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”

The Third Wave

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 26, 2010 under Commentary, News | 3 Comments to Read

The 2010 free agent class is unprecedented in many ways. Never before has a group of athletic mercenaries been so thoroughly dissected, endlessly analyzed, and hotly anticipated. Once the shenanigans begin on July 1st, all sorts of fun will be had, as so many franchises across the league will y be either destroyed or reborn in a cleansing fire.

Now, pay close attention, because while everyone is paying attention to the glitter at the head of the class, plenty of interesting things will be going on at the tail. Players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are proven and invaluable, but the summer will also yield completely untested prospects: undrafted free agents. In a typical NBA off-season, that doesn’t mean much; occasionally a team may unearth a role player from the undrafted ranks, but even that only happens on the rarest of occasions. Yet the survivors of this year’s draft seem a bit different. There obviously aren’t any earth-shaking talents in the bunch, but there are a number of interesting players that are viable candidates not only for a Summer League roster, but perhaps a spot on the Legends or even more.

Obviously not all of those prospects are going to pick Dallas over all of their other suitors, but the early returns are promising. Despite a mini-report from Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports, a Twitter exchange between St. Mary’s center Omar Samhan and Mark Cuban indicates that Samhan will indeed be a part of the Mavs’ Summer League team. Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin is also tabbed as a part of the fun. That’s a hell of a start, especially since Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones will headline. It should be interesting to see how the rest of the Vegas roster turns out.

Unfortunately, the Mavs have to do without a number of players they had expressed a clear interest in.

There are plenty of prospects still out there (Mikhail Torrance, Charles Garcia, Mac Koshwal, Aubrey Coleman, etc.), but the demand for these players is clear. By now, I’m sure the appropriate calls have already been placed. That makes the process less of a selection and more of a waiting game. The Summer League roster should be assembled in about a week’s time, which doesn’t leave much time for anticipation. Still, it’s worth keeping tabs on the unclaimed third round draftees over the next few days.

They Smell Like the Future: The 11th Hour

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 24, 2010 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Draft day is upon us. Although the events of this week make moving up in the draft a costly proposition, there’s still an outside chance the Mavs will move up in the second round or even into the late first. Regardless, there should be an interesting prospect of some kind on the board when the Mavs are finally on the clock with the 50th pick. Here are all of the draft previews featured here over the last few weeks (in alphabetical order):

Trevor Booker – PF, Clemson
Aubrey Coleman
– SG, Houston
Sherron Collins – G, Kansas
Charles Garcia – PF, Seattle
Luke Harangody – F, Notre Dame
Mac Koshwal – PF/C, DePaul
Sylven Landesberg – SG, Virginia
Chas McFarland – C, Wake Forest
Art Parakhouski – C, Radford
Dexter Pittman – C, Texas
Jon Scheyer – G, Duke
Donald Sloan – PG, Texas A&M
Mikhail Torrance – PG, Alabama
Greivis Vasquez – G, Maryland
Michael Washington – PF, Arkansas
Brian Zoubek – C, Duke

If the pre-draft buzz is to be believed, Vasquez and Torrance could actually be gone by the end of the first round, with Zoubek not far behind them. Booker should also be out of the question by the time pick no. 50 rolls around, meaning that it’s extremely unlikely that Dallas will be able to draft a player that’s NBA-ready.

Feel free to peruse the per-possession stats of all of the previewed prospects (and all of the players the Mavs have worked out that weren’t previewed) in the chart below. You can sort by any of the listed measures, or classify by position to compare against the rest of the crop.

