The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 87, Bulls 94

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 20, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

End of Road

Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  • The final Maverick Summer League game in Las Vegas happened to be the first time I was able to attend a Maverick Summer League game live. The differences in what you see live versus television are distinct. Media sit along the baseline, which is a very different viewing location that what I normally see, which is the sideline view from my couch. The usual things I tend to see during a game, spacing, shot selection, rotations, are much harder to see from the media location. But, given the smaller gym and crowd size, it’s possible to hear and see a number of details a television broadcast would not pick up on. Read more of this article »

The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 76, Warriors 79

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 19, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

WindingRoad

Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  • With 7:03 left in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks held a 70-56 lead. The Warriors proceeded to go on a 23-6 run to close out the game, including a game winning basket with just under 10 seconds left. Dallas played a controlled game from the opening tip, and slowly built up a solid lead, despite the loss of Jae Crowder and D.J. Stephens to injuries. However, the Mavericks got complacent and sloppy as the game wound down, committing five turnovers while taking rushed shots. Both Gal Mekel and Ricky Ledo played great games up until the 7:03 mark in the 4th; the combo was responsible for four of the five Dallas turnovers and shot 1-for-7 down the stretch.
  • Forward Jackie Carmichael posted a fantastic line of 12 points, seven rebounds, and seven blocks, many of which were right at the rim. Unfortunately, Kent Bazemore dunked over Carmichael in what may well be the dunk of summer league. It also drastically changed the momentum in favor of the Warriors. After five games, I hope a general manager gives Carmichael a shot. He plays very hard and his defensive timing is really impressive. Each game of summer league he’s shown a different aspect to his game; last night it was rebounding and hustle, tonight it was defensive timing. He also has a great little “show-and-go” post move he uses to create just a little bit of space needed in order to get a shot off.
  • The poor play down the stretch for both Ledo and Mekel should not discount their first three quarter’s worth of contributions. There will be questions about whether or not Mekel has the speed to play point in the NBA, but I very much enjoy how he uses his solid ball handling to probe defenses to see what they’re willing to give up. Because he’s so willing to pass, defenses seem shocked when he puts up a 10 foot floater; more often than not, defenders don’t even jump to try to block it. I’d like to see him keep his pivot foot down once he’s picked up his dribble (he’s been called for a large number of travels in Summer League) but offensively his guidance generally keeps the Dallas offense flowing. Ricky Ledo (12 points, six rebounds) has a great deal to learn about basketball, but there are signs he could be a very good all around player. While his offense is what gets everyone talking (his jump shot, when he takes it, has similarities to that of Kevin Durant), his rebounding effort is outstanding. He’s listed as a shooting guard, but with the NBA trending ever smaller, I assume he’ll get opportunities to play small forward as well. Though he’s had lapses, his hustle on defense will eventually pay off as he learns schemes and team defense concepts. At the moment, the future is bright for both Mekel and Ledo.

Be sure to check out TMG’s Bryan Gutierrez as he contributes to ESPN Dallas during LSVL.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog. 

 

The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 95, Clippers 89

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 18, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Rocket

Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  • Despite having a clear set of goals when watching these games, it’s very easy to get caught up in whether or not the team is winning. Summer League is about different things for different players and it’s about growth and learning over wins and losses. For a “veteran” like Jae Crowder, it’s about improving his offensive consistency and being the team’s defensive leader. For a first year player like Mekel or undrafted rookie Jackie Carmichael, it’s about figuring out what you can and can’t do at the next level. As one plays basketball, the main difference between one level and the next is speed. Keeping in mind that athleticism falls under that banner, it’s incredible how fast things happen in a Summer League game, let alone a NBA game. How players learn and adjust, even over a short period of games like Summer League, is nearly as important as determining whether or not they have NBA translatable skills. Though the team is 2-2 after four games, there have been improvements for nearly the entire roster. That matters and it’s been fun to cover. Read more of this article »

The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 75, D-League Select 82

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 17, 2013 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  • Anyone who has ever played a game of pick up basketball with strangers knows that the game often rests in the hands of whoever is doing the majority of the ball handling. A good ball handler with court vision tends to lead his or her team to a victory, mainly because having the instinct to see a play as it’s developing is far too rare a skill. The first quarter of the game against the D-League select team saw Dallas hang 26 points on their opponents, mainly due to the court vision of Gal Mekel, who dished seven of his team high nine assists in the period while also scoring six points. After his substitution toward the end of the first quarter, Dallas lost nearly all offensive momentum and never really regained it.  Read more of this article »

