Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 15, 2011 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

Zach Lowe, SI’s The Point Forward: “To call this Dirk Nowitzki’s ”last ride” is obviously dramatic, but the future of this Mavericks team is uncertain. Jason Kidd is 38 and will be a free agent after next season along with Jason Terry. Tyson Chandler, the anchor of Dallas’ semi-revived defense, is a free agent after this season and plays the same position as Brendan Haywood, to whom Dallas has already committed more than $50 million. Caron Butler will be a free agent, Roddy Beaubois’ development has hit a snag, Shawn Marion is declining and Corey Brewer is at the edge of Rick Carlisle’s rotation. In other words: This team badly needs a playoff run now, especially after going out in the first round in three of the last four seasons.”

Jeff Caplan, ESPN Dallas: “The fact is that Nowitzki, 33, is one of the game’s premier playoff performers — one of four players in history to average 25 points and 10 rebounds — yet he is arguably the most underappreciated player in the game because his teams have failed to convert marvelous regular seasons into postseason parades. ‘I can’t really change peoples’ opinions. I’ll try to win it for me and to kind of top it off with the career that I’ve had. That’s why I’m trying to win it,’ Nowitzki said.’I'm not trying to win to shut anybody up. I’m trying to win for myself and this franchise, which really deserves it; for Cuban, who’s been amazing since he bought it, and for all my teammates. And if I don’t, it just wasn’t meant to be. The only thing that I can tell myself is that I left it all out there. Every summer I tried to get better. I play hurt. I play sick. I try to be out there for my teammates and for my team and ultimately win it all.’”

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: “A veteran NBA advanced scout gave us his breakdown of the two teams, and these are teams that he swears bear a striking resemblance to one another in that they have perimeter big men as their offensive anchors and crafty veteran point guards running the show. ‘The Mavericks definitely will play up and down more than any of Rick Carlisle’s teams in Indiana and even Detroit did in the past,’ he said. ‘Rick has definitely loosened the reigns since then. He’s still a guy that has a lot of sets and runs a lot of things. He lets [Jason] Kidd call his own plays and really lets them go. They run a lot more stuff in early offense. His Indiana teams he would slow them down and call plays, but not with this team. He really does let Kidd do his thing. And with [J.J.] Barea out there with Kidd, you have two ball handlers in the game, if the ball comes out to Barea, they’ll get into their transition game just as easily.’”

Dave, Blazersedge: “[Shawn] Marion is as efficient in this year’s offense as he’s ever been in his career.  At 10.4 attempts per game he’s just not gotten the opportunities he used to.  His three-point shot, never a thing of beauty but formerly deadly, has gone to pot.  He’s still great on the break but he doesn’t have the horses to run with him.  He brings unique athleticism to Dallas’ attack but it’s sometimes wasted.  Fortunately he’s reinvented himself by finding seams and looking great on his shorter jump shots.  If there’s a breakout possibility for the Mavs in this series it’s Marion.  And make no mistake, Marion could potentially send the Blazers packing.  He won’t win the series by himself but he could deliver the knockout punch while Nowitzki holds the Blazers’ arms behind their backs.  Portland will need to keep Marion outside, playing him for the drive first.  Despite his explosive potential the Blazers might also be content with keeping the ball in his hands as he’s not an avid passer and his offense tends to suffer when he stalls and dribbles.  They’ll need to watch him on the offensive glass.  Best guess:  the Blazers are fully aware of Marion but aren’t going to be afraid of him until he proves he can hurt them.”

Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas: “Carlisle wouldn’t commit to continuing to use DeShawn Stevenson as the starting shooting guard, as was the case for most of the season while Beaubois slowly recovered from a broken foot and again in the regular-season finale. But it’s clear from listening to Carlisle and the team’s key veterans that it’s Stevenson’s job for the playoffs, while Beaubois will perhaps be a bit player off the bench. ‘Things change,’ Carlisle said. ‘And you’ve got to be judged by performance. I think the last time I said, ‘I’m sticking with this kid’ was over a week ago. Some things have changed in that period of time. That’s just the way it is.’ Actually, nothing changed for Roddy B. during that period of time. That’s the problem…it’s hard to argue that the Mavs’ chances of winning in the playoffs aren’t much better with Stevenson as a starter. ‘He’s so solid, man — just defensive presence, understands our defensive scheme, being able to knock down open shots, he’s not going to get out of his box, he’s going to make the right pass, just that person on the court that’s just solid,’ center Tyson Chandler said. ‘We need more that.’ The Mavs don’t have to wonder whether Stevenson, a 6-foot-5, 232-pounder who hit half his 3-point attempts in the first two months of the season, can fit in the starting five. They have ample evidence: Dallas is 38-16 with Stevenson as a starter this season, including a 36-9 mark when Dirk Nowitzki is healthy.”

Jason Quick, The Oregonian: “Miller, on the other hand, leads more by example than with words. He often stays after practices to work his outside shot, setting up a mechanical ball return machine by himself. And this season he has become the most vocal of all the Blazers on the court, barking out signals and initiating huddles, during which he is animated and direct. [He] figures to make [his] impact felt throughout these playoffs. Miller, for one, knows the psychology of a playoff series more than anyone. He has been to the playoffs six times, never advancing, despite having won Game 1 four times. ‘You can forget that the series gets tougher and tougher with each game,’ Miller said ‘You like to win that first game to get momentum, but it becomes even tougher then to protect homecourt.’”

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk: “Portland is a very deep team and Terry coming off the bench will need to provide points to the second unit of the Mavs to make sure Portland does not get on runs while some of the starters catch their breath. Also, Jason Kidd has had some tough games against Portland this season, twice going scoreless, and Dallas needs points from the backcourt. If Kidd is off again, Terry will have to step up on offense.”

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: “The Mavericks are a little too one-trick-pony for my tastes — and what if Dirk Nowitzki has some cold stretches? Portland is so deep and scary after acquiring Gerald Wallace, and LaMarcus Aldridge could cancel out Dirk. But the Blazers were going to be too trendy a pick … and the Mavs can’t keep losing in the first round, right?”

  • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

    I've always wondered what the correlation was between Kidd scoring and the Mavs winning. Even if he only hits a shot or two a game, I feel like we have a better chance of winning.

    • Dr. Clarkus

      If 09-10, 43% from 3 Kidd can show up for the Mavs in the playoffs, then have a serious shot of making a deep run.

  • Dr. Clarkus

    Maybe my interpretation of the pace statistic is wrong, but doesn't it basically state of “up-tempo” a team plays? The blazers are last in the league in pace yet every pundit states how much more up tempo the Blazers will played compared to the Mavs.