Audio Goodies

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 3, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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Episode 75 of the Mavericks Outsider Report is here.

For those who don’t know, MOR is a podcast entirely devoted to your Dallas Mavericks.

Judgement day is near. But first, a lot of talking and no signatures during the free-agency waiting period. Circumstances dictate that this is a make or break summer for the Mavs as it relates to “breaking up” the 2011 squad. We kick it off right with two of our favorite Mavs experts, Mark Followill and Jeff “Skin” Wade joining us.

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Under the Microscope

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 30, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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This is it. This is the moment that everyone has been waiting for. As it was apparent that the Mavs weren’t going to make the first time in over a decade, everyone circled July 1st on their calendar. They waited to see if the Mavs could really make progress on improving their team.

Some are waiting to say “I told you so” and that dismantling the championship team was a mistake. Over the weekend, I’ve looked over that roster again and the results and I still stand by my belief that that captured lightning in a bottle and Dirk Nowitzki had one of the greatest playoff runs the league has ever seen. As the Miami Heat celebrate their second championship, Dirk and those Mavs will know that they “got ‘em.”

History may or may not remember the 2011 Mavs for what they did and mainly remember what the Heat didn’t do, but there’s no way to erase the fact that Nowitzki was the baddest man on a basketball court that summer.

Last season was a disappointing one as the Mavs wandered through the wilderness of mediocrity. Nowitzki’s injury derailed the season from the get-go. Despite that, the Mavs were able to find a way to stay playoff relevant until the final week of the season. That shows that Dirk and a cast of characters can be a playoff team, but the front office must now make their move and secure more reliable weapons for their star. “We’re trying to accumulate high quality, high character, high energy, high motor, skilled players to put around Dirk Nowitzki,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the draft. “He’s still one of the greatest players in the game and we’ve got to enhance his ability to do what he does.

“We’ve got to enhance the opportunity to keep him playing as long as possible because he loves to play and he’s great. To do that effectively, we’ve got to get the best guys possible around him. That’s a priority and it’ll continue to be one this summer.”

Now is the time. Let’s look at everything under the free agency microscope.

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Rank Them: Shooting Guards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 25, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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With six days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.

Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with.

Meshing all the pieces is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.

Let’s look at the free agent options at the shooting guard position.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 94, Denver Nuggets 95

Posted by Kirk Henderson on April 4, 2013 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

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Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

    • It’s somewhat fitting that the playoff hopes of the Mavericks were squashed with finality against the Denver Nuggets due to the same exact issues that have plagued Dallas all year: dribble penetration and offensive rebounding. When Kenneth Faried grabs more offensive rebounds (nine) than the entire Maverick team (eight) it’s incredibly hard to win. Dirk Nowitzki ended up with only ten shot attempts again, but Andre Igoudala did his defensive work early, making it hard for Dirk to get the ball in his favorite spots. In fact, Dallas was lucky to be in this game at all, let alone ahead for almost the entire second half. The Nuggets shot 39% from the field, well below their season average of 47%. Denver was terrible around the rim against Dallas (see charts below), making just under 22 of 54 attempts, an incredible 17% under their season average of 58%. As much as I’d like to credit the Dallas defense, the Nuggets missed a lot of easy shots. However, Denver made up for this shortfall by shooting 20 more free throws than Dallas, a byproduct of their rim attacking style. That former Maverick Corey Brewer, who was traded to Denver for cap space and the possibility of limited playing time, and 37-year-old Andre Miller put up a combined 45 points on Dallas only makes this loss harder to swallow.

Denver Shot Chart vs. Dallas

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Denver Shot Chart 2012-2013

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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: Dallas Mavericks 85, Denver Nuggets 106

