Can these Mavs sling it like title team?

DALLAS -- No team assisted more baskets, on average, last season than the Dallas Mavericks, and only the Houston Rockets averaged as many per game (23.8).

By the end of the NBA Finals, the Mavs were being hailed as one of the great selfless, team-oriented champions in recent memory.

"We were the best ball movement team in the NBA last year," coach Rick Carlisle said. "We had guys that moved it quickly, and we’re going to have to take the same approach. The new guys are getting a feel for that. We drill it, we talk about it. That’s who we’re going to be, that's our goal, because it was very effective for us last year."

Could Dallas become an even better passing team? Forward Lamar Odom is a terrific passer, averaging 4.0 assists per game over his career. Shooting guard Vince Carter, who likely will start alongside Jason Kidd, has averaged as many as 5.1 assists in his career and has averaged 4.0 overall. Dirk Nowitzki called Odom one of the best passing big men in the game, and Carter an underrated passer.

The loss of J.J. Barea could reduce assists from the backup point guard, but not by much if Delonte West lives up to his 3.6 assists over his career.

They key for the Mavs, though, isn't necessarily assists, but rather ball movement. They were kings at whipping it around and finding the open man. That crisp, selfless movement will determine if these Mavs can become as good a passing team as the one that took the title.