Rank This

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on October 10, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 4 Comments to Read

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Ed. note: This post doubles as an introduction to a new member of The Two Man Game family, even if Mavs fans are undoubtedly quite familiar with his work already. Bryan Gutierrez is a contributing writer for Mavs.com, and formerly worked the Mavericks beat for Mavs Moneyball. You can follow Bryan on Twitter at @BallinWithBryan.

Ranking teams or players before the real season tips off is a chore that doesn’t really make a lot of sense but it’s great for conversation. Unless you live under a rock, you probably followed ESPN.com’s #NBARank project. We’ll put a wrinkle on it by ranking the Dallas Mavericks’ expected 15-man roster.

The experts who rated each player ranked them in terms of “the current quality of each player.” Here are the rankings for the Mavericks, alongside a notable player for comparison.

#463 – Jared Cunningham – Comparison: Mike Bibby, 472
#447 – Bernard James – Comparison: Hasheem Thabeet, 443
#381 – Dominique Jones – Comparison: Jonny Flynn, 386
#339 – Jae Crowder – Comparison: Kelenna Azubuike, 345

#301 – Dahntay Jones – Comparison: DeShawn Stevenson, 319
#212 – Brandan Wright – Comparison: Drew Gooden, 213
#204 – Roddy Beaubois – Comparison: Corey Brewer, 203
#185 – Vince Carter – Comparison: Richard Jefferson, 181

#159 – Delonte West – Comparison: Jason Kidd, 157
#113 – Chris Kaman – Comparison: Kendrick Perkins, 120
#98 – Darren Collison – Comparison: Jose Calderon, 96

#92 – Shawn Marion – Comparison: Thaddeus Young, 91
#90 – O.J. Mayo – Comparison: Jason Terry, 81
#85 – Elton Brand – Comparison: Taj Gibson, 82
#11 – Dirk Nowitzki – Comparison: Kevin Love, 7

ESPN.com’s panel  views the Mavericks in a lone star way as Dirk Nowitzki is the only player ranked inside the top 50. Here at The Two Man Game, we’re down for a discussion or starting another string of debates. Over the next few days, we’ll have player capsules for each Maverick and rank them in terms of projected importance for the team this coming season. It’ll start with the back end of the roster and work our way up to Dirk, whoops, I mean the top of the roster. Here are players 15 to 10.

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Tabled Discussion

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 7, 2012 under Commentary | 6 Comments to Read

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One of the problems with building in waves — as all NBA teams are forced to do — is that the guidelines for construction can be swept right out from under a team that’s only doing right by logic. What was applicable in June isn’t quite so valid today; it once made perfect sense for Dallas to move down in the draft to select multiple players and pick up a combo guard prospect, but now Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder are buried in the depth chart, Bernard James is a distant 12th man, and Tyler Zeller (whom Dallas could have selected with their original 17th pick) looks to be one of the more NBA-ready players in this draft class.

The situation has shifted, and yet history has a way of only being recalled in the absolutes afforded to perfect hindsight. Consider this a preemptive strike against that line of thinking, much like the one that was needed when Dallas re-signed Brendan Haywood to a six-year, $55 million deal in the summer of 2010.

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Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume II

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 16, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | 6 Comments to Read

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The Las Vegas Summer League is a meal best consumed in buffet style — there is little order to the layering of flavors for the event, but one can nonetheless find plenty of tasty morsels, however disparate they may be. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few of the notable prospects from Dallas’ first game in Vegas, assembled for you in the most edible form:

  • The offense in Monday’s game still revolved around Dominique Jones, albeit in a very different way; having proved his point in the Mavs’ Summer League premiere by dropping 32 points on just 25 shots, Jones slid into a pattern of more altruistic shot creation in the follow-up. The assist totals don’t show it, but Jones consistently made plays for his teammates through his dribble penetration, and did well as a spot-up option when other Mavs drew additional defenders or got themselves into trouble. He didn’t necessarily strike a perfect balance between scoring and playmaking, but Jones inched closer to that equilibrium — a state that will be essential if he’s going to fill minutes in the season to come.
  • Related: Jones is so quick and so strong that a euro step almost seems unfair.
  • David Harrison certainly has the potential to be a nice player, but is distractingly emotive to both himself and observers. He reacts demonstratively to virtually every call that goes against him or the team, occasionally to the point where his teammates are forced to counsel him on-court. That’s not necessarily a problem beyond remedy, but it’s a turnoff in a competitive business with so many comparable talents.

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Adventures in Summer Leaguing, Volume I

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 15, 2012 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

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The Las Vegas Summer League is a meal best consumed in buffet style — there is little order to the layering of flavors for the event, but one can nonetheless find plenty of tasty morsels, however disparate they may be. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few of the notable prospects from Dallas’ first game in Vegas, assembled for you in the most edible form:

  • The Mavs’ stint in Vegas is very clearly an audition process of sorts for Dominique Jones, whose role in the upcoming season is an open question due to Dallas’ open roster. With Rodrigue Beaubois almost perpetually shaky off the dribble and Delonte West as of yet unsigned, there’s a distinct possibility that the Mavs will be forced to rely on Jones as a reserve ball-handler and playmaker.
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    It’s in that regard that Jones’ Summer League success becomes a bit tricky to translate. On this team, he’s the end-all creator, the primary scorer, and the bailout option. He has a lot to prove and a considerable weight to carry, giving these showings a notably different dynamic than what he has and will encounter as a member of the Mavs’ A-team. He did a tremendous job of pouring in points, but I’m not sure there’s much to take away from his shiny scoring total aside from the physicality and skill behind it.
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    There’s no question that Jones is a reasonably safe ball-handler with good driving instincts and imposing strength, but none of that is exactly new. What is new — or at least renewed — is his capacity to finish around the basket after drawing contact. That was the crux of Jones’ college success, but he hadn’t yet managed to convert that element of his utility to NBA defenses and NBA bigs. We may have seen the start of that transition with this kind of performance, even if the level of play makes for an imperfect comparison to standard NBA basketball.

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Slight Delays

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 29, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 9 Comments to Read

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Draft night has come and gone, but the urge to instantly evaluate the Mavericks’ performance remains. That doesn’t make such a review any less impossible, but it certainly adds noise to what should already make for an incredibly chaotic off-season.

If you’re in the minority who can accurately speak to the specifics in the games of Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, and Jae Crowder — much less the even more extreme minority who can feasibly predict how any of the above might pan out against NBA competition — then by all means: chatter away. But if you’re in the other, significantly larger camp, I suggest that you — and we — table our judgment. We have an entire off-season, the full run of summer league, a training camp, a preseason, and a good chunk of regular season competition to go before we can even begin to determine what each new Maverick is capable of — and that’s assuming that James and Crowder stick around to make the roster in the first place.

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