The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 80, Bobcats 86

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 14, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

experience

Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  • If there was ever any question as to why unproven big men often go high in the NBA draft, the Mavericks-Bobcats game was brief refresher. Cody Zeller (21 points, 13 rebounds), widely regarded as skilled but with serious questions about how his athleticism would translate, punished Dallas from the opening tip. With Maverick center Bernard James missing the game with an undisclosed illness, the various unheralded big men on the Maverick roster were left to try to slow the number four over all draft pick. Interestingly enough, the smaller, quicker Jae Crowder was the only Maverick with any really success slowing Zeller down. It’s unclear what, if anything, the various Dallas Summer League big men would bring to an NBA roster. N’Diaye plays hard but seems unsure of himself, Dewayne Dedmon looks out his element (I’m not sure he has an element), and Christian Watford seems undersized and the release on his jumper is very slow. Jackie Carmichael showed a bit with his ability to finish around the rim, but still looked completely out-matched by the more talented Charlotte big men. Read more of this article »

The Difference, Summer League Edition: Mavericks 76, Kings 73

Posted by Kirk Henderson on July 13, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Beginning

Box Score — Play-by-Play

The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin. Summer League is less about wins and losses and more about trying to determine what players can contribute on the NBA level.

  •  After a season of watching the point guard carousel in Dallas, it was a bit shocking to see Gal Mekel (14 points, four assists) take such clear control of the Dallas offense. His passing was too nonchalant early; Sacramento tipped a number of passes in the first two quarters of play. The second half saw Mekel adjust accordingly, he penetrated a little deeper into the lane before dishing and eased up on a bit of the flash he showed in the first half. He kept his dribble alive and forced the defense to commit to his penetration, freeing up his teammates for easy looks. Though his assist total was rather meager, he made the right pass repeatedly and many times the recipient was either unable to finish the play or not ready to make the catch. Mekel also hit two fantastic looking floaters, which is a shot he’ll have to make with the large and athletic defenders waiting in the NBA.
  • Second year players Jae Crowder (16 points, eight rebounds) and Bernard James (nine rebounds) had unremarkable game one outings in Vegas. Granted, each gets judged more harshly than the remainder of the roster, if only because they’ve had a season of NBA experience under their belts. Crowder had a nice game statistically and played good defense, helping force Kings rookie Ben MacLemore into an atrocious 4 of 23 shooting night. But he also took six three pointers, all of them from above the break, where he made only one.  In the 2012-2013 season, Crowder shot 28% from this area of the floor. Some improvement would be welcome, otherwise he may want to consider sticking to the corner where he shot 23 of 45 for 51% last season. Bernard James will continue to be an asset to Dallas simply because of his effort. Though he sometimes has trouble finishing around the rim, he has great hands around the rim. He challenges shots very well and uses his strength to hold his ground in post ups. One would like to see him score more against the King’s Summer League roster, but considering what he’ll be asked to do in the NBA, this was a decent first game.
  • The biggest surprise of the evening had to be second round rookie acquisition Ricky Ledo (nine points). After a relatively quiet first three quarters Ledo arguably lead the comeback against Sacramento in the fourth, hitting a tough step back jumper, a baseline catch-and-shoot, and finding red-hot Josh Akognon for a three pointer. His defense on MacLemore was also enjoyable to watch as well. He obviously has a great deal to learn about basketball on both ends, but talent paired with effort could be the start of something special.

Be sure to check out TMG’s Bryan Gutierrez as he contributes to ESPN Dallas during LSVL.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog. 

 

Lotto Opportunities

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 21, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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The NBA Draft lottery is tonight. The Mavs are certainly in a position of relatively unfamiliarity as they will be a participant in the lottery. The ping pong balls could alter the path the Mavs take this offseason in a dramatic way. Though it’s unlikely that they’ll find their name being announced last, giving them the No. 1 overall pick, the lottery represents the official start of the offseason. Dallas will have more information than they had the previous day and be able to really chart a path to their offseason, starting with a draft pick. On top of that, it’s commission David Stern’s last lottery. Insert your emotional response here.

For those who don’t know, Donnie Nelson will represent the team at the drawing. Assistant general manager Keith Grant will be with Nelson in New York.