Posted by Connor Huchton on December 29, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box Score – Play-By-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Despite the somewhat lopsided final result, the Mavericks had several chances to make this a very competitive game, all the way up until the Nuggets’ final run in the middle of the fourth quarter.
  • The Mavericks grasped none of those chances, leading to another uneven loss.
  • Danilo Gallinari (14-23 FG, 7-11 3PT, eight rebounds) scored an incredibly quiet 39 points. The Mavericks left Gallinari open for a variety of corner threes, and he seized his opportunties.
  • Andre Iguodala (7-12 FG, 4-6 3PT, 20 points, eight rebounds) served as the other central Nuggets’ offensive threat, and capitalized on his own three-point chances.
  • Iguodala is not a historically strong three-point shooter, but his jumper can tend to be streaky.
  • The Mavericks were treated to the unfortunate type of streaky from him tonight.
  • As for the Mavericks’ offense, the performance was largely dismal with brief spurts of exciting passing and transition play.
  • So, quite similar to the Mavericks’ offense we’ve seen all season.
  • There weren’t many individual moments or performances to remember for the Mavericks, either.
  • O.J. Mayo scored acceptably (6-13 FG, 15 points, five steals) for the first time in five games, but also recorded a dismal six turnovers.
  • Like I wrote last night, Mayo’s turnovers often seem entirely avoidable. Mayo could likely reduce his turnovers by simply waiting for a few more moments before passing when ball movement stalls.
  • Dirk Nowitzki’s (2-10 FG, five points, one rebound) performance exuded tepidity after a few easy jumpers (for Dirk, that is) fell in and out of the rim.
  • Struggles are expected from an aging player just returning from injury, but time is running out for the Mavericks to right the proverbial ship in a very competitive Western Conference.
  • In all likelihood, the Mavericks will now need to win about 33 of their last 52 games to compete for a playoff spot, after a 12-18 start against a mediocre schedule.
  • That’s a tall and unlikely order, but the Mavericks have an accomplished seven-footer capable of rising to great heights.
  • (That wasn’t a great joke.)
  • The Mavericks are talented enough to make such a run, but it would take a near return to 2011 form from Dirk and a return to early-season form from O.J. Mayo to do so.
  • But the individual play of Mayo and Dirk is likely less integral to future success than overarching team chemistry, something which the Mavericks lacked for long stretches on Friday night.
  • One significant barrier currently blocking the Mavericks’ defensive chemistry is the struggle of Elton Brand (0-2 FG, 0 points, three rebounds) to find his role on the court.
  • Brand has missed quite a few easy scoring opportunities this season, and it’s neutralized his still-effective defensive ability at times. If Brand can’t provide acceptable finishing in a pick-and-roll dominated offense, it negates the defensive boost he’s capable of bringing the Mavericks.
  • Sunday’s opponent, the rival San Antonio Spurs, are stronger than tonight’s opponent and have played very well recently, including an impressive offensive victory tonight against an emerging Rockets’ team. If the Mavericks can indeed begin a much-needed turnaround, a win Sunday would be a terrific way to start.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 101, Philadelphia 76ers 93

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 2, 2011 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas95.0106.357.116.914.715.8
Philadelphia97.948.817.315.612.6

