Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Happy New Year, Dallas
Happy New Year, friends. And what a year it has been. But before we go back and give out our First Annual Dallas Awards (later this week), let's look ahead to what Dallas area fans can expect in 2009.
The Dallas Mavericks
I don't want to admit it, but unlike my co-blogger Nate, I was not too happy with the Jason Kidd trade last season. But, after watching the games this season, I believe it is pretty clear that Kidd benefits the team in so many ways--many of which the box score doesn't show. Many people point to his leadership qualities, which is a valid point. Beyond this, however, lies his defense, his court vision, and his superb decision making that younger point guards don't have. In fact, props to the Dallas Morning News for saying that Dallas should have, in a perfect world, three All-Stars: Dirk, Terry, and Kidd. His stats aren't comparable to Chris Paul or Deron Williams, but his value surely is.
Don't look now, but the Mavs have climbed to 5th in the Western Conference. This comes only a few weeks after many analysts predicted Dallas to be the one "good" team that will be left out of the playoffs. Now Dallas is winning games against quality opponents, and is able to pull out games that cover up their off night--the true sign of a good team (see: last night vs. the Clippers). Dallas has the potential to go deep into the playoffs this season. When hitting on all cylinders, one could argue they are still an elite team.
2009 Prediction: Look for Dallas to win in the first round this year. It seems like so long ago that we were used to that feeling. Expect in the neighborhood of 50 wins, and a team Carlisle can keep a contender with.
The Dallas Stars
A month ago, the Stars were on the road to becoming the laughing stock of the league. Now, Dallas has climbed 3 spots in the Conference, from 15 to 12. Even better, the Stars have won 6 of their last 10. Now, this is a long way from the Western Conference Finals appearance of last year, but still dramatic improvement nevertheless. Turco has regained his form in goal, and Loui Ericksson is 6th in the league in goals (20). However, the team leader in points, Brian Richards, is a mere tie for 37th in the league in points. This lack of a true star can hamper the team in close games.
2009 Prediction: Though they are improving, don't count on the Stars to slide into a playoff spot this season. Some retooling will need to be done in the offseason, and more young talent needs to be brought in.
The Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboy's offseason has already been well publicized, so not much needs to be said here. Jones appears that he is going to hold firm on his word and keep Wade "No Control" Phillips. Though this keeps the "continuity" he so badly wants, it really is a bummer for the fans. Essentially, all hope for a Super Bowl is lost, knowing that the fate of our ultra-talented team rests in the hands of Phillips and Jason "Everyone Knows My Schemes" Garrett.
In fact, many players have already expressed interest in leaving: Greg Ellis, Zach Thomas, and Tank Johnson, to name a few. Don't expect too many personnel changes, either. The only feasible trade option they have in Valley Ranch is to unload Tashard Choice (since they have 2 great backs already) for an offensive linemen, which is a definite need. If Garrett does in fact leave to guide the Broncos (wish them luck), a new offensive coordinator could be exactly what is needed to give this offense new legs. With a great starting receiver corps and a Pro Bowl running back, there should be no stopping the Cowboys...unless the coaching staff stops its team, again.
Jerry Jones finally made a team chemistry decision and cut Pacman Jones today. Maybe he is beginning to understand a bunch of talent randomly thrown together can't win games. Or maybe I'm way too optimistic. And if this story in this link is true, Pacman is Done. Done.
2009 Prediction: These are never easy to call so soon (look at the Dolphins change from last year to this year), but with relatively no changes being made in the coaching staff, expect the same mediocrity of this season. To compound matters, the 2009 schedule is anything from easy. However, Tony Romo will be on a mission of all missions to defy his poor December lore that is mounting sky high.
The Texas Rangers
The Rangers have a 2009 season ahead that should be full of optimism. Last season, for a month or two at least, the city began to recognize that a playoff birth was possible. Not surprisingly, though, that quickly faded and ended in mediocrity. The pitching staff is said to be "improving", so that will be an unknown until the season begins. Without the funds of the Yankees or other richer teams, the Rangers have shied away from big purchases, taking the "Devil Rays Strategy" of building the team from within. The Rangers savior, Josh Hamilton, provides hope. Just hope the pitching staff can provide wins.
2009 Prediction: Expect for the Rangers to continue to build their roster, but don't expect playoffs in 2009. The team will show improvement, so look for 2010 to be "the season" where the Rangers return to postseason play.
The Dallas Desperados
Aren't we funny...get it? Because the season got canceled? How rich. Er, poor.