The Mavs will win 50 games. The Mavs will make the playoffs. The Mavs will win a first-round series.
Not the loftiest of predictions for a franchise that won a championship just three years ago. But, don’t look now, they haven’t won a single playoff series since hoisting the trophy in the summer of 2011.
Last year – despite losing a Game 7 in San Antonio in the first round – Dallas ended the season on a high. After missing the playoffs the previous year the Mavs pushed the Spurs to the brink of elimination, farther and harder than any other team on their way to another championship.
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“That's over with,” Mavs’ head coach Rick Carlisle said during training camp. “I prefer to focus on the present and the future. We didn't win, so it was a failure. That's the way we view it.”
And instead of building upon that success, the Mavs decided to rebuild.
The Mavs tonight open the 2015 season where the 2014 playoffs ended – San Antonio’s AT&T Center – but you might be surprised at how much the team has changed.
Departing: Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Dejuan Blair, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Bernard James and Shane Larkin.
Arriving: Tyson Chandler, Chandler Parsons, Raymond Felton, Greg Smith, Richard Jefferson and Jameer Nelson.
The Spurs will get their 2014 championship rings and unfurl yet another title banner tonight in San Antonio. If the Mavs can get productive minutes from Smith at backup center, they might wind up being good enough to push the Spurs again next spring.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.