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Dirk Nowitzki had an easy 22-point night and Jason Kidd threw together a triple-double on a whim, but this win was all about Jason Terry (30 points, 13-18 FG, 3-5 3FG). It apparently wasn’t enough for JET to stick to his regular fourth-quarter routine. He dropped eight points over a three-minute stretch in the second quarter. He put up 11 on perfect 5-of-5 shooting during seven minutes in the third. Then he capped it off with six more points in the fourth and threw a crucial assist to Kidd for a spot-up three. Terry couldn’t have been better, as he created points and benefited from Kidd’s passing to put together a pretty complete scoring game. They weren’t all jumpers, either; obviously the J is Terry’s weapon of choice, but he didn’t neglect driving opportunities on Tuesday night. Good on him.
  • Tyson Chandler (two points, five rebounds, 13 minutes) gave Mavs fans a panic attack when he came down awkwardly on his right ankle in the second quarter, but he was diagnosed with a sprain. Still not a good thing — there’s still no word on Chandler’s status for Friday. It could definitely be worse though, and the Mavs’ D isn’t capable of sustaining itself without Chandler at its focal point. Brendan Haywood (seven points, 3-4 FG, four rebounds) and Ian Mahinmi (zero points, zero rebounds, four fouls) are good players to be able to bring off the bench, but neither could perform so successfully in that prominent role. That said, Dallas did well defensively on Tuesday. Just don’t expect every opponent to have Andre Iguodala (15 points, 6-14 FG, seven rebounds, four assists) or Jrue Holiday (14 points, 6-15 FG, seven rebounds, six assists) around to be duped into taking jumpers.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois only finished with six points in just under 13 minutes, but he looked far more comfortable in putting his teammates in scoring position. Beaubois didn’t exactly rack up the assists, but he was making some nice one-handed feeds off the dribble (with both hands) to open teammates on the three-point line or spotting up from twos. Dallas had trouble hitting open shots all night, but during his stint, Beaubois nonetheless generated quality opportunities for players other than himself, which hasn’t quite been a constant.
  • Talented though Beaubois may be, there are still plenty of things that separate him from Terry and others. Within the context of the Mavs’ offense, one of them is screening; Dallas runs a lot of baseline action (and some at the elbow) in which guards are called upon to pick off Dirk or Shawn Marion’s man. Beaubois did a better job on Tuesday in that regard than we’ve seen in a long while, but he could still learn a lot from JET on how to set screens on players twice his size.
  • Dallas didn’t exploit it particularly well, but Nowitzki had this game under wraps. Philadelphia shifted more defenders his way as the game progressed — which no doubt helped Terry explode for 30 — but the Mavs also worked away from Dirk a fair bit despite his considerable matchup advantages. The 76ers seem particularly limited in the bodies they can throw at Nowitzki; Elton Brand doesn’t have the size, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are poor post defenders, and the team tends to switch a lot of screens. That makes a pretty sweet cocktail that should have allowed Nowitzki to be the one with 30+, but the game just didn’t unfold that way.
  • Both Marion and Young did a good job on the glass; Marion finished with two offensive rebounds and 10 overall, while Young grabbed three offensive rebounds and seven total.
  • The Mavs didn’t make shots, but the execution was still a plus. Lots of good movement from Dallas, and Kidd did a fine job of getting the ball to cutters who found their slice of open space. Dallas made nine of their 11 first-quarter field goals in the paint (per @mavstats), and ended up with 40 points in the paint for the game. Of course the Mavs opted for jumpers at time, but there was little settling. The overall efficiency numbers don’t reflect the Mavs’ shot selection, but they were working for good looks throughout the night.
  • I’ve written before on the impact a limited, below-average player can have on a good team in the right setting, and Jodie Meeks (16 points, 4-7 3FG) fits into that mold quite perfectly. I wouldn’t say Meeks is a scorer. Not in Phily’s system, and likely not in any other. At the NBA level, he’s much more a spot-up/pull-up shooter, and overextending him would lead to a tremendous drop in efficiency. Yet Meeks can offer something that many of his teammates cannot, and he’s shot his way into a prominent role and a starting job as a result. Every good teams need players who can do what Meeks — and J.J. Barea, Ian Mahinmi, etc. — does: create a niche for themselves despite supposed redundancies.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 11, 2010 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

