Defining Success

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 17, 2009 under Commentary | 21 Comments to Read

A simple question with varied, complicated answers: what needs to happen for the Mavs’ 2009-2010 season to be considered a success?  Given the roster assembled, is winning the championship the only way to declare the campaign a successful one?  Or, in light of relative expectations, is it enough to merely challenge the natural order?

That’s where you guys come in.  I’m going to list some goals for the team at large, but this is by no means a solo enterprise.  Sound off in the comments with your ideas.  As the week goes on, we’ll narrow the focus to more specific goals (coaching, backcourt, frontcourt, etc.), so for now let’s keep it team-wide:

  • 50+ wins.  The number 50 isn’t terribly significant, but those nice, round numbers are nice.  Plus, ’09-’10 would mark the tenth consecutive season of 50 wins or more.  Shiny.
  • Top three in offensive efficiency.  The Mavs have enough weapons to be a remarkable offensive team, and anything less than an elite offense would have to be considered a disappointment.  Anchoring high-level offenses happens to be a Dirk specialty, so I fully expect him, along with JET and Kidd, to enjoy playing with the new toys.
  • Top ten in defensive efficiency.  If the Mavs want to pose a serious threat on the contending scene, they’ll need a defense that can maintain some semblance of respectability.  The D last season was mediocre/average, which is either not good enough or not so bad.  The addition of Shawn Marion and hopefully a healthier Josh Howard should shore up the defense, and a top ten mark would quantify that improvement nicely.
  • Improve over the course of the regular season.  I don’t expect linear improvement from the get-go, but I’d like to see a Mavs team that’s much improved after game 82 than they were before game 1.  The ups and downs in between are expected, but having a team on the up and up going into the playoffs will do wonders for the squad’s confidence.
  • Don’t roll over and die.  Even though the Mavs lost in five games to the Nuggets, I never got the vibe that they had given up.  They clawed and fought, and even though that only resulted in one measly win and a pat on the back, it’s worth plenty in pride points.  That’s the currency of champions right there, kids.  I can deal with losses, but giving up is another thing entirely.
  • Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.  That includes, but is certainly not limited to: listening to country music, carrying an unregistered firearm, eating any combination of seafood and Tex-Mex (fish tacos are the devil’s food), drag racing, praising the use of Auto-Tune, being involved in any variety of sex crimes, wearing a V-neck, driving under the influence, enjoying Zoolander, murdering people, attempting to murder people, conspiring to murder people, conspiring to attempt to murder people, etc., etc., etc.
  • Remember who you are.  This team will have an identity.  What that identity will entail exactly…well, beats me.  But it’s important that the Mavs play their game, and no one else’s.  I’m not saying that the Mavs shouldn’t try to compensate for their weaknesses, but they should do so by bolstering their strengths.  So what if the roster lacks a true scorer at center?  So what if Jason Terry will play minutes as an undersized two?  If those types of problems can’t be fixed through transactions, then don’t try to fix them by hedging losses.  Use some creativity, eh?  No need to try to run straight through a wall when you can walk around it, climb over it, dig under it, or blow it up with C4.
  • First round flame-outs are not acceptable, regardless of match-ups.  No coulda, shoulda, wouldas.  Mark Cuban’s wallet has taken a considerable beating to field a competitive team, and if the team isn’t competitive, the season can hardly be considered successful.  The Mavs need to fight for seeding in the regular season, and execute in the postseason.  You know, take care of business.  Everyday.  And working overtime.  WORK OUT!

Sound off, twomangamites.  What are your priorities for ’09-’10, and what will it take for the Mavs to have a 2010 summer light on the criticism?

  • finzent

    I’m not yet sure about my expectations, but achieving both 2 and 3 on your list seems like a pretty good start. But, more importantly…what the heck’s wrong with Zoolander?

  • John

    Dude, why the hate for fish tacos? Obviously you’ve never eaten at Petra.

    Thanks for the consistent posts this summer by the way.

  • Mavs Man

    Good list, Rob. I want to see the Mavs improve in seeding this year so that they have homecourt advantage through at least round one. After that, I would like to see them seriously push for a WCF appearance in their round two matchup.

  • Brian D

    I’m very optimistic about this season. I just have a good feeling about it.

    I’d say 55 wins (or whatever is good for a top 4 seed this year) and a conference finals appearance. Beating the Spurs in the playoffs would be a huge plus as well.

  • Richard

    The realistic goal this year is the goal every year, win 50+ and go farther than the spurs.

  • Kirk

    I want 50ish wins and the playoffs if only for the simple fact that I want the Nets to get a crappy late rounder with the pick we sent them two years ago.

    Of course, more than anything, I want them to be competitive. If they are going to run a lot, I’m def getting the NBA package on Comcast here in DC…

  • Yogi M

    Rob~ Great list. My goals for 2009-10 are simple:

    1. Stay competitive. Look for 50+ wins, while continually improving on chemistry and defensive effort.

    2. Lock up home court for the first round.

    3. Beat the Spurs.

    4. Use Damps contract to improve this team. We have been waiting for 7 years to cash in on that $73 million contract. Make something happen in Feb., and we could be setup to win a couple championships.

    Go Mavs.

  • Charles

    All I want to see is the Mavs fighting tooth and nail in the playoffs. I don’t really care whether or not they end up with a championship.

    Have to savor the few remaining years of JKidd’s career. Who knows when we’ll see a playmaker like this again.

