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Dallas Mavericks Team Overview
2012-13 Record: 41-41
Fourth place, Southwest Division
Did not make the playoffs

Trade update I: Mavericks acquire No. 18 pick Shane Larkin (and cash) from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Jared Cunningham, No. 16 pick Lucas Nogueira and No. 44 pick Mike Muscala.

Trade update II: Mavericks acquire No. 43 pick Ricky Ledo from the Philadelphia 76ers for a 2014 second-round pick.

Pre-Draft Analysis

Areas of Strength
Even at 35 as he starts next season, a healthy Dirk Nowitizki can be the main cog in the Mavs offense with his ability to get shots off from virtually any place on the court and make them at a high rate. Fellow veterans Shawn Marion and Vince Carter still have high revving motors and the basketball smarts to make good decisions and the right plays. They rank in the top five in the league in sharing the ball for assists in an offense that ranks smack in the middle of the pack.

Needs Work
Dirk is a Batman desperately seeking a Robin, preferably a very tall Robin. The Mavs are back facing their age-old dilemma, trying to find a big man to plop in the middle of the offense to provide low post play on offense and protect the rim on defense. That's why Mavs owner Mark Cuban and team president Donnie Nelson will be at the front of the line to offer Dwight Howard bundles of cash and a chance to team with Nowitzki to bring another championship to Dallas.

Two Stats That Matter
12 -- The number of consecutive years the Mavericks had made the playoffs before coming up short this season.

29 -- Boards, boards, boards. Even owner Mark Cuban acknowledges that it was a mistake to let Tyson Chandler walk out the door after the championship season. Ranking next to last in rebounding proves the point.

The Way To Go
The Mavs have the No. 13 pick in the draft, but with the clock ticking on the 35-year-old Nowitizki they don't have time to wait for an up-and-coming talent to blossom. It's all about taking advantage of the next year or two that means forget about the draft and do all that they can to convince Dwight Howard that Dallas can provide him with a chance to return to The Finals much faster than a Lakers team with a mending Kobe Bryant.

2012-13 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 101.1 (8th)
Defensive: 101.8 (27th)

Under Contract
F: Dirk Nowitzki
F: Shawn Marion
G: O.J. Mayo
G: Vince Carter
G: Jared Cunningham
F: Jae Crowder
C: Bernard James
G: Josh Akognon

Free Agents
C: Chris Kaman
G: Darren Collison (restricted)
G: Rodrigues Beaubois (restricted)
G/F: Anthony Morrow
F: Elton Brand
G: Dominique Jones
F: Brandan Wright
G: Mike James

Recent Draft History
2012: Jared Cunningham (24), Bernard James (33) Jae Crowder (34)
2011: Jordan Hamilton (26)
2010: Solomon Alabi (50)
2009: Byron Mullens (24), Ahmad Nivins (56)
2008: Shan Foster (51)

-- Fran Blinebury