Mid Season Report
Time for a mid season evaluation of the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are off to a slightly better then expected start. Their defense has improved to 7th at .434%, while their offense has dropped to 12th at .449%. They are rebounding about the same as last season[13th at +0.6]. They have a 29-14 record. This puts them on a 55 win pace. Not bad, but not great considering their strength of schedule[24th and 2nd easiest in the west]. Also as bad as they played last season, they actually had a 30-13 record the last 43 games. Thats better then the Mavs this year and they had a tougher schedule in that stretch.
However, there are 3 reasons this team is better. First, it is built more for the playoffs then last years team. Their scoring differential[+5.6, which translates to a 58 win pace] makes their won loss record this year a bit misleadingly bad. And with all the changes, a slow start was somewhat expected.
If changes are made, they should involve the departure of Jerry Stackhouse, the addition of another big man who can defend, and possibly the addition of Jason Kidd. Otherwise the team should stand pat.
Dirk Nowitzki---Having his best season yet. Deservedly a top 5 canidate for MVP. Playing aswell on defense as he ever has. His FG% is a bit low and his TO's are higher then ever, but otherwise a great statistical year.
Michael Finley---Playing a notch below the standard Fin game, especially lately. Unless his game starts to pick up, his minutes should start to decrease. I still think he is the Mavs 2nd best player, but this view is beginning to waver.
Josh Howard---My second favorite player and the teams 3rd best player. When he puts his focus on defense, he plays like a player deserving votes for the All Defensive team. Great rebounder. Can score. Trading Howard would likely be a huge mistake. He brings things to the Mavs that others can't.
Jason Terry---Terry has been coming on strong lately. His shot has been there all year[.520]. However, the teams passing is still a major concern with Terry's low assists leading the way. In the last 10 games, his assists per minute are down from his season stats. He is not improving in this area like many think. And his defense is still poor.
Erick Dampier---Dampier has played well on defense and has had occasional good all round games, but his overall performance has made the decision to acquire and sign him to a long term deal questionable at best. Yes, the Mavs desperately needed a player of his type. Considering the age, health, attitude, and performance questions his 7-70 dollar deal is disturbing. Not to mention the two number 1's that were traded to get him.
Jerry Stackhouse---Trade him please. His defense is awful. His rebounding is awful. His efficiency is awful. He brings almost nothing the Mavs need.
Marquis Daniels---Incomplete. His ankle injury has made it impossible to see whether signing him to his 40+ million dollar contract was smart or not. Hopefully he will get healthy the second half.
Devin Harris---So far, the term disappointment has to be made. However, he is young and athletic and shows signs of potential. Gain 10 pounds, smooth out the jumper and learn how to pretend to be a real PG and he could be very good still. Lets hope.
Alan Henderson---A pleasant surprise, although his +- of -15.5 says he has not been as good as some may think.
Shawn Bradley---It used to be that Bradley wasn't getting the minutes he deserved. Now his 10 minutes a game seems about right. His play has faded to an 18 foot baseline jumper and an occasional block. When Bradley isn't special at blocking shots any longer his value becomes very limited.
Booth---Atleast he got rid of Danny Fortson.
Abdul-Wahad---French, need I say more?
Coaching---Better then last season, thats for sure.