DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — Sitting 8th in the Western Conference with a 20-15 record, most Mavs’ fans would label the team’s season as a disappointment.
But former head coach and current TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy disagrees completely.
“Someone was asking me about the Mavs the other day and they did it in a disappointed tone. ‘Didn’t you expect more out of the Mavs?'” said Van Gundy on 105.3 The Fan’s New School. “What? I think they are completely overachieving.”
Van Gundy identified a number of deficiencies with the team, including a less than stellar three-center rotation, a shaky backup point guard situation, and an aging squad — which now includes an injured Shawn Marion.
The team is also dealing with a loaded Western Conference, in which 10 teams are currently .500 or better. By comparison, the Eastern Conference boasts just three such teams.
“Is it because they’re not a championship level team that there was disappointment?” asked Van Gundy. “Just because you once were champions…Time marches on. Players get older. Changes happen.”
At the center of the Mavs’ veteran core is 35-year-old Dirk Nowitzki, who Van Gundy describes as “still really good”. According to the former coach, Dirk continues to evolve his game year-in and year-out to stay at a high level.
“Now, because he doesn’t have the same explosion to draw fouls, he’s not getting the same type of calls that he was back a few years ago,” said Van Gundy. “He’s back on the perimeter shooting the heck out of it.”
Nowitzki is shooting 40 percent on 3.7 three-point attempts per game, his most since the 2003-04 season. His passing has also improved drastically (3.0 apg), helping the 7-footer diversify his game.
But if you’re expecting the Mavs to win a title in 2014, it probably won’t happen. However, according to Van Gundy, the Mavs are better than they should be.
“I think it’s been a highly successful season for the Mavericks.”
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