The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship last year after years of coming up just short. The roster wasn’t hugely different from years past, but there were a few key players that seemed to be the X-Factor/lynchpin that pushed them over the top. Who were those players? JJ Barea and Tyson Chandler. Barea gave everyone fits throughout the playoffs and especially caused the Miami Heat all sorts of match-up problems in the Finals. Tyson Chandler revitalized his career after the World Championships and absolutely controlled the paint on both ends for the Mavs.
Fast forward six months, and the Mavs are just about to start their first season as defending champs. You’d think they’d battle to bring back that same roster with as few changes as possible with the hope of repeating. On the contrary. The Mavs let Chandler, Barea, and Caron Butler walk away without much of a fight (Chandler to the Knicks, Barea to the T-Wolves, Butler to the Clips….) and then they proceeded to go out and acquire three players that make very little sense with this team….Vince Carter, Delonte West, and Lamar Odom.
Carter is DONE, West has more baggage than maybe any player in the league (please always remember that this is the man that was carrying a shotgun in a violin case while riding his motorcycle around town…maybe the best NBA arrest story of all time), and I’m not quite sure what role Odom plays on this team. Vince Carter isn’t going to work hard off the court and is going to give you basically nothing on the defensive end. Can you play Delonte West and Jason Terry at the same time? Is Delonte going to be the backup point guard for Kidd? Are Odom and Dirk going to be able to share the ball when their style of play is so comparable? Does Odom play the three or the four? Can you have Odom, Dirk, and Haywood on the floor together? And what happens to the chemistry of this locker room? Everyone knows that one of the main reasons why this team won the title last year is because they were more tightly knit than the Heat, so swap out three great locker room guys for a has-been that isn’t going to positively motivate a single player on the team, a dude that may or may not have spent some time with another player’s mother (yeah, I went there), and lastly a guy that just demanded a trade from his team because his feelings were hurt.
This mash-up of veterans may be the right move for a shortened season, but from what I can tell, the Mavs have just gone away from exactly what pushed them to the top of the mountain.