Mavs must utilize all their options

Dallas has a deep bench and plenty of possibilties. How the Mavs use them will be crucial.

Updated: October 22, 2003, 11:10 AM ET
By Marc Stein |
Editor's note: Here's a glimpse of the good -- and the bad -- that could happen to the 2003-04 Dallas Mavericks.

Eduardo Najera
Eduardo Najera is a key component of the Dallas bench.
Best Case Scenario
Three things need to happen for the Mavericks to keep their top-four slot in the West and perhaps even sneak past San Antonio for the Midwest Division title.

1. Develop a passing game to go with the run. Strange as it sounds, given the Mavericks' standing last season as the league's most potent offense, they actually regressed in the passing department since trading away Nick Van Exel. That's one of the main reasons Don Nelson wanted Antoine Walker. It's not just Nelson's long-standing obsession with the notion of a point forward. It's because Dirk Nowitzki, whose passing skills are still in the developmental stage, was this team's second-best passer until Walker arrived. "That's why Nash has the ball all the time," Nelson said. If Walker plays the way Dallas envisions, now they have someone else besides Nash to make plays.

Marc Stein | email

ESPN Senior Writer
• Senior NBA writer for
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
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