NBA Future Power Rankings: 28. Dallas Mavericks
*Photo via Sporting News
Dallas Mavericks: Since the start of the 21th century the Dallas Mavericks have been one of NBA’s staples of success, reaching the postseason in 15 of the past 16 seasons. The common denominator over the years has been Dirk Nowitzki, who just signed a 2-year $40 Million contract to likely remain a Maverick for life. Nowitzki is still a very good player, even at his advanced age, but he is not the player he once was. The combination of Nowitzki’s deteriorating athleticism and the rise of small-ball lineups have made Dirk a liability on defense. Offensively, Nowitzki is still one of the more unique and deadly weapons in the game, but you can no longer count on him to score 20+ per game night in and night out. The Mavs should have started thinking about life after Dirk at least a couple of seasons ago, but instead they continue to try to build a contender around the aged star. Since beating the Heat in the NBA Finals in 2010-11 the Mavericks have continued to trade away draft picks, ignore acquiring young talent, and fail in free agency. This offseason has been no different; they had no 1st round pick due to the failed Rajon Rondo experiment and they once again struck out with their top free agent targets. The Mavericks have a very similar roster to last season, except for former Warriors Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut replacing Chandler Parsons and Zaza Pachulia. Switching centers will not have much of an effect on the team’s future, as Bogut figures to be a one-year stopgap at the position. The bigger signing was Barnes to a near identical deal to the one Parsons just signed with the Grizzlies. When healthy Parsons has proven to be the superior player, but health has been a major concern for Parsons. Perhaps the Mavs chose Barnes for his clean bill of health. Nonetheless the Mavs appear to be relying on Barnes to be a franchise cornerstone, but he really hasn’t shown evidence of being able to handle the role. The Mavs other big money player, Wes Matthews, failed to show that he can be as effective of a player as he was in Portland prior to tearing his Achilles. Dallas does have a few young and intriguing players in Dwight Powell, Seth Curry, and Justin Anderson, but at the moment the future looks very bleak for the Mavericks.