2017-2018 Dallas Mavericks

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, October 21st, 2017

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Seth Curry #30 Harrison Barnes #40 Dirk Nowitzki #41 Wesley Matthews #23 and Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks pose for a portrait during the Dallas Mavericks Media Day on September 25, 2017 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
By Jeff Johnson

2016-17 Record: 33-49
Players Added:
Dennis Smith Jr. (Draft), Jeff Withey (FA), Josh McRoberts (Trade via
Miami), Gian Clavell (FA), Maximilian Kleber (FA), Johnathan Motley
(FA, two-way), Brandon Ashley (FA), Maalik Wayns (FA), P.J. Dozier
Players Lost:
Nicolas Brussino (Waived), A.J. Hammons (Trade to MIA), DeAndre
Liggins (Trade to Houston)
Projected Team MVP: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is going be the Mavericks’ MVP this season largely by
default. Not to take anything away from Barnes, but he just doesn’t
have a ton of competition here. The Mavericks are a bit heavy on each
end of the age spectrum. They’ve got aging veterans in Dirk Nowitzki,
J.J. Barea, and Wesley Matthews to go along with young potential studs
like Dennis Smith and Nerlens Noel, not to mention the host of
undrafted, or lesser known young players the Mavericks signed with the
hopes of finding a diamond in the rough. To put it simply, Barnes is
really the only Mav in his prime, and he was one of the best players
on their squad last season, so he gets the nod here.
Team X-Factor: Dennis Smith Jr., Nerlens Noel
Depending on how much stock you put into summer league, the
Mavericks may have drafted themselves a steal with the 9th pick in the
2017 NBA Draft. Most of the Mavericks’ potential this season rests on
the shoulders of Dennis Smith Jr.. He was so good in Vegas this
summer, giving fans high hopes, and his talent coupled with the fact
that he already has an NBA body and elite athleticism leaves the door
open for a transcendent rookie year. He may not do that, but I
wouldn’t say it’s out of the realm of possibility, either. He’ll be
one of the most exciting rookies to watch next season, and has seen
his Rookie of the Year odds skyrocket over the summer.
You have to give secondary nod to Nerlens Noel here. Much has
been made about Noel’s disastrous contract negotiations that resulted
in him signing his qualifying offer to remain a Dallas Maverick for at
least one more season, but outside of that nonsense, Noel, the player,
still has loads of potential. The Mavericks aren’t necessarily gunning
for the playoffs this season, but if they find themselves in
contention late in the year, it’ll be because Nerlens Noel and Dennis
Smith made significant contributions.
In most cases, a playoff-seed-or-better would be the desired
outcome for a team like the Mavericks, but that isn’t how they played
their offseason, and that isn’t in the best long-term interest for the
franchise. Mark Cuban and the Mavs took a backseat this summer. They
didn’t sign any egregious contracts, they used their roster spots on
relatively unknown young players, and all-signs point towards a
developmental season in Dallas this year.
With that strategy in mind, the best case scenario for the Mavs is
pretty straightforward. Develop their youth, give them as many minutes
as they can handle, and pray the basketball gods gift them a high
draft selection. I’m not going to use the T-word (although Cuban
admitted to tanking last year) but at this stage in the Mavericks’
rebuild, they have no business contending for a playoff spot,
especially in the highly competitive West. Play the kids and get as
high a draft pick as possible.
Conversely, the worst case scenario for the Mavericks this season
is actually not all that unlikely. Mark Cuban is a good NBA owner.
Rick Carlisle is a great NBA head coach. The roster isn’t horrible,
and if nothing else, there are plenty of teams that look a lot worse
than the Mavs on paper.
I don’t think they’ll compete for a playoff spot, because Cuban
seems a little too savvy to surrender a top draft pick like that, but
something along the lines of the 10th-14th draft slot heading into the
2018 NBA Draft Lottery just wouldn’t be ideal. Not the end of the
world, because the Mavericks proved this summer that you can make a
really good draft selection at #9, but bringing a top-5 pick back to
Dallas would be a much better long-term result.
Rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. should have a clear chance to
succeed in Dallas.
Coming off their worst season since Mark Cuban bought the team in
2000, the Mavericks are still stuck between the twilight of the Dirk
Nowitzki Era and a total rebuild. But, overall, Dallas seems still
stuck in cellar. They need 39-year-old Dirk Nowitzki to stay healthy
and keep scoring big buckets as he climbs up the top five of the
all-time NBA scoring list.
With $35 million still left on his contract that runs through
2019, 31-year-old Wesley Matthews has to show that he’s completely
over the torn Achilles’ tendon and get back to form at both ends. If
not, he could end up as a salary dump around the trade deadline.
Dennis Smith Jr. – 18.1 ppg | 4.6 rpg | 6.2 apg (at NC State)
Strong, confident rook and ready to take over the controls of the offense.
Wesley Matthews – 13.5 ppg, | 3.5 rpg,
2.9 apg
Big free-agent signing from two years ago needs to step up and deliver.
Nerlens Noel – 8.5 ppg, | 6.8 rpg, | 0.9 apg
Defensive presence in the middle needs to step up his offensive game.
Harrison Barnes – 19.2 ppg, | 3.8 rpg, | 1.5 apg
Proved that he can carry the burden as primary scorer to lead his team.
Dirk Nowitzki – 14.2 ppg, | 6.5 rpg,
1.5 apg
Old reliable can still deliver big buckets at big times, if he can stay healthy.
Seth Curry – 12.8 ppg, | 2.6 rpg, | 2.7 apg
Must show that he can deliver consistently as part of long term plan.
Devin Harris – 6.7 ppg, | 2.0 rpg, | 2.1 apg
At 34, he’s still got the quickness to come off the bench and deliver.
Dwight Powell – 6.7 ppg, | 4.0 rpg,
0.6 apg
Decent defender hardly delivers the scoring punch when Nowitzki is on the bench.

Dallas Mavericks Roster

5     J.J. Barea   PG   33   6-0 185   Northeastern    $3,903,900
40   Harrison Barnes   SF   25   6-8 225   North Carolina   $23,112,004
8     Gian Clavell    SG    23    6-4 185     Colorado State
30     Seth Curry   SG    27    6-2 185    Duke     $3,028,410
11     Yogi Ferrell   PG 24    6-0 180    Indiana    $1,312,611
10     Dorian Finney-Smith   F   24   6-8 220   Florida    $1,312,611
34    Devin Harris PG 34 6-3 185 Wisconsin $4,402,546
42    Maximilian Kleber F 25 6-11 220 $815,615
23    Wesley Matthews SG 31 6-5 220 Marquette $17,884,176
13    Josh McRoberts PF 30 6-10 240 Duke $6,021,175
50    Salah Mejri C 31 7-2 235 $1,471,382
6    Johnathan Motley PF 22 6-10 230 Baylor
3   Nerlens Noel PF 23 6-11 220 Kentucky $4,187,599
41    Dirk Nowitzki PF 39 7-0 245 $5,000,000
7    Dwight Powell PF 26 6-11 240 Stanford $9,003,125
1    Dennis Smith Jr. PG 19 6-3 195 North Carolina State $3,218,280
17    Jeff Withey C 27 7-0 230 Kansas $1,577,230

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