center.
Of course, the main reason for his increased production was his increase in playing time, which he received because DeSagana Diop was traded to New Jersey in the Kidd trade. But after the season ended, Diop decided to return to Dallas, meaning Dampier's style will be cramped once again. If someone is looking at Damp's post All-Star numbers they might draft him in Rounds 10 or 11, but if you ask me, he's worth nothing more than a last Round pick.
ROUND BY ROUND TARGETS(Where you should draft these guys in an 8-cat Roto league with 12 teams and 14 man rosters)
Dirk: Mid-to-late 1st