Scout doubts Mavs as legit title contender

A scout's take on the Mavs, from Marc Stein's ESPN.com Weekend Dime, which is required weekly NBA reading:

"I see them as the Orlando of the West right now. Could they knock the Thunder off in Round 2? Sure. They could pull that off. But to battle through three rounds to get back to the Finals? I have my doubts.

"They're dangerous, don't get me wrong. They did win the championship last year. But I just haven't seen the support for Dirk [Nowitzki] and [Jason] Terry. There's a lot of pressure on those guys to perform. If they're a little bit off, Dallas starts to look ordinary.

"Rick [Carlisle] has them very, very well prepared defensively. They haven't missed a beat without Tyson Chandler and that's a real credit to the players and the coaching staff. I [also] really like the way Rick puts his players in position to make plays. He's an outstanding half-court coach. But I haven't seen the same hunger [as last season]. I don't think there's enough gas left in the tank. Dirk and Terry need some help.

"I thought [Lamar] Odom would be helping more by now. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but he just doesn't look interested. Early on you could understand that there was some adjustment involved. And he seems like a pretty sensitive guy. But he just hasn't turned the corner. Whether it's because he's got other priorities in his life or the transition [from the Lakers to Dallas] has been too much, he doesn't look fully invested in the program."