The Rundown, Volume II

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 29, 2012 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.

If you thought you saw it all in The Rundown last week, you’ve got another thing coming. The news kept on coming for the Mavericks (most of it being unfavorable). Another chapter in the Delonte West saga was written, and new Mavericks came walking through the doors of the American Airlines Center. As the preseason wrapped up and the regular season is approaching, let’s take a look at the week for the Mavericks.

Did THAT Really Happen?

- Delonte West was indefinitely suspended by the team due to conduct detrimental to the team. Despite no additional comments from president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and head coach Rick Carlisle, owner Mark Cuban commented on the matter. “It’ll be my call (whether or not to let West go),” Cuban said. “I’ll make the decision. No decision has been made, but we’re also not in any rush to make a decision. We’ll do what we think is best, but we’re not going to be in a situation like we were with a player last year.” The comparison to last year was an indirect but direct mention of Lamar Odom and the drama that ensued with him over the course of the season last year. With his current level of play and potential distraction to the locker room, West’s time in Dallas appears to be up.

UPDATE: Delonte West was officially waived by the team shortly before the deadline to send in your opening night 15-man roster to the league offices.

- Eddy Curry was claimed off of waivers on Thursday afternoon after being released by the San Antonio Spurs. Curry, 29, the fourth overall pick of the 2001 draft, has career averages of 13.0 points and 5.2 rebounds. He made the most of his opportunity as he started at center for the Mavericks on Friday and had 11 points to go along with seven boards and three blocks in 26 minutes.

UPDATE: With Delonte West being waived, Eddy Curry made the cut and officially joined the team’s 15-man roster. With Chris Kaman being injured, Curry will be the team’s opening night starting center.

- The team announced officially on Saturday that they have signed forward/center Melvin Ely and forward Chris Douglas-Roberts. Ely (6-10, 261) was the 12th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.  He has played for five NBA franchises over his eight-year career, LA Clippers, Charlotte, San Antonio, New Orleans and Denver, and has career averages of 5.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game. His most recent NBA experience was in 2010-11 season where he played 30 games for the Nuggets and averaged 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.2 minutes per game.  In 2012, he played for Brujos de Guayama in Puerto Rico.

Douglas-Roberts (6-7, 210) spent training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers where he averaged 4.0 points in 8.3 minutes in four games.  He was waived on Monday, Oct. 22.  He is a three-year pro and was originally selected by the New Jersey Nets in the second round (40th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft. In total, he has appeared in 155 NBA games (53 starts) for the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks and has averages of 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20.6 minutes. Most recently, the 6-7 forward spent the 2011-12 season playing for Virtus Bologna of the Italian League.

- In the continued game of musical chairs, both Douglas-Roberts and Ely’s stay with the Mavericks were brief. The team announced that both were waived on Sunday morning. The roster move had the roster standing at 16 players.The rights to both players were transferred to the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate for the Mavericks (Thanks for coming).

Box Score Revelations

- Jae Crowder finished up his incredible preseason by finishing fourth amongst rookies with 11.4 points/game, 12th amongst rookies with 4.5 rebounds/game, first amongst rookies with 1.88 steals/game (eighth amongst all players) in 22.2 minutes. He pulled his hamstring in the final minutes of the finale against the Bobcats, but he quickly responded after the game by saying he would be ready to go for the opener on Tuesday. The rookie is a do-everything kind of player for the Mavericks and will continue to get better over time.

- The Mavericks continued to show that they love to run and push the tempo. They had 32 fastbreak points to Charlotte’s 15 in the preseason finale. They outscored their opponents in fastbreak points in seven consecutive games. The only time the Mavericks were outscored on the break in a preseason game this year was at Alba Berlin on 10/6, Alba Berlin outscored the Mavericks 9-7 on the fast break.

- The Mavericks recorded 11 blocked shots in the first half of the preseason finale, while the Bobcats managed just one. Bernard James led the way for Dallas with a preseason-high four rejections in the first half. Shawn Marion and Jae Crowder both had three blocks apiece in the first half. Dallas finished with 13 blocks compared to the Bobcats’ two. The Mavericks’ previous high for blocks in a game this preseason was 10 vs. Houston 10/15.

Three Up

- O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison’s aggression

While the shooting percentages might not be great, both Mayo and Collison ended the preseason on a good note. Mayo nearly pulled out a triple-double performance in the preseason finale. While his shot isn’t falling at a rate he would like, he’s doing things on the floor that make up for that. He’s shown a great knack for getting to the rim and finding an open teammate. His defense was in question last week, but he has shown he’s willing to grow as a defender.