  • John Schuhmann of NBA.com, on which teams could challenge the Lakers this season: “In the East, you have the same three contenders as you had going in: Boston, Miami and Orlando. In the West, I really like what I’ve seen from Dallas. Defensively, I think they’ve taken a step forward with Tyson Chandler replacing Erick Dampier. If their offense can come around, they’ll be a stronger foe than we thought the Lakers would have in their conference.”
  • Mavs’ Summer Leaguer DeShawn Sims started the season in Greece, but now he may be headed to the D-League.
  • Chris Mannix of SI.com: “Bottom line, to get out of this Groundhog Day-like loop, Dallas needs to make a change beyond what it’s already done. Since February 2008, the Mavs have acquired Kidd, Marion, Butler, Haywood, DeShawn Stevenson and Chandler to revamp their roster. Mark Cuban committed $80 million to Nowitzki last summer and signed Kidd to a three-year, $25 million extension in 2009 because Kidd, even at 37, is still better than most point guards in the league. Cuban didn’t sit on the sideline when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were being courted. He just didn’t have enough to get them. But to avoid history repeating itself again, the Mavericks may need to take even more risks. They have movable assets like Butler ($10.5 million expiring contract) and Stevenson ($4.2 million expiring contract). James, Wade and Bosh are no longer available, but there could be a few potential difference-makers who are.” Mannix goes on to suggest Gilbert Arenas and Andre Iguodala as possible trade returns for Caron Butler. One of those suggestions is tremendous and would be quite helpful, and the other could end up crippling the franchise for a decade. I’m not sure we’re at the stage where Butler has to go or the Mavs have to make a move just yet, but if that day comes, here’s to hoping the Mavs stay away from the guillotine.
  • Skeets and Tas debate the merits of the Mavs’ success on the latest episode of The Basketball Jones.
  • It was rumored at one point that Greg Ostertag may be trying to make a comeback (or start his coaching career) with the Texas Legends, but no longer. According to Marc Stein, Ostertag will stay retired for now, citing “family reasons.” Bummer.
  • Why doesn’t Erick Dampier have a job?
  • Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas: “His 84 field-goal attempts rank third on the team, just 12 shots behind Jason Terry — in one less game – who has made 20 more shots. Marion has made three fewer baskets on 25 fewer attempts. Jason Kidd is the only rotation player shooting a lower percentage (34.7), but Kidd has put half as many attempts and isn’t needed to score in bulk as is Butler. But, that doesn’t mean Marion is the more logical choice to start. Marion has handled the move to the bench with grace and a team-first attitude when at least some outsiders viewed it with trepidation. There’s no reason to stir things up by asking Butler to now come off the bench, a move he probably wouldn’t welcome. During an ESPNDallas.com chat prior to the start of training camp, Butler was asked if the team had plans to bring him off the bench. Butler stated that he’s not at a point in his career where that move makes sense. Plus, the Mavs want Butler on the floor and performing well, not only to accomplish team goals, but to elevate Butler’s value in the case his $10.8-million expiring contract can be flipped in a beneficial trade.”
  • A list of the best NBA players making less than $3 million this year, featuring Al Thornton, Matt Barnes, Taj Gibson…and not Rodrigue Beaubois. I try not to harp on list exclusions, but this one speaks to just how far out of the NBA consciousness a foot injury puts you.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 1, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Regardless of whether Nowitzki wants fanfare or not, the Mavs have launched DFWDigsDirk.com for fans to show support for ze German. Nothing too special, but the Mavs’ official store is offering a 41% discount on all Dirk merch as part of Dirk’s honorary week.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “…I would be shocked if the Mavericks don’t hang around the hoop and try to get a rebound in the Chris Bosh situation. People have been downplaying Bosh because he may end up being a package deal with LeBron James. But Bosh met early today with Houston GM Daryl Morey and if the Rockets are making a push for Bosh on the basis of pairing him with a perhaps-healthy Yao Ming, the Mavericks can do better than that. If the package deal with LeBron falls through, the Mavericks should be in the hunt for the 6-10 hometown kid, even if he’s a little reluctant to play in his backyard and put that extra pressure on himself. Dirk would help him alleviate it.”
    Even though the Mavs may look like a better team on paper, the Rox are far and away the more likely Bosh destination. For one, Houston has a plethora of interesting assets (their own draft picks, the Knicks’ draft picks, young talent, expiring contracts) that could tempt the Raptors in a sign-and-trade, but the bigger issue is Bosh’s willingness to suit up for Houston. He’s a far more natural fit alongside Yao than he is alongside Nowitzki, and don’t think for a second that Chris doesn’t know that. Considering how set he is on playing power forward, he may be the least attainable free agent out there.
  • Even though the summer’s premier free agents give the Mavs a nice pipe dream to chase, the far more realistic option is an Al Jefferson/Andre Iguodala style trade without the red tape of free agency.
  • The Nets have signed Brian Zoubek to a make good contract, which guarantees him a spot in training camp but not a roster spot. Bummer. Devan Downey (Sacramento) and Mac Koshwal (Detroit) have also been picked up for Vegas Summer League.
  • According to ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, the Mavs were one of the teams to contact Matt Bonner. He wouldn’t be a bad get as far as bench bigs go, really.
  • Keep this page bookmarked, it will no doubt come in handy. This one, too.
  • Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that Miami and Cleveland have legitimate interest in Brendan Haywood, which appears to be true. However, he also reported (as did Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer) that there was potential for a double sign-and-trade involving Brendan Haywood and Shaquille O’Neal, which was denied by Marc Stein. It makes sense; sources with the Cavs might indicate that a trade was in the works, because it’s likely that Cleveland would initiate such discussions. However, there would be no reason at all for the Mavs to entertain the idea of bringing in O’Neal.
  • In case you didn’t hear, Josh Howard is an unrestricted free agent. Sign-and-trade???
  • Two days later, and this is still hilarious.
  • Donnie Nelson clearly prefers veteran free agents to undrafted ones, and for obvious reasons. There are a number of intriguing veteran options to be had on the market for a chunk of the Mavs’ MLE, but I can’t help but wonder: does that also open the door for a D-Leaguer or two?
  • Caron Butler on Twitter, back on Tuesday a little before midnight: “About to check out twilight ill get back and let you’ll know what’s good holla”

