At the break, have Mavs made the grade?
At 38-16 with two games remaining until the All-Star break, the Dallas Mavericks have surpassed expectations. Sure, around here 50-win seasons come and go like pickups on I-35, but, hey, they have to play the regular season to get to the postseason.
The overall success of this Mavs team through some trying times, combined with a Western Conference that appears far more up for grabs than in the last few years, lends legitimate optimism for when April rolls around.
Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler have been the obvious standouts, but don't discount Shawn Marion's role in making this whole thing work.
So, at the break, we've graded each Mavs player. Admittedly, the grades are overwhelmingly high, with one glaring exception. It just seemed hard to nitpick a team boasting two double-digit win streaks and that managed to rebound from an awful stretch after losing its star and third-leading scorer in a matter of days.
Dallas is currently No. 2 in the West and the question can't helped but to be asked: Where would the Mavs be had Nowitzki not gone down for nine games with a sprained right knee (not to mention Caron Butler's season-ending knee injury)? The Mavs went 2-7 without their leading scorer. Had he stayed healthy, is it too much to think the Mavs go 7-2 during that stretch instead, and are right on the San Antonio Spurs' (46-9) heels for West supremacy?
At any rate, how would you grade the Mavs?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.