Needless to say, there’s a lot of free time on my hands. I like to think when I have a lot of free time. I like to think when I do not have a lot of free time. With that in mind, I’ve sat and wondered about various subjects revolving around the Mavs. I went ahead and got my fingers working on the keyboard and came up with questions and answers about the Mavs. Here are 10 of the questions and answers now. I will share the other 10 later this week.
1. Who is the most likely free agent on the Mavs to come back?
To me, it seems like Brandan Wright is the most likely to come back. He really showed some improvement over the later part of the season. He actually played well WITH Dirk, but I still think there’s limited upside there. Dallas has history on their side with knowing what the market can dictate. They saw what happened with Brandon Bass with the old CBA and they saw what happened with Ian Mahinmi in the new CBA.
I understand Mark Cuban’s logic of not having a problem seeing two of his guys leaving after being projects, but you would eventually like to see one or two of those guys stick and have their potential realized on your own terms.
2. What position should the Mavs go for in the draft?
I don’t think they should necessarily target a specific position in the draft. They just need to find the best player available. Look, Dallas has a lot of holes to fill in their roster. Their .500 record suggests they were very mediocre. That means they need to find a plethora of players to help fix what went wrong this season.
It may be a weak draft, but there’s still a possibility of finding a piece that can help for the future.
3. Is this summer the time to really judge whether Mark Cuban was right to dismantle the 2011 team?
To a certain extent, the results of this summer will be able to help cast judgment on if Cuban did the right thing or not. Last summer was the first time they had cap space to work with. They felt like they had a shot for Deron Williams and Brooklyn made the move to acquire Joe Johnson and that, with the extra money, put Dallas in second place in a two-team race.
There are multiple “big fish” to go after this summer, so Dallas’ chances have improved. There are the same issues in their way as there were last summer with Deron, so we’ll see if they’re able to find a new approach that works.
Either way, they can’t afford to let this summer lead to another quasi-transitional year. Dirk’s time is starting to fade and Dallas needs to make the most of it.
4. If Chris Paul or Dwight Howard was assured of coming to Dallas but it was only one, who would you take?
Give me Chris Paul. Yes, both of them can be obnoxious, but Paul does it with the intention of trying to make his team better. Howard does it because he waffles all of the time and always seems unhappy. Howard is going to be a beast on the defensive end of the floor and he’ll do a lot to fix the rebounding issues, but Paul is going to be able to be a strong defender AND make his teammates better.
There is only ONE red flag that comes with Paul, but I’m not even hesitating about it if I’m Dallas and he says he’ll come and play for you.
5. How weird was this season?
Extremely. Thinking about it, seeing guys like Eddy Curry, Troy Murphy, Mike James and Derek Fish make actual pit stops in Dallas is bizarre in just about every way imaginable. After it seemed like Dominique Jones was never going to be sent off into exile, he finally was. Seriously, the timing of everything was just weird. There were so many new faces on the roster and Dirk wasn’t around for the first quarter-plus of the season. It was a radical makeover.
For as long as you could remember, Dallas seemed like a team that was able to execute down the stretch and that simply wasn’t the case at all during the season. Everything taken into account, it was truly a weird year.
6. If you could add one thing to each of last year’s rookies, what would you add?
Jared Cunningham – health. That’s just obvious. You can look at your hand and he played fewer minutes for the Mavs this season than you have fingers. This pick could easily turn to be a massive bust, but those tend to happen in the later portions of the draft.
Bernard James – More of an offensive repertoire. He is still incredibly raw on offense. You could throw him a mean alley oop off the screen and roll, but the point guards had a terrible time trying to handle that concept this year. He has a solid foundation as a defender, but he needs more in terms of post moves.
Jae Crowder – This is a tough call. He could use a little bit of everything because he’s shown promise as a rotation guy. If it’s limited to one thing, I’ll say defensive disposition. If he has the ability to guard shooting guards and small forwards with his size, he’ll find his way onto any pro team for a long, long time. There’s more that he can do, but that’s a great starting point for him. He showed he has the ability but, he just needs to continue to harness and improve it.
7. Would starting Vince Carter be a good thing?
There’s an inkling that you could maybe really pass on getting a shooting guard this summer, focus the funds on a point guard, center, fill out the bench and have Vince Carter as your starting shooting guard. It’s hard to argue that his numbers were solid this year, but you’re probably getting back into Vince of 2011-12 if you have him as your starting two. By that, I mean that you’re asking him to do too much. He probably did too much this year but he was able to sustain it. It’s hard to ask him to take on a larger responsibility and do it for at least 28-30 minutes every night.
8. Would sneaking into the playoffs been a good thing?
I still will say the answer is yes. Tanking is the only real option if they weren’t going to make the playoffs. There is no way that would have been possible if Dirk is coming back and wants to play. You can’t tell him to sit out the remainder of the year. That’s just foolish. So, if that’s the case, they weren’t going to be bad enough to tank.
Yes, they probably would have flamed out in bad fashion in the first round. The way I look at it, if I have a chance to watch Dirk Nowitzki play, I’m going to opt in for that. He might have been frustrated or angry with how things went in the playoffs, but you also could have seen flashes of greatness like he had against Chicago in their signature win of the season. I’m not turning down watching a healthy Dirk play.
9. Would Shawn Marion really opt out of his deal and come back to Dallas with a multi-year deal?
This is something I covered two weeks ago. The more I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. It makes sense because he could easily double his money and get security with a three-year deal if he wanted to. He’s certainly betting on himself if he doesn’t opt out of his deal and plans to test to market in 2014. The obvious game is having age rapidly catch up to him and he deals with an injury-riddled season. His market won’t be nearly as good and he might be forced to sign a one-year deal.
It’s a gamble either way, but it might actually be a win-win situation for both parties.
10. What’s the biggest thing the playoffs have taught me?
Dallas has a LOT of work to do this summer. Teams like to try to follow trends for what worked for teams that went far into the playoffs, hence free agents of those teams being poached away. If Golden State makes an incredible run, you could see a run of teams trying to evolve more into a small ball mentality. If Memphis is able to make a run, you could see teams trying to get greedy and look for more than one post presence.
Either way, the teams still playing have a lot of things going for them. Dallas definitely doesn’t have a ton in terms of actual assets right now. They have some serious work to do before they can get back to making a serious run in the playoffs.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.