The wait is finally over: The NBA has returned!
The 2016-2017 NBA Regular Season inauguration last night featured the Cleveland Cavaliers receiving their 2016 NBA Championship rings.
The Dallas Mavericks know a few things when it comes to NBA championships. They have four players in Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and J.J. Barea, who have rings. The Mavericks also have a head coach in Rick Carlisle who has an NBA championship ring on his finger.
So with all that championship experience, do the Mavs have what it takes to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2017? The journey of answering that question will begin on Wednesday night when the Mavs travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers to tip off their 2016-2017 NBA regular season.
Wednesday night’s matchup will feature two teams who made a bunch of changes on their roster during the offseason.
Since the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Championship, offseason changes have become quite the norm in Dallas. This summer, the Mavericks decided to let Chandler Parsons walk in free agency. They replaced Parsons with the talented and unproven Harrison Barnes. The Mavs put a lot of trust in Barnes. They put so much trust in him that they signed him to a $95 million dollar deal.
It’s finally here….GAME DAY!
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) October 26, 2016
Barnes struggled during preseason, shooting an abysmal 26.7 percent from field goal range. He only averaged 21 minutes a game which is normal in pre-season but Barnes isn’t worried about his numbers. Barnes said during his opening day press conference that “winning is the highest priority.” If the Mavericks can start off the season with a win, that is all Barnes will care about.
Barnes comes from a culture of winning despite his short time in the NBA. Barnes is entering his 5th season. During that time he has been to two NBA Finals, has won a championship, been on a team that has won 73 games, and won gold in the 2016 Olympics. Look for Barnes to be motivated with the season on the verge of starting.
The Mavericks also acquired Andrew Bogut from Golden State. Bogut is expected to be a defensive presence for the Mavs this season. Bogut is entering his 12th season in the NBA and playing for his 3rd team. Bogut was the defensive anchor in his time in Milwaukee and Golden State.
Look for all eyes to be on Bogut and Barnes in game 1 of the regular season on Wednesday night.
The Mavs are expected to meet an Indiana team that is expected to be one of the best teams in the eastern conference. The Pacers are led by Paul George and they upgraded their roster during the offseason by adding Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson. The Pacers also replaced their head coach from Frank Vogel to Nate McMillan.
The Mavs fell short in both meetings against the Pacers last season. The Mavs will have a number of tests they will have to take this season. Barnes and Bogut are the biggest tests. Other tests such as Dirk’s minutes, the Mavs bench and the Mavs chemistry will also be looked at.
The long journey begins tonight! It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Cover Photo Credit: Mavs.com
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