|13 Overall||10 Overall|
Stats through Jan. 15
A strength became a concern with the season-ending injury to Caron Butler and Dirk Nowitzki's career-long absence. Shawn Marion has filled in admirably for Butler, but the Matrix isn't the same scorer.
Jason Kidd continues to run the team with precision and 3-point threat DeShawn Stevenson has been a find. Jason Terry has been streaky as a spot starter due to injuries.
Tyson Chandler provides a backline of defense this franchise hasn't had for decades. Often frustrates opponents as possibly the league's best team at running the zone.
The rotation has taken a hit with the injury bug hitting recently. Terry and Marion provided scoring punch, along with J.J. Barea. Last season's starter Brendan Haywood has struggled as a backup.
Rick Carlisle found a consistent rotation and maneuvered the Mavs to one of the league's top records through two months. It wasn't the same when both Nowitzki and Butler went down.
The championship contender feel Dallas had through December has evaporated in the wake of Butler being gone for the season and Nowitzki being hobbled. The same Mavs that enjoyed great success against the league's upper-echelon teams and were within striking distance of San Antonio have struggled against everyone without the MVP candidate and third-leading scorer.
There could be help on the way in addition to Nowitzki's recent return. Second-year scoring dynamo Roddy Beaubois would be a shot to the arm if he's as good as the team hopes. Expect an aggressive push as the trade deadline nears from Mark Cuban, who will make a move if one is there.
The Mavs came into the season believing they were on the short list of teams capable of winning a title, and they played the part for about 30 games. The question going into the second half is: Do they have enough as the roster is currently constructed to get back to their lofty status or will they need another blockbuster to get back near the top?
-- Art Garcia
Explanation of Marking System