Is this the year that the wheels finally fall off for Dallas?
Rick Carlisle has been one of the NBA's most quietly underrated coaches for years: somehow, despite the losses of key players, the failure to arrive of potential key players, and the fact that he's consistently presented with rosters whose composition can politely be described as "eccentric," he continues, year after year, to make things work. A large part of this success, of course, is the presence of Dirk Nowitzki, a historically great talent who did — and continues to do — things unprecedented for a power forward. Every year, though, Nowitzki gets older, and commentators wonder if this is the year that Carlisle's magic touch will prove insufficient to keep the Mavs in the playoffs. Our bet is that in 2016/'17, that time will finally come — but then, Carlisle has been proving us, and everyone else, wrong for years.