Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy
Don’t adjust your interwebs, I’m temporarily filling in for Travis Wimberly with the weekly Thermodynamics. He’ll be back in the mix next week.
It proved to be a light week for the Mavericks as they popped back into town for a game against the lowly Detroit Pistons, then went out on the road to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. That being said, the Mavericks are not immune to having hot and cold moments (maybe more on one side than the other). There’s never a dull moment for the Mavericks, so let’s dig in and see what is and isn’t working under the hood for the Mavericks.
Week 6 (Pistons, @Clippers)
1) Shawn Marion
It’s apparent now that Shawn Marion is back. After having to miss some time due to a sprained MCL, Marion is back to his old ways. Whether it’s offense, defense, rebounding, saying “That’s what’s up,” Marion is doing everything for the Mavericks. Over his last four games, Marion is averaging 14.0 points on 52.3 percent shooting and pulling down 6.3 rebounds. As the Mavericks figure out what they’re currently doing with an eye for the future, it should be noted that Marion has a player option on the final year of his deal next season. It’s hard to imagine him testing the free agent market with that security for next season. Marion is an extremely valuable asset for the Mavericks, as long as his health remains in tact.
2) Derek Fisher
Who would have thought that Derek Fisher would step right into the FIRE section? Well, it might be a different story if Travis was writing, but this is what you get with me. He had a rough start in the game against Detroit, but he found his groove as he stepped back into the STAPLES Center to take on the Clippers. He found a groove in the third quarter against the Clippers as he went 4-of-5 from the field (3-of-4 from 3-point range) for 11 points. At one point, he was the leading scorer for Dallas in the game in Los Angeles. That might be more of an indictment on the Mavericks, but it’s still good to see that Fisher totally won’t be lost at sea when he’s on the floor. Fisher finished the game against the Clippers with 15 points and was +2. In a game where they lost by 22 points, a +2 will stand out. It should be noted that Troy Murphy’s season-high for the Mavericks was 12 points. It looks like the Mavericks made the right move in letting Murphy go in favor of Fisher. From out on the street to starting point guard, that is Derek Fisher. To his credit, he’s starting to get it going.
3) Dirk Nowitzki’s workload
Dirk has begun to travel with the team this week. To top it off, he actually began participating in basketball activities. Dirk didn’t participate in any practices with the team, but he did get out on the floor and started to get shots up. He is hopeful to start running on the court within the next week. Dirk told ESPN during the broadcast of the game against the Clippers that he’s hopeful to be back and playing “within a few weeks.” It doesn’t sound great to hear that Dirk is still a few weeks away, but the big picture is still first and foremost for the Mavericks. They need him 100 percent healthy for this year and the future. It doesn’t make any sense to try to rush him back just to get him out there. Dirk is able to travel with the team, increase his workload and avoid swelling in his knee. The light at the end of the tunnel is now getting bigger. Thankfully for the Mavericks, it doesn’t appear that the light is a train.
1) Ball Control
Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Mavericks. Going back to the exhibition games in Europe, turnovers have come in waves for the Mavericks. There are moments where Dallas simply looses focus and that leads to them getting incredibly careless with the ball. Another issue with the turnovers is the fact that it’s not a specific player that is leading the charge. Unfortunately, it is a team-wide issue. What makes the issue worse is that they’re live ball turnovers, which forces the Mavericks into a bind with their transition defense. It all works together for them. If one thing is off, it will ruin everything else. With the current makeup of the roster, Dallas can’t afford to have self-inflicted mistakes. The team is in a state where any kind of error totally gets them off the rails. If they can each do a little bit better in terms of protecting the ball, that will go a long way towards fixing other issues for the team.
While Dirk is out, the Mavericks have not established an identity for themselves on the offensive end of the floor. They have pieces that can dominate over periods of time such as Chris Kaman in the post, Elton Brand in the mid-post or O.J. Mayo from the perimeter. Heck, Vince Carter can play inside and outside if you give him the chance. The Mavericks have options, but they don’t really rely on any of them on a consistent basis. The team needs to figure out which one of those options fits best as a primary option and figure out if it has sustainability. Things will obviously change when Dirk returns, but having a solid secondary option established would be beneficial for the team in the long run.
3) The Roddy Beaubois Era
Roddy received a DNP-CD in the game against the Pistons. He did play in the game against the Clippers, but it was when the game was well out of hand. Many wondered about the acquisition of Derek Fisher and what it actually meant. On the surface, it appears that the Mavericks are unhappy with Darren Collison. That is the case, but the move to acquire Fisher signals more towards general disappointment over Dominique Jones and particularly Roddy Beaubois. Collison’s approach on the floor deserves an honorable mention in ICE, but we’ll stick with Roddy.
Mark Cuban noted a few weeks ago that he doesn’t feel that Roddy feels totally comfortable in terms of health. During that same time, Carlisle noted that Roddy is still dealing with bumps and bruises with nagging injuries. It appears that Roddy is a player that struggles playing in pain. Perception on the young guard has definitely changed and time is starting to run out for him. As the Mavericks use this year to answer questions for the future, the ground Roddy is standing on is currently made of thin ice.
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.