PlayerPOSTS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%STL%BLK%DRB%
Jon ScheyerPG/SG57.250.22.211.525.841.623.12.60.68.4
Art ParakhouskiC58.658.415.614.07.365.827.90.96.023.6
Charles GarciaPF53.149.09.722.08.475.834.90.82.924.9
Greivis VasquezPG/SG54.849.63.818.435.231.330.52.81.010.2
Dexter PittmanC63.865.416.520.45.063.024.51.08.915.3
Sylven LandesbergSG53.047.34.914.522.236.030.11.50.913.3
Luke HarangodySF/PF55.150.58.210.611.835.131.90.82.124.1
Brian ZoubekC62.663.821.621.89.755.317.72.14.024.4
Mikhail TorrancePG59.352.51.119.533.644.925.61.50.811.9
Trevor BookerPF54.953.310.014.417.347.324.82.44.620.4
Mac KoshwalPF/C55.054.411.920.715.348.228.13.32.820.9
Chas McFarlandC49.444.59.923.76.075.318.41.04.618.9
Michael WashingtonPF54.850.79.115.96.362.924.81.45.018.1
Mouhammed FayeSF/PF53.651.28.416.17.934.523.51.42.717.3
Donald SloanPG55.249.62.315.616.745.327.11.10.19.9
Matt JanningSG51.647.21.814.820.133.125.72.70.511.5
Aubrey ColemanSG51.5466.310.215.644.434.14.00.415.6
Devan DowneyPG51.345.81.616.823.431.534.64.50.09.3
Courtney FortsonPG48.340.74.724.224.250.935.42.30.512.8
Derrick CaracterPF59.857.41122.29.045.527.52.03.621.7
Sherron CollinsPG/SG55.850.60.817.624.331.723.31.80.15.6
Ryan ThompsonSG55.547.94.014.116.152.424.01.80.911.1
Jeremy LinPG62.657.13.421.230.968.226.84.43.612.9
Justin MasonPG45.042.94.221.614.249.512.82.51.46.7
Elijah MillsapSG51.545.89.521.613.556.429.93.01.024.5
Marquis GilstrapSF52.949.39.419.29.043.825.31.62.821.6
Landry FieldsSG/SF56.151.96.713.619.550.831.02.62.220.6
Tyler SmithSG/SF61.757.35.513.522.980.419.82.81.114.0
Matt BouldinSG58.952.81.516.921.440.421.62.20.512.4
Scottie ReynoldsPG47.654.41.918.221.851.526.52.80.47.8
Omar SamhanC58.955.213.712.77.143.130.60.87.924.5
Andrew OgilvyC57.950.810.416.28.277.428.52.56.018.5
Tommy Mason-GriffinPG53.149.31.519.728.924.623.41.40.07.8
Magnum RollePF/C54.151.313.115.75.838.324.11.46.918.2
Jerome RandlePG61.355.61.422.223.732.326.61.20.05.5

In case it’s unclear, the stats are as follows (from left to right): true shooting percentage (TS%), effective field goal percentage (eFG%), offensive rebounding rate (ORB%), turnover rate (TOV%), assist rate (AST%), free throw rate (FTR), usage (USG%), steal rate (STL%), block rate (BLK%), and defensive rebounding rate (DRB%).

UPDATE (5:04 PM CST): For the sake of convenience, I’ll be updating this post with periodic pre-draft chatter.

UPDATE (7:22 PM CST):

  • Per Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs received some good offers for Rodrigue Beaubois, but they weren’t persuasive enough: “‘We’ve had some unusually attractive offers for Roddy,’ Nelson said. But, nothing that would change the Mavs’ stance. ‘Roddy’s not going anywhere,’ Nelson said.”

UPDATE (8:00 PM CST):

  • A nice little video from the Mavs’ official site showing off the pre-draft War Room.

UPDATE (9:00 CST):

  • Looks like the Mavs may have made their way into the first round after all. According to Marc Stein, the Memphis Grizzlies selected South Florida’s Dominique Jones with the 25th pick for the Mavs, who bought the pick. Check out his Draft Express profile here.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 23, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

They Smell Like the Future: Brian Zoubek

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 21, 2010 under Commentary | 7 Comments to Read

Photo by Sara Davis/Associated Press.

Duke senior
7’1”, 250 lbs
22 years old
Center
Projection: Second rounder/undrafted

Much about Brian Zoubek’s game is counter-intuitive. For one, most people would expect a Duke product to have a refined skill set. It’s not really so with Zoubek, who was an instrumental part of Duke’s title run in spite of serious limitations to his game. He’s also a seven-footer without much of a post game, a decent defender down low but not a great shot-blocker, a terrific rebounder but merely a so-so overall defender. Overall, you’re looking at a big body with one very marketable skill and little else. That could be enough to make the Mavs sign on the dotted line, particularly if their scouts have faith in Zoubek’s ability to develop the other aspects of his game.

