Rank Them: Small Forwards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 26, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment


With five 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.

The small forward position represents the strong position for the Mavs in terms of depth. That said, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Jae Crowder could easily be moved in a perfect trade comes.

Let’s look at the free agents at the small forward position. Read more of this article »

Money Talks

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 20, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read


The game of basketball has turned into the business of basketball. Players are still slowly learning that fact. Fans should understand that now. The 2010-11 Mavs are a great example of how business could get in the way of a good thing.

Dallas won the title that year and decided that it wasn’t a safe risk to “bring the band back” for another run at the title. Giving the core a chance to defend their title would have been enjoyable, but there was clear and reasonable logic behind the move the front office made. Mark Cuban has gotten a lot of heat for that decision, but the results of the playoffs this year suggest he was right for letting everyone go. As the Conference Finals are in motion, the Indiana Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi is the lone former Mav from the championship roster who still is playing.

Let’s look at what the Mavs would have theoretically had to do to bring most of the band back. Remember, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic are out of the league now. That leaves J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Terry. One guy to remember but won’t exactly be figured into this equation – Corey Brewer. He signed a three-year, $9,177,000 deal. He is now a free agent.

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The Agony of Average

Posted by David Hopkins on April 19, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment


“…On my word, we’ll trouble you no more.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

In March, I spoke with ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM about the Dallas Mavericks. During that segment, I said something to the effect that the Mavs are “a 500 team, but 500 won’t be good enough to get into the playoffs in the Western Conference.” Nailed it. They were .500 exactly with 41 wins and 41 losses. It’s the first time in franchise history that they’ve had a .500 win/loss percentage for a season. But what does 500 mean?

If we were to add up all the games this season as if it were one single game, the Mavericks were outscored by opponents 8,342 to 8,293. I don’t know if this number is all that significant, except to indicate that, on average, the Mavs losses had a greater point differential than their wins. Sure, the Mavs had some close games. But from this season, those blowouts are going to be what I remember most. When a game got out of control, the Mavs just couldn’t put on the brakes, couldn’t stop the bleeding. Use whatever metaphor you want.

Ever since the western dominance of the NBA, around the time when Michael Jordan retired, Shaquille O’Neal moved to Los Angeles, and the Spurs drafted Tim Duncan, the question has persisted: is a Western Conference record worth more than an Eastern Conference record? When the Mavs play powerful Western Conference teams more often than lowly Eastern Conference teams, doesn’t that count for something? Keep in mind, five Western teams have 50 plus regular season wins. In the East, there are only two. At 500, the Mavs would’ve made the playoffs in the East—pushing out Milwaukee. Of course, this is price the Mavs pay for being in a better, more competitive conference.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 108, Denver Nuggets 105

Posted by Connor Huchton on April 13, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment


Box ScorePlay-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.

  • Mark Cuban may love Vince Carter (9-19 FG, 22 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists) more than I do, but I too admire the aging guard’s resolve. Carter had regressed a bit over the last month or so, but tonight reminded me why I was so enamored with his vitalized play in late-February and early-March. His performance was one of immense substance and resolve for a team no longer fighting for the playoffs, no longer fighting for much of anything other than a .500+ record and a lower lottery pick. Thank you for a season of stalwart professionalism, Vince Carter, and I hope to say the same as next season ends. 
  • When Corey Brewer (6-20 FG, 18 points, five steals) scored off a steal as regulation dwindled to a close, I did not expect the Mavericks to rise up and control the overtime period. But so they did, mostly thanks to O.J. Mayo (7-13 FG, 5-7 3PT, 20 points, six assists, two turnovers), who made a late bid for changing Mavericks’ fans perceptions with a commendable scoring performance. Mayo’s ability to find rhythm and function as a key offensive weapon in the Carlisle offense seems largely dependent on his ability to limit turnovers. With an offseason and another season in Carlisle’s system, it’s a problem Mayo may be able to address and quell to some extent. There’s no guarantee of that essential improvement, but Mayo is still only 25 years old.
  • Though he tired a bit down the stretch, Dirk Nowitzki (9-17 FG, 22 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) provided a very resilient and potent 40 minutes tonight. He’s not the Dirk of old – he’s the old Dirk – but he’s still capable of charging an offense and bringing rebounds down with the most tenacious of elbows. Time has been the Mavericks’ bane for the last two years, and while it may be presumptuous of me, I’d like to ask time to freeze until next season, and allow this basketball Dirk to begin and end the 2013-2014 campaign in the same impressive form of recent months. 

