Tag Archives: Monta Ellis

Back To The Drawing Board For The Mavericks

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After taking the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs to the brink of elimination last spring in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, there was a bit of optimism this season for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks began the season as a veteran team and with the signing of small forward Chandler Parsons and the acquisition of point guard Rajon Rondo, Dallas believed that they were once again ready to contend for the NBA Championship. But unfortunately for the Mavs, things have not gone according to plan.

Rick Carlisle, Rajon Rondo

The Mavericks did go 50-32 in the regular season, but that was only good enough for seventh place in the brutal Western Conference. Rondo has never been on the same page with Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle and a back injury has all but ended his brief tenure in North Texas. A troublesome knee has put Parsons on the shelf as the Mavericks are now on the brink of elimination from the NBA Playoffs and they have yet to solve the riddle that is the Houston Rockets and their shooting guard James Harden. The Mavericks are now on the verge of being eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

After years of attempting to reach the summit, the Mavericks were able to find that innate level of team chemistry, ability, and toughness that resulted in the franchise’s first and only NBA Championship in 2011. The Mavericks were the ultimate losers of the NBA’s Lockout that year as with the new collective bargaining agreement, they were unable to maintain the majority of their core players. For Carlisle and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, they have attempted to re-tool as opposed to rebuilding their team. It has helped the Mavs that veteran power forward Dirk Nowitzki has opted to take less money in order to allow the organization more flexibility to sign quality players. The Mavericks have been attempting to do that as they had a good team this season, but the move to acquire Rondo hasn’t worked out.

Rondo helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Championship in 2008 and he has been one of the better point guards of this era. But at the same time Rondo has been a handful for his head coaches. In Boston, former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers was on the verge of trading Rondo on several occasions before cooler heads prevailed. And when Rondo was traded to the Mavericks earlier this season, he was looked at as being the missing link to Dallas’ potential title chain. Rondo has never been on the same page with Carlisle which has threatened to destroy the Mavericks chemistry. Carlisle consistently benched Rondo in late game situations as he has been a player that has not elected to play within the realm of the Mavericks offense. Rondo is a pending free agent and you can all but eliminate the Mavericks as being a landing spot for his NBA home for next season.

The Mavericks already have more than $44 million committed to player salaries next season and there will still need to be some moves that will have to be made on their part if they want to be serious contenders.

Tyson Chandler

Center Tyson Chandler was one of the top rebounders in the NBA this season and he has always been a favorite of Cuban. Chandler came up big for the Mavericks in 2011 when they won the NBA Championship before leaving town after that season to join the New York Knicks. Chandler was traded back to the Mavs last off-season and it was almost like he never left town. In two seasons with the Mavericks, shooting guard Monta Ellis has been a pleasant surprise and he has played within the realm of Carlisle’s offense as he has also been one of the team’s top scorers. Ellis does have a player option for next season of $8.72 million and he could opt-out as at the age of 29, he’ll be looking for a big pay day.

Chandler and Ellis will be priorities for the Mavericks as will the pursuit of a quality point guard; either through the NBA Draft, a trade, or free agency as they need to upgrade their point guard position. Chandler is only 27-years old as he is looking to recover from his knee injury and when healthy he can be a solid wing player. The Mavericks also must get their defensive intensity back as they were 25th in the NBA this season in points allowed which is not going to cut it if they want to entertain any thoughts of winning another NBA Title.

Mark Cuban

More than ever you need to have a complete team if you’re going to advance in the Western Conference Playoffs as it is extremely difficult to navigate there even with a solid squad. Nowitzki will be 37-years old in June, but he has shown that he can still get it done on the offensive of the floor in a very effective way. Carlisle is still one of the best head coaches in the NBA and Cuban is one of the best owners in professional sports as far as giving the people that work for him everything necessary for them to succeed. After tasting championship gold in 2011, the Mavericks are eager to once again reach that pinnacle and this summer will go a very long way in determining how long that it will take them to get back there.

