Dallas Mavericks roster 2013: Finding the winning formula

Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Dallas Mavericks have built a roster that is similar to their championship team of 2011, but it doesn't mean finding success will be easy.

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks found themselves treading in a pool of mediocrity. Dirk Nowitzki wasn't his old self and the pieces around him weren't enough to pick up the slack. Luckily for Dallas, it was a one-year reset. The Mavs reset their roster again this year with the long-term additions of Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon in the backcourt, and a retooling in the frontcourt around Nowitzki capable of cleaning up any defensive messes.

Projected starters

Dirk Nowitzki -- A combination of injury problems and the lack of a strong supporting cast wore on Nowitzki last season, but in 2013-14 he enters the year without a health problem and with troops that can help him hold down the fort. The German forward will likely benefit from part of the scoring load now being on Monta Ellis' shoulders. The 35-year-old will also have defensive help inside from Samuel Dalembert and a savvy point guard in Calderon making life easier for him.

Monta Ellis -- The premier free agent signing by the Mavs this summer finds himself on a team where the playoffs are a perennial destination -- really, an expectation. He has the chance to prove to critics that he won't be a ball-dominating guard with a quick trigger, which is the reputation he's developed. Calderon, Devin Harris and company will help Ellis free himself off the ball, and playing with a bevy of three-point shooters should only help open the driving lanes.

Jose Calderon -- Rick Carlisle's offense was at its best in the 2011 NBA Finals with a true floor general like Jason Kidd setting up the offense. Calderon could give Dallas something similar following a season where the team was desperate enough to sign aging guard Mike James in the middle of the year. Calderon averaged 11.3 points and 7.3 assists for Toronto and Detroit last season, and he'll also give the Mavs a deadly outside shooting threat at the point.

Samuel Dalembert -- Dalembert was stuck behind the emerging Larry Sanders last year with the Bucks, but in 2013-14 fills Dallas' need for a rim-protecting center. Like the Calderon signing, he fits into the identity of the championship squad a few years back. He'll be counted upon to make up for defensive deficiencies of Nowitzki, Calderon and Ellis. And a little rebounding help alongside Nowitzki wouldn't hurt.

Shawn Marion -- Like Dalembert, Marion has the defensive chops to fit well in a starting lineup of talented offensive players. Marion might be aging, but he's still a sound perimeter defender who can rebound at an above-average rate. His playing time could be pushed, however, if second-year pro Jae Crowder earns himself more playing time. Still, Marion is capable of being utilized at either forward spot and in heavy minutes for a 35-year-old.

Rotation players

Devin Harris -- The former starting point guard for the Mavericks returns to Big D with a very different role. Calderon and Ellis make sense as the starting guards, but there's a deep and intriguing backcourt rotation for Carlisle that Harris can thrive in. Harris projects to see time at both guard spots, just as he did last season with the Atlanta Hawks. He'll have to find his way into the rotation after a few months of recovering from offseason toe surgery and might not be completely back to 100 percent until January.

Wayne Ellington -- The 25-year-old shooting guard found his first significant role toward the end of last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and could be a valuable shooter off the bench. As a true shooting guard, Ellington will fight for minutes with a heavy point guard rotation that includes Harris and potential rotation point guards Gal Mekel and rookie Shane Larkin.

Vince Carter -- Carter was a productive scorer off the bench for the Mavs last season and could also play surprisingly solid defense in reserve-type minutes. Whether he's a backup shooting guard or small forward, Carter is another threat from beyond the three-point line after hitting 40.6 percent from deep in 2012-13, the second-highest percentage of his 15-year career.

Jae Crowder -- Crowder battled inconsistency but has a good deal of experience from his rookie season. He can play small forward or as an undersized power forward and has the ability to stretch the floor. His shooting ability, however, wasn't reflected in his shooting percentages. His shot selection needs to improve.

Brandan Wright -- Dallas re-signed Wright this offseason to return as the backup center behind Dalembert. He doesn't have great range but has more offensive diversity than Dalembert from 15 feet in. Wright is a long, above-average shotblocker who could also play the power forward position.

DeJuan Blair -- Could Blair sneak into the Mavs' rotation? There's certainly room. There's not much depth at power forward or center even if you consider Crowder as a stretch 4, so Blair certainly can fight for minutes. He and center Bernard James could also be the odd men out.

Deep on the bench

Gal Mekel -- The Israeli point guard might be an option for Carlisle if he's sniffing out a rotation that will include three point guards. Mekel didn't play for the national team at EuroBasket so he could get a head start in Dallas.

Shane Larkin -- Larkin could end up fighting Mekel for minutes as the third point guard behind Calderon and Harris. The rookie out of Miami has the athletic ability that Mekel does not.

Bernard James -- James is a young center who will probably be the third option unless he takes a large step forward.

Ricky Ledo -- The young draft pick didn't play a game of college ball at Providence and will be a work in progress.

Fab Melo -- Drafted No. 22 overall in 2012, the big man and shotblocker was traded by the Celtics and released by the Grizzlies this summer.

D.J. Kennedy -- Kennedy played in the D-League and with the Cavaliers before being invited to training camp by Dallas.

Renaldo Balkman -- The former New York Knick forward will join the Mavs in camp after spending last year in Puerto Rico.

Richard McConnell -- Also joining Dallas in camp is the point guard from Saint Mary's with a smooth shooting stroke. McConnell last played in Italy.

Head coach

Rick Carlisle -- The Mavs are attempting to recreate the magic of the 2011 title with a similar supporting cast around an aging Dirk Nowitzki, and Carlisle is leading the charge. Dallas signed a solid group of new offensive weapons in Ellis and Calderon, but the key will be helping the Mavs play better defense with a more athletic frontcourt this season.

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