Without Tyson Chandler in the paint, the Dallas Mavericks' defense has been non-existent and the veteran team has been killed in transition by the extremely athletic Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets.
Chandler, now a New York Knick after Dallas refused to offer him a long-term contract, told the New York Post that he isn't surprised by his old team's struggles:
"Honestly, I kind of saw it coming because when you put a team in a situation where you say, ‘You’re the defending champions, but we’re not necessarily trying to repeat,’ and when I say that, I’m not saying that they don’t have the pieces there, I obviously think very highly of those guys, but I say that because they offered everybody one-year deals," Chandler said.
"So they knew nobody was going to necessarily accept that. ... And when you have veteran guys in the locker room, the type of guys they got, in this time of their career, it’s tough to face that."
In an effort to save cap space for the summer of 2012, the Mavericks only offered one-year contracts to the four key free agents (Chandler, Caron Butler, JJ Barea and DeShawn Stevenson) from last season's championship team.
With their departures, Dallas' lack of athleticism has been exposed, especially after adding more thirty-something veterans (Lamar Odom, Vince Carter) to replace them.
Of course, the season is still fresh, and Dallas does have some young players at the end of their bench -- Sean Williams, Ian Mahinmi, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones -- who could conceivably help the Mavericks run with some of the NBA's younger teams.