Mark Cuban may be claiming that the Dallas Mavericks are in a better position without Deron Williams, but the computers over at ESPN.com aren't buying it.
In their latest statistical projections for the 2012-2013 season, the site has Dallas finishing the year in seventh place with a 46-36 record, exactly the same spot they were in at the end of last season. Their winning percentages -- 56% in 2013, 54% in 2012 -- are nearly identical as well, despite a heavy roster turnover at nearly every position.
The only returning starters are Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, as the team continued their wholesale purge of the 2011-2012 champions, bringing in Chris Kaman, OJ Mayo and Darren Collison while jettisoning Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Erick Dampier.
They are younger and more athletic than they were last season, but if they can't move out of the bottom of the playoff picture, they are facing another first-round date against either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the new-look LA Lakers, which could make for another short post-season stint in 2013.