1) At 25-19 and in the eighth spot in the tough Western Conference, there has to be some joy in the Big D, especially after some uncertainty on how the chemistry would fall into place with so many new faces. At this point in the season, have the Dallas Mavericks met expectations from a Mavs fan's point of view or surpassed them?
It probably depends on who you talk to, but I would say most everyone agrees they've at least met expectations if not surpassed them.
Previewing the Brooklyn Nets
The only solace in having no defense is the Mavs have all the shooting you could want most nights. Calderon has been great, Dirk is still Dirk and Monta Ellis really does have it all (sorry, couldn't resist -- but really, he's been great. More on that below.) If nothing changes, their ceiling is realistically 7th in the West. Depending on the matchup, and the injury situation, I think they could get past the first round. But of course, that's a lot of "ifs." I think that after last season, making the playoffs in a really tough Western Conference is a victory in and of itself.
2) Gone is the speedy Darren Collison, as well as the once-promising Rodrigue Beaubois, and a revitalized O.J. Mayo. In comes the plain, but effective Jose Calderon and an enigmatic, undiscriminating shooter in Monta Ellis. Surprisingly, to some degree, Ellis seems to be working well with the Mavs' top dog, Dirk Nowitzki. How happy are you with the new backcourt and can this perfect harmony (both are averaging 16.1 attempts from the floor) exist for the rest of the season between Dirk and Monta?
Ugh, you HAD to bring up Roddy B, huh? Just kidding. (But seriously, don't do that.)
Calderon has been what the point desperately needed since the somewhat controversial departure of Jason Kidd -- a steady, savvy hand. He may not have any defense, but he knows how to run point and run it well, and obviously is one of the best three point shooters out there. The real joy this season has been the Dirk-Monta pairing. There were a few rumblings that Dirk had actually asked the front office to look at signing Monta, so for once, I'll give them credit for doing some homework that the rest of the fanbase seemed to have slept on. Though both guys have had a little rough stretch of late, most of the time they work like a well-oiled machine - they play to each other's strengths very well, and have been straight up deadly in pick and roll/pick and pop situations. It's also been quite nice to have more than one player who can carry the team on any given night. I do wonder if teams are mayyyybe starting to figure them out a little, but I suppose that could be said of a lot of teams at the midway point. With a coach like Rick Carlisle, I don't think this stops being a successful pairing. It's the match that Mayo and Dirk were never meant to be.
3) Of course this question was bound to pop-up... will Dirk and Dallas still be a thing past this season? The impending free agent stated he would like to sign on for two or three more years, but would he still produce to validate what's sure to be a high salary?
Dirk will retire a Maverick -- of that, we are all sure. The question, as you alluded to, is how much that contract will be for.
4) Currently, the Mavericks are on the hook for $26.5 million for the 2014-15 NBA season. Assuming they do re-sign/extend Dirk, what sort of moves do you think the Mavs will need to address and spend their money accordingly to meet those needs?
My fellow editor Kirk Henderson actually tackled a similar question last week for another blog, so I'll borrow from his answer. As I mentioned earlier, Dirk will be off the books and back on for (we think) a deep discount, so Dallas should have cash to burn. Unfortunately for the Mavs, this coming off-season is a horrible one to have cap space because there aren't a lot of players worth the money they're going to make.
And of course, as Nets fans well know, it seems anyone can be had via trade. Stay tuned!
5) What are three to five other things that Nets fans should know about the Mavs? Give us a final score!
DV's Prediction: Dallas Mavericks 91, Brooklyn Nets 99. IN YOUR FACE, CUBAN! So, what do you think the final score will be?