Source: Basketball-reference.com

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A Balanced Attack Is Fueling The Mavericks

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In June 2011, things were good for the Dallas Mavericks. After years of climbing the mountain, the Mavericks finally gravitated to the summit by winning their first NBA Championship in franchise history, but the celebration wouldn’t last very long. The Mavericks were the ultimate victim of the NBA’s impending lockout as they lost key players from their championship squad. The Mavericks would make the playoffs in the following year, but they were quickly shown the door there by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2013, the Mavs would fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and the re-tooling process would soon begin.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will generally do whatever it takes to win and just like he built a title winner in Dallas in 2011, he was out to once again turn his squad into championship contenders and the plan is coming to fruition.

After taking the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs to the brink in the first round of last season’s playoffs, the Mavericks have used it as a launching pad for this season. The Mavericks have shot out of the gates this season with a 13-5 record which is allowing them to keep up with the Joneses in the tough Western Conference and it could lead to their first 50-win regular season since 2010-2011 when they won the NBA Championship.

Dirk Nowitzki

It has been a team effort in Dallas as five players are averaging in double figures for points as they appear to be on the same page with Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki is in his 17th season in Dallas and he is arguably the best player in franchise history. Nowitzki has averaged 22.6 points per game for his career. During the 2012-2013 NBA, Nowitzki was getting back in the flow after undergoing knee surgery. Nowitzki only appeared in only 53 games that season while averaging 17.3 points per game which was his lowest point production since the 1999-2000 season. But even at 36-years of age, Nowitzki continues to get it done this season as he is second on the Mavericks in scoring at 19.4 points per game. In 2013, the Mavericks big free agent acquisition was shooting guard Monta Ellis. Throughout his NBA career, Ellis has been perceived as a bit of a guy that played for himself. Ellis is leading the Mavs this season in points per game at 19.7, but he has bought into the Mavs culture as he has become a team player by doing whatever it takes to win.

Tyson Chandler

Then there is the Chandler connection for the Mavericks. Last summer Cuban and the Mavericks signed small forward Chandler Parsons to an offer sheet for $46 million over three years. Parsons’ old club in the Houston Rockets did not match the Mavericks offer and he was bound for Dallas. Chandler joined the Mavericks after a career year with the Houston Rockets as he averaged 16.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Parsons’ numbers are slightly down this season as he is averaging 14.2 points per game, but he has blended in with the Mavericks and he is another perimeter player. When the Mavericks won their only NBA Championship in 2011, center Tyson Chandler was a defensive anchor for them. After the Mavericks title season, Chandler left the team as a free agent to join the New York Knicks on a four-year, $58 million deal. Last summer the Knicks traded Chandler back to the Mavericks much to the delight of Cuban and Carlisle as he is currently sixth in the NBA in rebounds at 11.2 per contest. And with that the Mavericks are simply gelling into a well-oiled machine.

The Mavericks are fifth in team assists at 24.1 per game while with Chandler anchoring things defensively, Dallas is averaging 5.6 blocks per contest which is fourth in the league.

Rick Carlisle

Carlisle preaches defense and it is something that the Mavericks must improve on. The Mavericks are allowing 99.9 points per game which is tied for 16th in NBA and six of their last seven opponents have been able to hit the century mark in points scored. But in those seven games the Mavericks offense has been able to pick up the slack which has been highlighted by road victories over the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors who are two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Mavericks depth was on display last night as they went on the road and knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers while Carlisle gave Nowitzki the night off. Yes, the Sixers have yet to win a game this season, but Nowitizki is still the leader of the Mavericks and for them to get a victory without him in uniform will pay dividends down the road as other players were asked to chip in and they accomplished it.

The Mavericks are in the middle of a four-game road trip as they’ve already taken care of the Raptors and the 76ers while the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks are still waiting in the wings. The Mavericks must take care of business on a nightly basis just to keep up the tough Western Conference. The Mavericks have come out of the chute with a record of 13-5, but that is only good enough for them to be the sixth best team in the Western Conference and you can bet that at least one team in the conference will finish with a winning record and not qualify for the playoffs this season. But in spite of the tough Western Conference, something tells me that this Mavericks team could be playing deep into the spring.

Source: Basketball-reference.com

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