With all of this in mind, a very knowledgeable man has stepped up to the plate and delivered a very thorough recap of the Mavs’ lottery past, giving you a look back as you prepare for the next chapter. That man is Mark Followill. If you have no clue who he is, what’s wrong with you? Followill is the television play-by-play voice of your Mavs. He’s been chopping it up, talking about the Mavs and other sports in the metroplex since the mid-90′s, so he’s more than just another guy when it comes to this bit of information.

With that in mind, enjoy the trip down memory lane. Enjoy reading this while listening to Followill’s golden tones in your ear, or your own.

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Looking Back in Anger

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 29, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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After a week of recharging the battery, it’s back to work. It’s certainly different not covering a team during the playoffs. Even if the Mavs snuck in as the 8th seed in the West, a direct path to another 4-0 sweep would still have them playing around this time.

Before tackling the challenges of what to do this summer and going forward, it’s worth looking back and getting a little flustered when looking back at the games that slipped away from the Mavs. There are 10 games that really could’ve changed the course for Dallas. If they win just five of the 10, they likely find themselves in the playoffs.

Let’s look back, and get weird.

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The Rundown, Volume XX

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 22, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

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The Rundown is back. Every Monday during the regular season (unless there’s a better feature to run with), The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavs, 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.

The end is here. The 2012-13 season for the Dallas Mavericks is officially over. There is some solace that the Mavs were able to finish the season with a record of 41-41. They became the 13th team in NBA history to be 10 games below .500 in a season and finish at .500 or better. The most recent team to achieve that feat before the Mavs was 2010-11 Philadelphia 76ers. The last Western Conference team was 1980-81 Portland Trail Blazers.

That’s a great accomplishment for a team that looked dead in the water back in December and January. That being said, there’s a lot of work to be done this summer for the Mavs if they want to get back to where they were just two years ago. They don’t need to be the number one overall seed in the Western Conference, but they need to get into a spot where they’re not having to scratch and claw just to have a chance to make the playoffs. There will be plenty of time to dissect what the Mavs can do this summer to fix what is ailing them. For now, let’s just look at what exactly happened this season.

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Thermodynamics: The 2012-2013 Season

Posted by Travis Wimberly on April 21, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Black hole

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

And with that, the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks will ride off into the sunset.

Sixteen NBA teams will play on, but the Mavs’ season is over. It wasn’t exactly a ceremonious ending, but it could have been worse. The Mavs closed out the year exactly at .500 (41-41), tallying their final win ever against the New Orleans Hornets Pelicans.  In the process, they became the first Western Conference team in over three decades to finish at .500 or better after being 10-plus games below that mark at any point during the season. That says something (although I’m not sure exactly what).

In honor of the season’s end and the final 2012-2013 installment of Thermodynamics, this week’s column will be a little different. Instead of the usual “weekly recap” approach, this one will address the three hottest and coldest performances for the entire season. For each item on the list, I’ll include one of the first things I wrote about that player from early in the year, and we can see how those initial impressions line up with the player’s season-long outlook.

Off we go…

FIRE

1) Brandan Wright

“Last season [2011-2012], Brandan Wright was a very serviceable rotation-caliber big man. This year, he will move well above that status, if the first two games are any indication.” – Thermodynamics: Week 1 (Nov. 1, 2012)

Those first two games were an indication, indeed.

Like countless Mavs observers, I spent the early part of this season perplexed by Rick Carlisle’s handling of Wright. Even accounting for Wright’s weaknesses, there was never any real justification for him to ride the pine for long stretches in favor of 2012 Troy Murphy. Yet as the year went on, Carlisle grew more and more comfortable with Wright. The 25-year-old big man began to rebound and defend better (although he still has significant room for improvement), all while the Mavs’ mounting playoff desperation necessitated Carlisle’s compromise.

As many of us suspected, Wright turned to be one of the Mavs’ most efficient and productive players, effectively showcasing his potential as a long-term piece for the Mavs. He also drove up his free-agent asking price in the process, but Dallas has cap room aplenty, which if nothing else will give Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson room to mull over a competitive offer. I consider him a top priority for this offseason. It would be foolish to let him walk unless another team wants to drastically overpay him (which isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility). Wright is already a highly efficient offensive player, and he has plenty of upside to boot. It’s hard to ask for more.

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