2006-07 NBA Preview: Dallas Mavericks

How things have certainly changed over the last several years for the Dallas Mavericks. Once the doormat for the NBA, with one losing season after another, the Mavericks made it all the way to the NBA Finals this past season. Even though the series didn’t go the way they had hoped, it was a thrilling ride for the team and their fans. So what does the upcoming season have in store? Let’s take a look.

Off-Season Moves

It was a very active off-season for the Mavericks. They were able to re-sign guard Jason Terry to a new contract without difficulty. Terry, who played a big part in the Mavs run through the playoffs last year, is a key component to the Dallas offense. Having him back provides the team with a proven ball-handler, and big time scorer.

The Mavericks were also able to use their mid-level exception, as well as deal Marquis Daniels, and come away with four solid players including F Austin Croshere, G Anthony Johnson, F Devean George and G Greg Buckner. Buckner played for the Mavs a couple of years ago, and Coach Avery Johnson likes his tough defensive presence.

Dallas is expected to sign superstar Dirk Nowitski to a new 3 year contract extension before the season starts.

The only remaining issue to take care of is the contract of F Josh Howard. While things have not happened as fast as some would like, it’s a safe bet to say that Howard will be a Dallas Maverick for many years to come.

2006 Draft

With the 28th pick in the draft, the Mavericks were able to get Maurice Ager out of Michigan State. Similar to the drafting of Howard a few years ago, the team never expected Ager to still be available.

2006-07 Roster

The Dallas Mavericks are loaded with talent at the Guard and Forward positions. Along with Nowitski, Terry and Howard, they have Jerry Stackhouse, Austin Croshere, Devean George, and the speedy guard, Devin Harris in the lineup.

The missing piece of the puzzle has always been the lack of a dominant Center. Yes, Erick Dampier, DJ Mbenga and DeSagana Diop have proven to be serviceable big men underneath the basket, but known have shown the ability to dominate in the paint, and work the glass with authority for an entire game. This has allowed opposing players like Tim Duncan to have their way around the basket.

Of course, when you have the likes of a Dirk Nowitski in your lineup you can overcome some of these other shortcomings.

2006-07 Schedule

The start of the upcoming NBA season will prove interesting for the Mavs. We will find out quickly if there is any lingering hangover from last season’s loss in the NBA Finals. Leading 2 games to 0, the Mavericks led in Game 3 with only minutes to go, only to blow the game and the rest of the series in a monumental collapse.

The team opens the regular season against division champ San Antonio. The Spurs should once again battle the Mavericks for not only the division crown, but another NBA title as well.

After a game with the Houston Rockets, the Mavs will face former coach Don Nelson, and his Golden State Warriors. This will be an extremely emotional game for both teams, but especially for the Mavericks. Following that game is a road trip against teams that appeared in the playoffs last year, the L.A. Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Season Prediction

There is no question that with Dirk Nowitski and the nucleus he has around him, the Dallas Mavericks will again be a force in the Western Conference. Last years Coach of the Year, Avery Johnson, is a proven leader with a passion for winning.

The Dallas Mavericks will win their division and the Western Conference title with a 62-20 record. Having learned a lesson from last years finals collapse, I see the Mavs bringing home their first-ever NBA Championship trophy.

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