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Looking into the Mavs hard fall from grace

By: Marzell Tabourne

The Mavericks are going through the troubled period every franchise faces, when the face of their franchise is far past his prime and doesn’t have the necessary help he needs for the team to keep winning.

For nearly three years the NBA has been dominated by two super teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The remaining 28 teams encounter several different problems forbidding them from reaching that championship level of efficiency, whether that may be injuries, horrible chemistry, lack of necessary stars or the super team Warriors and Cavaliers themselves.

It may be hard to believe that it was only six years ago that the Dallas Mavericks where the NBA champions that defeated one of the original super teams, the Miami Heat that were led by Lebron James with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh running by his side. That Mavericks had a formidable roster and evident chemistry. They were led by future Hall of Fame power forward Dirk Nowitzki with assistants like sharp shooters Jason Terry and JJ Barea, complimented with lockdown defenders such as Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler.

Half a decade later, the league has changed drastically with the rise of record-breaking super teams equipped with explosive offensive arsenals. The Mavericks franchise on the other hand has suffered losses of several of their role players. They no longer have Corey Brewer, Marion, Terry, Chandler and Jason Kidd. There are only two players players left over from that championship roster: an over-the-hill Nowitzki and a 32-year-old Barea, who is back with the team after a stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The team has been able to pick up some talented players like Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons, but neither stayed long.

Since that championship season the Mavericks record has declined to slightly above .500 and now they appear to have hit rock bottom. The Mavericks are last in the Western Conference with an 11-27 overall record. That is also tied for the second worst record in the NBA.

What has caused this collapse and inability for the Mavericks to reach their former dominance?

The Mavericks biggest problem is they love their franchise player. It’s the same thing that led to the Los Angeles Lakers collapse after Kobe Bryant injured his Achilles tendon. Nowitzki is far from his glory days. His offensive efficiency and leadership for the team was crucial for the Mavericks success, but is far past his prime. He battled through his own Achilles injury this year and since his return he’s been on a minutes restriction. The rest of the team is forced to make up for the offense they have lost.

Deron Williams is in his second year with the Mavericks but only occasionally shows flashed of his former elite self and now struggles with inconsistency. Wesley Matthews used to be a dominant outside shooter, but now has nights with 20-plus points followed by two-point outings. The team’s depth doesn’t help either. Seth Curry is not his brother Steph but has been the team’s best reserve.

Winning teams need efficient reserves that can extend leads, pick up slack from scorers or just simply allowed the starters time to rest by maintaining leads. The lack of bench depth continues to effect the Mavericks negatively. In the offseason Mavericks General Manager Donnie Nelson made moves to acquire a second scoring option, getting explosive power forward Harrison Barnes from the Golden State Warriors. Although Barnes is an excellent addition to the Mavericks back court and has proven himself as an offensive threat, he has yet to establish himself as the offensive threat the team really needs with Nowitzki unable to produce at his former All-NBA level.

Along with Barnes, Nelson also acquired rim-protector Andrew Bogut. He’s perhaps even better than Chandler was when he anchored the interior defense in Dallas’ championship year, but he lacks offensive skills to become a vital piece for the organization’s success. He’s a solid role player but when he’s out there the team might as well be playing 4-on-5 basketball when on offense.

Both of these acquisition will become valuable assets to the team, but they were forth, fifth and even sixth or seventh options for the Warriors when they done their title.

Maybe the Mavericks are using 2017 to get a top draft pick and a franchise star that they are about to need with Nowitzki’s career where it is at. Tanking has become all the rage in the NBA lately; but what is clear, this team is far, far away from competing at a championship or even playoff level right now.

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Marzell Tabourne

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