The local football team's taken the league by storm. Baseball's playoffs have taken a decidedly upwards turn, greatly spurred by the Yankee loss last night (How's that for an evening of delight?). College football is in full force.
But people seem to have forgotten that last year's top regular season NBA team exists.
I won't say I'm complaining. We all got a bit overexcited last year, some crowning them as the champs before the season was over, others-myself included- scoffing at the matchup against Clown Coach Don Nelson and his brand of basketball. It was not to be.
But yeah, the Mavericks are nearing another season. They come back with the squad almost entirely intact, as the only departee with any name recognition is the spare 3rd string shooting guard Greg Buckner. Notable additions include Trenton Hassell, Nick Fazekas, and Eddie Jones.
Low key additions, to be certain. Two one-dimensional players and a has-been who may not play as many minutes as Buckner did last year.
I like it.
The best core in the league is fully composed. All there is to do is add the supporting cast. Do we have that guy who can step in during a critical time and truly contribute? Do we have an Alonzo Mourning, a Fabricio Oberto, or, as we make use of the way-back machine, a Rick Fox?
I don't know, but this team has been adding candidates for the position. And this pleases me.
Dirk will be Dirk. He's vowed to come back with a better interior game, and I'm sure he'll post up more. But he'll still play his game, because that's what makes him great.
Josh Howard's a genuine all-star. We've tagged him as the MVP's sidekick for several years now, but last year we saw him take his game to another level. He's now part of the second tier; Those 10-15 players who aren't quite legitimate superstars, but are necessary to any championship team.
I believe that Devin Harris has a chance to join that tier as well. He's back motivated, rich, and still humbled by last season. He'll be the starting point guard this season, there should be no further experimentation with Jason Terry in that role. If he can refine his abilities to finish at the rim, the Tony Parker projections will materialize.
The shooting guard position is deep to an unprecedented level. There's the proven scorer in Jet, the hard-nosed sparkplug in Stack, the proven veteran is Eddie Jones, Trenton Hassell the defensive ace, and the inconsistent but usable Devean George. Minutes will be hard to come by, and I could see Devin and Josh's minutes getting cut simply because the depth here is so irresistible.
The Center position will be iffy until the return of Big Damp, but I believe that with 5 minutes a game from Fazekas, Nowitzki, and Mbenga we can hold down the fort.
Do us all a favor and don't predict a championship. Don't even predict 60 wins. Just know that there is reason for optimism.