Rumor Mongering: The Butler Conundrum

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 8, 2010 under Commentary, Rumors | 4 Comments to Read

The three players most commonly linked to the Mavs are all wings: Kevin Martin, Andre Iguodala, and Caron Butler. The Mavs’ interest is said to flow in that order, meaning that acquiring Butler may very well be a back-up plan. It’s definitely an option, but hardly the option.

Which could be a problem. From Marc Stein in the Weekend Dime:

As my ESPN.com colleague Chad Ford wrote Thursday, Washington’s preference is moving Butler ahead of team statesman Antawn Jamison, who has been chased hard by Cleveland since last season and with particular vigor since the Cavs lost out to Charlotte in the trade race to acquire Stephen Jackson.

On the surface, a Jamison-to-Cleveland trade would seem somewhat irrelevant to the Mavs; a team in the opposite conference would get stronger by preying off of another team in the opposite conference, with none of the Mavs’ rumored targets directly compromised. But consider this: Cleveland is supposedly aggressively pursuing Antawn Jamison via trade, while the Mavs supposedly have something of a Josh Howard-Caron Butler swap on the back-burner. Though Washington may prefer to move Butler, they may not be in a position to move both Butler and Jamison. Trading away all of the talent opens up quite the can of worms, and the Wiz will have a rough go of it drawing season ticket holders and free agents alike if there are no ballers of note left in D.C. by summer.

If Jamison is indeed item 1-A on the Cavs’ agenda, it could put the Mavs in a tough spot: either Dallas strives for a possibly more attainable target in Butler (remember, Sacramento is still unwilling to move Kevin Martin and Andre Iguodala likely has Samuel Dalembert tied to his ankle as a salary anchor), or could miss out entirely if the Mavs’ other plans fall through and Cleveland scores Jamison. It’s a bit premature for the Mavs to jump on a deal for Butler, but there’s definite reason for the decision-makers in Dallas to have their ear to the ground for tremors out of Cleveland.

Eye on the Prize: Butler Auditions

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 7, 2010 under Rumors | Be the First to Comment

Now that trade season is officially upon us, I’ll be revving up the rumor dissection and analysis. But to take it a step further, we’ll be checking in with the Mavs’ rumored targets of choice periodically to keep tabs on their recent production. So keep your eye on the prize, no matter your prize of choice.

’09-’10 hasn’t been a great year for Caron Butler, but you’d never know it based on his dismantling of the Orlando Magic on Friday night. Butler poured in a season-high 31 points against Orlando’s stable of swingmen, and colored within the lines on a game-winning play:

Butler didn’t go rogue with the game on the line, but stuck to the game plan and was rewarded with a clean look. It’s also amazing what not having Shawn Marion in your face will do for your offensive game. To go along with his tidy 31 points (on 50% shooting with eight free throw attempts), Butler rounded out the box score with nine rebounds and two assists.

———-

Kevin Martin’s night at the office was a bit abbreviated, but for all the wrong reasons. Phoenix absolutely ran Sacramento off the court Friday night (the Suns scored 39 in the first quarter alone), and Martin logged just 27 minutes as the starters turned in a bit earlier than usual. Not that Martin’s 27 were particularly productive — K-Mart scored just five points on 2-9 shooting. Perhaps worst of all: Martin was -31 on the night.

———-

Andre Iguodala is the image of versatility, and his statistical contributions typically indicate as such. That was certainly the case on Saturday night, when he led the Sixers to a 102-95 victory over the Rockets. 14 points on 37.5% shooting is hardly awe-inspiring, but 10 rebounds? Six assists? Two three-pointers? All against a team of stellar perimeter defenders? Not too shabby.

The 76ers are limited offensively, and depend heavily on Iguodala to make everything go. Teams in that vein will always be fighting an uphill battle against Trevor Ariza, Shane Battier and the Houston Rockets, making 14-10-6 a pretty impressive line. Not to mention the fact that Ariza had just nine points on 33.3% shooting.