It has been over ten years since the Mavericks hired head coach Rick Carlisle back on May 9th, 2008. Hiring Carlisle was just another one of the many vital moves Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban made to build up the eventual 2011 NBA Champions. All Mavs fans also remember how quickly and easily the title team was broken up in the two offseasons following their lone title.
After the Oklahoma City Thunder swept the Mavericks out of the first round of the 2012 playoffs, guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd left Dallas via free agency and it really began a trend of roster flipping every summer in hopes of landing the team’s next superstar. In the three offseasons between that 2012 first round exit and opening night of the 2014-2015 season, the Mavs would overturn two-thirds of their roster each year.
|2012-2013||2013-2014||2014-2015||2015-2016||2016-2017||2017-2018||2018 Training Camp|
|D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki||D. Nowitzki|
|S. Marion||S. Marion||B. Wright||D. Harris||D. Harris||D. Harris||J. Barea|
|B. Wright||B. Wright||J. Crowder||J. Barea||J. Barea||J. Barea||D. Powell|
|R. Beaubois||V. Carter||M. Ellis||C. Parsons||D. Powell||D. Powell||W. Matthews|
|V. Carter||J. Crowder||D. Harris||C. Villanueva||W. Matthews||W. Matthews||S. Mejri|
|R. Felton||S. Mejri||S. Mejri||H. Barnes|
|D. Powell||D. Williams||H. Barnes||D. Finney-Smith|
|J. Anderson||D. Finney-Smith||D. Smith Jr.|
|N. Noel||M. Kleber|
The table above lays out the players that were on the roster both on the first night of said season and during the last game of the previous season. If you want to add Devin Harris to this year’s list after forgetting about his little rendezvous to the Rocky Mountains last spring, that’s fine with me. He basically never left. Obviously Dallas has begun to build the younger roster it has been looking for over the last couple seasons. With eleven players essentially returning from last season, there are a lot of familiar faces in the fold for Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff.
While the early-to-mid part of this decade probably had Dirk Nowitzki being introduced to new teammates as often as he takes a picture with a fan, the 40 year-old has to be happy for the consistency finally beginning to form around the team he has called his own for each of the first twenty years of his career.
New toys Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan figure to be huge pieces to work into the starting lineup, but the likes of Harrison Barnes and Rick Carlisle will be up to the challenge to welcome and integrate the exciting new pair to the team from a leadership standpoint on and off the court.
For fans, there is finally a sort of identity beginning to form. Whenever casual Mavs fans were having to grasp the concept of Chris Kaman, Troy Murphy, David Lee and other over-the-hill veterans constantly rotating around the last few roster spots semi-recently, it could not have been too easy to be enthusiastic about a bunch of players you A. didn’t know, or B. did not expect to even be around longer than a season.
As Dallas begins to beautifully shape its roster with a calculated mix of youth and easy-to-fit veterans, there is a new aura around the franchise that figures to create a buzz that hasn’t been experienced by basketball fans around here in close to a decade. As much as the fans are anticipating getting to know and cheer for this new core, it has to be just as exciting for the Maverick players to be able to have the opportunity to grow into something special with familiar teammates this season and beyond.
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