DALLAS – The beginning of a new season is supposed to give all NBA teams a clean slate in the record and a clean bill of health in the health department.
For the Dallas Mavericks, that will not be the case when they tip off the season in three weeks. As their big offseason acquisitions over the last two seasons—Chandler Parsons and Wesley Matthews—are both recovering from major surgeries this offseason.
With the Mavericks looking to win their first playoff series since winning it all in 2011, this is exactly how they did not want to start the 2015-16 season.
Parsons, who averaged 15.7 points per game in his first season with the Mavs last season, has not been fully cleared to participate in training camp but remains optimistic that he will be able to play in the Mavs’ Oct. 28 season opener against the Phoenix Suns.
“My hope is to come back and be ready for the Suns game, and if that’s playing no preseason games or playing in one or five, then that’s what I will do,” Parsons said at the Mavericks media day session. “I obviously got to be smart about it, and I got to take care of myself. There is no rush, but obviously I’m eager, and I’m hungry to get back out there I want to play as many games as possible and not miss any time.”
Another incentive for Parsons to come back sooner rather than later is because he is highly thought of as the next Mavericks franchise leader with Dirk Nowitzki in the twilight of his career, and the healthier Parsons is, the sooner he can take over the reins.
While Parsons is recovering from a “minor hybrid” microfracture operation, Matthews, the Mavs’ $70 million free-agent addition, is recovering from a torn left Achilles’ tendon suffered in a March game against the Mavs while Matthews played for the Portland Trailblazers.
Despite Matthews making big strides through his offseason rehab sessions, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle views the chances of us seeing the newly acquired swingman on opening night as slim to none.
When told of the news at media day, Matthews simply stuck to his resolve.
“I’m trying to be ready by opening day,” Matthews said. “Whether I can play in it or not, I can’t really control that. But my goal is to be ready and available opening day.”
For a team which has been steadily on the decline since winning the NBA championship in 2011, starting the season with forty percent of their starting rotation still recovering from surgery is the last way they wanted to start the season.
Sadly, for the Mavericks, a big part of their overall success and failures for the next couple of seasons, and this season in particular, rest on the freshly surgically repaired, unproven knees and Achilles of Parsons and Matthews. That leaves this season and their future under a lot of doubt.
The Mavs need both Parsons and Matthews to return and get back to top form rather quickly and contribute on both ends of the court, with one of them hopefully emerging as the go-to man down the stretch if they want to have a successful season. If not, realistically, Dallas is looking at another one-and-done playoff appearance or possibly not making the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.