Dallas Mavericks – 2008 Team Preview – Betting Odds
by Jason of Predictem.com
2007 Record: 51-31 (35-43-4 ATS)
Head Coach: Rick Carlisle
Assistant Coach’s: Terry Stotts, Dwane Casey, Mario Elie, and Tom Sterner
Home Court: American Airlines Center
Projected Starting Lineup:
Center: Erick Dampier
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki
Forward: Josh Howard
Guard: Antoine Wright
Guard: Jason Kidd
Current NBA Championship Odds: 30-1
Last year the Mavericks were 35-17 and almost in 1st place in the Western Conference before they pulled the trigger on the huge deal that brought PG Jason Kidd back to the Big D. The deal may have been the undoing of the team and may do so in the future, as they had to give up young stud Devin Harris and 2 1st round picks. After the trade the Mavs were only 16-14 and lost in 5 games to the Hornets in the playoffs.
Who’s In/Who’s Out
In the off-season the Mavericks added DeSagana Diop and G Gerald Green Free. The team lost F Malik Allen, F Juwan Howard, G Tyronn Lue, and C Jamaal Magloire.
The offense should be legit again led by Dirk Nowitzki (23.6 ppg) and Josh Howard (19.9 ppg). They should also be used to having Kidd in the lineup, as it is hard to gel right off the bat with a player, especially a PG, in the middle of the season. The Mavs are not the best 3-point shooting team, but are one of the best mid range shooting and free throw shooting teams. The Mavs ranked 12th in scoring last year (100.4 ppg) and 9th in FG% (46.4%). Their bench scoring is decent with backup PG Jason Terry (15.5) and the solid, and getting better, F Brandon Bass. Last year’s head coach Avery Johnson and Kidd did not see eye to eye, but new coach Rick Carlisle will give Kidd full reign this season, so their offense may improve.
The Mavs were good on the defensive end ranking 8th in defensive efficiency, 6th in points allowed (95.9), and 4th in opponents FG% (44.3%). The Mavs need to cut down on their fouls, as they fouled the 5th most in the NBA last year. Their rebounding is decent with Kidd (10.1 rpg), Howard (7 rpg), and Nowitzki (8.6 rpg). The key to the Mavs on the glass will be which Erik Dampier shows up, as some games he is a double digit, and more, rebounder and some nights he simply disappears. The bench rebounding is another story, as there was no player that averaged over 5 boards a game last year.
The forwards of the Mavericks is their biggest strength. Nowitzki is one of the best players in the league, as he never misses a foul shot, rarely turns the ball over, a decent rebounder, and we all know he can flat out shoot the rock. Howard is a legit scorer, but he has to win back the fans of Dallas and stand tall during the National Anthem. Bench F Bass had a breakout year and will be looked at for even more scoring this year.
The main weakness on the Mavs is their lack of depth in the backcourt and presence at C. Jerry Stackhouse is 34 and his numbers dropped last year and it remains to be seen if Kidd is the answer to the Mavs problems. Terry is a good player and will get a lot of minutes, since the bench perimeter players of Gerald Green (5.1 ppg) and Devean George (3.7 ppg) had far from good years and need to play better or Kidd, Stackhouse, and Terry will play a ton of minutes. Once again, Dampier is the wild card, as he can be a monster or a dud depending on the night.
Betting Odds and Projections
The Mavs still have a good core of players and if Kidd and the new up-tempo game of the team is a fit, they may surprise some teams. Sportsbook.com has the Mavs at 30-1 to win it all and that is on the money. They are not as strong as the Lakers, Hornets, and maybe even the Spurs and the new look Rockets, and that is just in the Western Conference. The season hinges on how Kidd plays in his first full season in Dallas after the trade. The Mavs are at +/- 46.5 wins and that may be a bet to take. The team won 51 games last year and with Kidd running an up temp offense they should surpass 46 wins. Kidd is the key and there is a lot of pressure on him, since the Mavs mortgaged their future to win now.