August 18, 2010
Keys for Mavs Improvement

With limited help coming in through free agent, as the Mavs have so far been unable to land a big name by sign and trade, the current team is going to have to make major strides forward from within in order to take the next step going in to the 2010-2011 season. Assuming Dirk Nowitzki can maintain his current level of production, and management is obviously willing to bet 20 million a year he can, the Mavs should continue to be competitive in the West, though a true championship contending team has eluded the city of Dallas since 05-06. Here are a few ways the Mavericks might could make a play to advance further in the playoffs, all without acquiring any more players this off-season.Use Tyson Chandler Appropriately This is the Mavericks lone big acquisition (in terms of size and contract) for the summer, so the temptation is to throw him out there and see what he gives the group for 30 minutes a game despite his well documented injury concerns. If the Mavericks decide Chandler is really the answer this season (more on this later), it doesnt make sense to waste his best efforts in the regular season, when the current unit more or less has done fine on its own, securing a 2 seed last season. Dont limit him to over-the-hill Shaq numbers, after all hes only 27, but play him within reason until its time for a post-season push, ensuring he will be healthy and fresh when it matters most.Find Playing Time for Youth When teams cant acquire new talent, the best way to improve is by developing young assets. Following this logic, the Atlanta Hawks have improved from 37 to 53 over the last 2 seasons, relying largely on the progression of Josh Smith and Al Horford. The Mavs have young talent in the form of Rodrigue Beaubois and All-Summer League squad selection Dominique Jones. Getting them on the floor and into meaningful rotation roles may mean less time for Jason Terry and even some spelling of Kidd, but the current unit could use a youthful infusion at times.Wait for the Trade Deadline The beginning of the season is by no mean the end of the line for improving a teams roster. If Chandler isnt working out or is once again plagued by injury, his expiring contract will still prove attractive for a rebuilding team looking to free up cap room. An aging Caron Butler also has an expiring deal, and could prove to be a major piece in bringing a bigger contributor to the Mavs starting lineup next February.

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