The nature of the NBA is that rosters turn over, either a little or a lot, every offseason. This matchup in SB Nation's 3 on 3 Tournament features two teams that will look very different this coming season, the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets.
The Mavericks still feature Dirk Nowitzki, but several other key players are gone. The 3 on 3 is built around Nowitzki just as the full Mavs' roster is, with Delonte West and new-comer Elton Brand joining Dirk. The squad is something of a mish-mash, but it's pretty friggin' tough to stop Dirk with five defenders, let alone three.
Houston is another team in transition, and based on this 3 on 3 roster, the transition may not be pretty this year. Tom Martin of The Dream Shake picked two rookies -- Donatas Motiejunas and Jeremy Lamb -- to join yet another newcomer to the team, Jeremy Lin. It's probably wishful thinking to suspect that Motiejunas and Lamb are among the team's three best players, but looking at the roster, who else would choose (though Kevin Martin is a pretty obvious omission)? For his part, Lin would be terrific in this format, but he doesn't have much help.
Let's see what our panel of experts has to say.
- Tom Ziller, SB Nation NBA, Sactown Royalty -- Dallas wins 12 of 20
- Andrew Sharp, SB Nation NBA -- Dallas wins 19 of 20
- Steve Perrin, SB Nation NBA, Clips Nation -- Dallas wins 14 of 20
- Frank Madden, Brew Hoop -- Dallas wins 15 of 20
- J.A. Sherman, Welcome to Loud City -- Dallas wins 12 of 20
- Overall probabilities -- Dallas 72 percent; Houston 28 percent
The Rockets are such a disaster. Here especially, but everywhere, really. -- Sharp
Motiejunas looked surprisingly good in summer league -- but come on. -- Perrin
The Rockets effectively waived the white flag with their youth-only lineup of Lin, Lamb and Motiejunas, but running two quick guards against a Mavericks lineup with only one small (West) introduces lots of unpredictability. Too bad it's a halfcourt game and the Mavs have that Dirk guy. -- Madden
This series will likely come down to how well Dirk Nowitzki can position himself for good shot attempts. I think that the combination of Dirk's experience and Delonte West's quickness should be able to generate enough open looks to give Dallas the nod. -- Sherman
The Bottom Line
Of these two Texas teams tackling transitions (that's alliteration, Jack!) the Mavericks are clearly better positioned for now, at least as evidenced by these 3 on 3 teams. Then again, the Mavericks also won the NBA Title 15 months ago, so they have further to fall. For this exercise, the experts have given them the advantage, with a 72 percent chance of beating the Rockets in any single game.
The dice will ultimately decide, and the Mavericks will be looking for rolls of 72 or lower, while the Rockets will be looking for rolls of 73 or higher.
Who do you think would win this showdown?
The results will be posted at 5 p.m. ET.
For a complete look at the SB Nation 3 on 3 Tournament, check back with this StoryStream.