Monday, August 29, 2005

Offseason Overview: Dallas Mavericks

All in all, it’s been a relatively quiet offseason for Mark Cuban and co. down in Dallas. Sure, they made a little noise replacing one useless seven footer (Shawn Bradley) with another (DaSagana Diop), and signed a reality TV show to play shooting guard (The Christies), but no massive contracts have been signed this year, and there were no draft picks to be made. In fact, the biggest number being tossed around was the up to 51.8 million dollars that Cuban saved by releasing aging fan favorite Michael Finley. So for the first time in awhile, we have a decent idea of what we can expect from the Mavs.

The stud: Dirk Nowitzki, PF
Nowitzki recovered from a slightly off year in 2003 and responded to the departure of best buddy Steve Nash by posting a career-high in points in 2004. He has stepped up as the leader of this team and is a top-5 pick in any and all fantasy drafts. He’s even stepped up his defensive numbers, blocking a very respectable 1.5 shots per game last year. He was good last year, and he’ll be good again this year.

The support: Jason Terry, PG
It took him a little while to settle in, but once Terry started to mesh with his team he put up averages of about 14 points and 6 assists. He’s certainly not going to put up the numbers that he did in Atlanta, but he showed flashes of his scoring ability in the playoffs, scoring 31 points in game 7 against Houston and 36 in game 6 against Phoenix. He might be slightly overvalued because of those performances, but he’ll be a solid 2nd-tier point guard.

The supporting support: Jerry Stackhouse, G/F
Stack served his role as a scorer off the bench surprisingly well last year – so well that he should serve the same role again this year. While that’s good for the Mavs, it always hurts to have a guy on your team who scores 15 points a game and helps almost nowhere else. He’s the team’s second-leading returning scorer, but it’s going to be tough to convince yourself to draft him.

The sleeper: Marquis Daniels, G
Daniels generated a lot of hype as an undrafted rookie in 2003, but last year injuries got him off to a slow start and he never really recovered. This year he’s got a pretty crowded roster to deal with, but with a couple injuries to the right injury-prone people (i.e. Jerry Stackhouse), he could be ready to step up again.

The slacker: Keith Van Horn, F
Now on the 5th team of his career, this may be the first year that Van Horn goes undrafted in fantasy leagues. KVH needs 30-35 mpg to really be an effective fantasy starter at this point in his career, and he’s simply not going to get those kind of minutes competing with Josh Howard (another potential sleeper), Stackhouse, and Daniels.

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