DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks' eight preseason games are history and now they have to turn their attention to the regular season and their dreams of returning to the playoffs.
So what exactly did the Mavs learn about themselves during their 4-4 preseason that they didn't already know?
"I think we’ve got potential,'' superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "I think we need (backup center Brandan) Wright back.
"We need his athleticism, his ability to roll (to the basket), get around the basket and finish high above the rim. So we need him back.''
Wright has been out since suffering a small, non-displaced fracture of his left shoulder during an Oct. 8 practice session.
The Mavs also are without point guards Devin Harris (toe) and rookie Shane Larkin (ankle), forcing them to rely on Israel rookie Gal Mekel for backup assistance behind Jose Calderon.
"We need some of our backup point guards back, so I’m not sure how far Shane and Devin are away, but I think once everybody’s healthy we’ve got a decent deep team,'' Nowitzki said. "We’ve got some veterans, we’ve got some young guys.
"They've just got to play hard, keep competing and do it collectively on the defensive end. I think offensively we’ve got a lot of weapons, we've got some shooters, we’re going to be fine, but defensively we’ve got to all put it on the string together.''
Harris and Larkin are both slated to miss Wednesday's season opener against the Atlanta Hawks after undergoing offseason surgery, and there is no timetable for their return. Wright also is out indefnitely.
-- Dwain Price
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