There is absolutely no way to disqualify Zoubek’s rebounding prowess at Duke. He was the best per-minute and per-possession offensive rebounder in the country last season, a skill that’s worth its weight in gold for a second round pick. No team in the league is looking to hand possessions to a player selected this late in the draft. Most are aiming for roster filler, bodies for summer league or training camp, or possibly a project. That puts defense and rebounding at a premium, and while Zoubek may not be the best defender in the world, he looked every bit a world-class rebounder last season. If he can continue to grab boards at anywhere near that pace in the NBA, he should be able to earn some decent burn (even in his rookie year).

I just hope NBA fans aren’t waiting to see Zoubek nail a turnaround jumper or a drop-step hook. If they are, they could end up waiting for quite some time. At present, Brian’s offensive repertoire is limited, and it’s unlikely that it will ever become stable enough to make Zoubek a reliable offensive weapon. Not that he has to be. As long as Brian can convert a minimal amount of open opportunities and not give up too much on the defensive end, he’ll be well-worth the Mavs’ pick and time.

As a bonus, Zoubek is probably the most NBA-ready big man in the Mavs’ range. Since Dallas doesn’t have a chance to net one of the flashier centers in the bunch, they may have to settle for a hard-worker, solid screener, and big rebounder. That worked out pretty well for the Jazz when they selected Paul Millsap with the 47th pick in 2006, and while I wouldn’t expect Zoubek to have anywhere near as successful a career as Paul, we’re looking at a player with a similar (statistically superior, actually) rebounding résumé. That’s obviously not enough to warrant a first round selection, but it’s pretty strong selling point for No. 50.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOBLKFG%3FG%
Per Game5.67.71.01.20.8.638---
Per 4012.016.62.12.61.7------

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
62.664.021.621.89.755.317.7

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.14.024.4

Other People:

Joe Treutlein, Draft Express: “Most of Duke’s halfcourt sets started with Zoubek setting a screen at the top of the key, something he does as well as anyone because of his massive frame , high motor, and great strength. Zoubek also passes well out of the high post. Duke’s offense frequently went through him on quick ball reversals, where he did an effective job finding the open man at the 3-point line. Off screens, Zoubek was occasionally featured in pick-and-rolls, but his potential is severely limited here due to his lack of athleticism. He struggles to get off the floor, making his rolls to the basket a bit awkward, especially when dealing with weakside help.”

Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, for SI.com: “In fact, Zoubek ranks as the second-best per-minute offensive rebounder in the NCAA in the past decade, behind only DeJuan Blair, who made the NBA’s All-Rookie second team this season after slipping to the second round of the 2009 draft. The difference between Zoubek and Blair is a matter of 7 inches, as the Blue Devil stands 7-1 in shoes and the former Pittsburgh star is just 6-6. Zoubek probably isn’t as good of an offensive player as Blair, but he clearly understands his role and is capable of executing it in an NBA half-court setting. (He averaged 5.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in 18.7 minutes last season.) Considering any big man with a pulse and some girth can earn an NBA opportunity, Zoubek could be a solid pickup in the second round.”

Dana O’Neil, ESPN.com: “Zoubek is still not the first, second, third or even fourth scoring option. When a reporter began a question during Sunday’s news conference by saying, ‘This is for the shooters,’ Zoubek smirked and nodded his head as his coach deadpanned: ‘That’s not you, Brian.’ So strong is Zoubek’s notion to not score, he admits to being a bit panicked when he gets the ball under the hoop, instinctively dishing it outside instead of going to the rim himself. But his teammates aren’t complaining. The 11.5 rebounds Zoubek is averaging over the last four games and countless screens he’s set make him every bit as vital to Duke’s success as Singler, Scheyer and Nolan Smith. ‘There are times when he’s two feet from the basket and instead of going up, he kicks it out to a 3-point shooter,’ [Zoubek's high school coach, Paul] Wiedeman said. ‘I bite my tongue. There’s a method to the madness and the madness works.’ It worked all the way for Duke. ‘I’m a 7-1 white guy who can’t move all that well and I don’t jump that high, so I have to prove myself every day,’ Zoubek said. ‘A couple of more screens and maybe I’ll get some respect.’”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

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