Collison looks to be gaining some momentum as the team heads into the regular season. It was mentioned last week that Collison was still trying to find his way on offense. He has been more aggressive on both ends of the floor, particularly the defensive end of the floor. If you’ve noticed, he’s starting to pick up fullcourt on defense and that has caused him to be a nuisance for the guard who is trying to bring the ball up the floor. Pressuring on defense usually leads to forced turnovers and that will allow Collison to run and lead the break.

It’s definitely a good sign that both players are trending up as the regular season arrives.

- Dahntay Jones’ activity

With the backup point guard situation in flux, it’s possible that Mayo might have his scheduled rests tweaked to where there is an opening at the wing position later in quarters. Dahntay Jones would be a benefactor of that, and he’s shown that he can be a solid and reliable contributor to the team. He has shown that defensive tenacity he is known for. Jones has also shown that he can hit the three-point shot from the corners. The comparisons to DeShawn Stevenson have been mentioned on multiple occasions and it appears that those comparisons could be valid. When he’s on the floor, he will bring more positives than negatives.

- Bernard James’ development

The Mavericks recorded 11 blocked shots in the first half of the preseason finale over the Bobcats, while the Bobcats managed just one. Bernard James led the way for Dallas with a preseason-high four rejections in the first half. He can get off the floor quickly and will definitely do what he can to alter shots at the rim. James matched his preseason high of six points in the first quarter of that game. It feels like James was starting to gain more confidence as the preseason came to a close. With injuries coming to Chris Kaman and Brandan Wright, James saw more minutes and he made the most of them. It has been fun to see James develop between the start of the Las Vegas Summer League to the end of the preseason. While he still remains a project at the center position, it appears he still has the potential to be a rotational player at a later period of time. With Jae Crowder showing his signs of improvement, it appears the Mavericks did very well with their second round picks in this past draft.

Three Down

- Dominique Jones’ playing time

With Delonte West out of the picture, there was a chance for Dominique Jones to play in the preseason finale. He did not log a single second of action. Jones had a total of 20 points, 17 assists and 11 turnovers in 79 minutes this preseason. He shot only 25.8 percent from the floor.

- Health

The injury bug has definitely found its way into the locker room, to say the least. Dirk’s knee issue has been established. Chris Kaman has dealt with a back issue as well as a calf issue. Jae Crowder pulled his hamstring in the preseason finale. Brandan Wright has dealt with a strained quad and a twisted ankle. Roddy Beaubois dealt with a sprained ankle. The optimistic way to look at this is that the Mavericks do have depth at certain positions and have players that can float to different positions, so that will them to survive in the short term with the injuries. They can also hope they are getting these injuries out of the way during games that really don’t matter.

- The backup point guard position

Carlisle was very matter of fact after the preseason finale when it came to breaking down the situation. When I asked Carlisle if he could describe what he saw from the backup point guard position, he said, “I could … if there was anything. Our backup guard position struggled tonight, but we’ve just got to stay at it.” He mentioned Roddy Beaubois was still dealing with issues with his left ankle and that Jared Cunningham was still learning the position and just adapting to playing in the NBA. With those things going on, Dominique Jones didn’t see action. He also wasn’t mentioned when talking about the situation. That’s definitely a troubling message.

Check Your Calendar

- Tuesday marks opening night, and the Mavericks will be in the City of Angels to take on the new-look Los Angeles Lakers. The Mavericks will be the guinea pigs for the rest of the league as they get the first real look at Kobe Bryant with new pieces such as Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Things could get very ugly in the matchup, but everyone needs to remember that no matter what happens, it’s just the first game of the season. The second game comes around quick.

- Wednesday will be the conclusion for the first set of back-to-backs for the Mavericks as they head to Utah to take on the Jazz. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half of a back-to-back and 13-9 in the second half of a back-to-back.

- The home opener will be against the Charlotte Bobcats on 11/3. Yes, the very same Bobcats we all saw in the preseason finale. Yes, the odds are very likely that Charlotte will be as bad as they were in the final game of the preseason. Yes, the Mavericks have never lost a regular season game to the Bobcats. If the Mavericks lose this game, they’re in Barney (TROUBLE).

BG’s Baller of the Week

Baller status has been granted to Rick Carlisle (it doesn’t always have to go to a player). He’s been a coach that has lived off the philosophy of day-to-day improvement. That has been put to the test with constant change to the lineup as injuries have piled up. He literally had a player (Curry) arrive early Friday morning, got him through a shootaround and had him ready to start the game that night. His humor, which was mentioned last week, has still been top notch. When you’re able to throw a mention of sex manuals into interviews, you’re on top of your game. It’s clearly been a challenge for Carlisle to get his team into a spot where they can be ready for the season opener. When you add Delonte West’s situation into the mix, it never seems like there’s a dull moment for the team. Through it all, Carlisle has remained focused and determined to make sure he does everything he can to put his team in a spot where they can succeed. It was an incredibly smart decision to bring Carlisle back during the offseason.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.