  • Boogie

    #1… Fill the defensive hole at the 1. Last year everybody knew that a speedy PG would kill the Mavs… so that’s exactly what they did. Also-rans, and middle-of-the-benchers got major minutes against Kidd and more than half the time it worked. Shore up that perimeter defense…Damp shouldn’t have to foul PG/SG as much as he does.

  • Mavs Man

    @ Yogi

    If they can get something substantial at the deadline for Damp, I say do it. Otherwise, his value over the summer is going to be HUGE!!! (yes, three exclamation points) so I would prefer they hold.

  • Rhett

    hmm . . .
    Avoid losing bad games – i.e. to memphis on a tuesday night. Avoid the lopsided losses to contending teams. Be consistant on defense – not a top ten defense one night, bottom ten the next. Find a 8-9 man rotation and stick to it. Play Kidd and Dirk less than 35 min a night. Put on eye on developing Roddy and any other young talent we can get our hands on with the idea we start thinking about W.H.A.D. (What Happens After Dirk).
    Mostly, as a fan, I don’t need a ring to consider the season a success. I just enjoy seeing guys that like each other having fun while playing basketball. I want this team to be fun to watch.

  • strokes

    1. Fish tacos are the jam.
    2. Zoolander is a highly entertaining and hilarious film.
    3. Ladies love the v-necks.
    4. A ring is the ONLY measure of NBA success. If you’re not a non-playoff team trying to improve and become one, you are trying to get a ring. Anything less than that is not a success. 9×50 is great and all, but all it does is provide enough interest for half-ass fans to keep their head in the game. True blue fans have and will continue to watch every game anyway, and the only way I will eventually feel redeemed for that is when I am in Dallas, at the victory parade (at which point I will feel COMPLETELY redeemed.) Every season until then is a failure.
    Love your work, keep it up.

  • Royce

    Rob, we could be friends in real life. I do not enjoy Zoolander either.

  • Cynthia

    Gotta agree with Rhett here. Consistency on defense, a HUGE deal in my book. Offensively I don’t think there’s a lot to worry about. If the MAVS play good solid D game after game, barring injuries, I think this season will be great!
    GO MAVS!

  • Brian D

    Rhett’s got it right on. Especially agree with the “don’t lose bad games” remarks. I absolutely hate when I think it’s a definite W, don’t watch it, and come home to find that the Mavs lost by 15 to Memphis. That stuff really gets to me.

  • crainge_PH

    I just wanna see how well will we defend the fast point guards again.. The way Chauncey and CP3 and Tony Parker destroyed Kidd still haunts me..

  • benway37

    regular season:
    1) play Beaubois and develop him, hopefully into a viable playoff rotation option (he could be a huge x factor in a series against NO/SA/DEN).

    2) figure out a way to keep Josh Howard active throughout the game, so that he is more of a consistent option.

    3) develop better spacing on the floor (Gooden and Marion should each help)> I would personally prefer to see Dirk get his touches just a little lower, and would love to see him going to rack more (like in 06). I am very excited about the possibilities of having Dirk with more true 1 on 1 opportunities, given that Gooden can space the floor and keep the 5 honest with his J, and Marion is so much more long and athletic than anyone we’ve had crashing and slashing. Those guys (in theory) should be able to make a defense pay for doubling Dirk on his drives (thus truly taking advantage of the mismatch Dirk gives you).
    This element of our offense needs to be developed and honed by playoff time, so that the other players are not put in an uncomfortable position when the inevitable postseason doubling (and tripling) of Dirk begins.

    4) Exhibit dominance on the Home Court.

    5) Win all the other games yr supposed to win. Steal a couple along the way.

    Top 5 rebounding (given our players, anything less is underachieving). Top 10 defense. Top 8 offense. 4 seed or higher (I would say that the 2 seed is a legitimate goal).

    WCF is the goal.
    Cuban and Donnie have clearly retooled this team to be longer. We’re not really bigger, but we are longer and more athletic. This is clearly not in preparation for the Spurs. Right or wrong, I believe the Mavs look at San Antonio in the rear view mirror.
    These moves are made to directly compete with the Lakers/Portland/Denver. I also think New Orleans will rebound strong and be more of a factor than last year, in which case, we will be glad we kept Dampier, b/c Okafor is better than Chandler, but much less athletic.
    Also Houston will not suck anywhere near as much as people think.
    WCF is the goal, but I would not be surprised at all if the field is 4 teams strong by playoff time and we got bounced 2nd round.

  • MFFL in Ohio

    Top 4 in playoff seeding, get to WCF. Win more than 1 game in WCF. That would just about do it. Championship is the goal, but clearly the Lakers are still better as well as the Magic and Cavs.

  • Brayden

    I like most of what’s been proposed here.

    One more thing I would like to see would be a good thumping or two of a top team on national TV. I can remember getting up for a bunch of big games last season, only to see the game slip away early and to have us blown out on national tv. Boston comes to mind most immediately.

    It’s about time we returned the favor this season. I’d like to remind the NBA world that we have far from fallen off the map and that Dirk didn’t just stumble into an MVP award in 2007.

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  • Dan Hansen

    As a fan I obviously want to be entertained. As far as my wishes for the team, well, Nowitzki has made it pretty clear that the only goal remaining for him in this league is a championship ring.

    If Dirk gets that ring it follows that you will have seen all of these other things. The 50+ win season. Winning the games you’re supposed to as well as a few you weren’t expected to. And plenty of “Did he really just do that?” moments.