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 94, Denver Nuggets 95

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


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

Den Shot chart

Denver Shot Chart 2012-2013

denver shot char year

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.


Waving the White Towel

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 16, 2012 under Video | Read the First Comment

Sneaky, Lakers bench.

The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 102, Denver Nuggets 84

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Recaps | 14 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2012-02-16 at 12.58.42 PM

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR

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

  • Shawn Marion (16 points, 8-14 FG, 10 rebounds, six assists) spent another game guarding a highly effective point guard, although this particular assignment may be his most unexpected yet. Ricky Rubio? Still unusual, but does make some bit of sense. Chris Paul? As a matter of necessity, Dallas needed to throw Paul off guard. But Ty Lawson (three points, 1-8 FG, two assists, two turnovers)? Marion should have struggled to stay in front of him, even with height and length providing theoretical counters. But he kept up, and when the Nuggets tried to free up Lawson with screens, the Maverick bigs did a terrific job of containing the speedy point man and preventing him from turning the corner with a burst. The sequestering of Lawson was a showcase of wonderful defense on pretty much every level — a smart (and unconventional) assignment, persistent on-ball defensive effort, and terrific, well-timed help.
  • Oh, and when Lawson wasn’t in the game, Marion guarded Andre Miller (zero points, 0-5 FG, two assists, two turnovers), too — just because he could, and because Rick Carlisle apparently likes embarrassing opposing point guards.
  • All of that said: Lawson and Miller were in a particularly tough spot, as both Danilo Gallinari and Nene missed the game due to injury. Any team can be devastated by injury to a key player, but “superstarless” outfits like the Nuggets are particularly vulnerable. Denver has a nice collection of overall talent and a style that fits the personnel well. But every single piece is an essential component of the formula; Gallo, Nene, Lawson, Miller, Al Harrington, Arron Afflalo…a system predicated on total balance risks going lopsided when any one of the pieces is removed from the equation. When two of those pieces are absent? It’s remarkably difficult for the rest of the roster as-is to compensate, a talented bunch though they may be.

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Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 13, 2011 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 5 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2011-12-13 at 6.54.30 PM

One good cost-cutting move apparently deserves another.

Just days after the Mavs swept up Lamar Odom up from L.A. in order to tidy up the Lakers’ books (helpful gent, that Donnie Nelson), Dallas has agreed — per Marc Stein of ESPN.com — to send Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez to Denver in exchange for a future second round pick. This isn’t an equitable trade, but it allows the Mavs to liquidate some depth for the sake of immediate salary savings and an extra chunk of cap space next summer.

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Rumor Mongering: Taking Inventory

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 6, 2011 under Commentary, Rumors | 4 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2011-12-06 at 12.35.30 AM

Look, I don’t want to be tossing these wistful ideas around, and if you’re dawdling around these parts, odds are that you don’t much like reading them. Yet we must depart from the usual realism to discuss one specific rumor, from Marc Stein and Chris Broussard of ESPN.com:

There is also a small handful of teams that has informed the Hornets they are prepared to trade for Paul with no assurance that they can keep him beyond this season. That list, sources say, includes the Rockets, Boston Celtics and defending champion Dallas Mavericks.

Each of those teams would be gambling that Paul would be won over by his new surroundings and either elect to play out the final season of his current contract (valued at $17.8 million in 2012-13) or opt out of his contract on July 1, 2012, and sign a new deal. Paul’s 2011-12 salary is listed at $16.4 million.

How wonderful. Obviously Chris Paul would be an incredible get for the Mavs, but like so many other franchises reportedly vying to obtain him via trade, Dallas is low on assets. Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s run down the slim list of Maverick pieces that would be attractive to a team like the Hornets:

Read more of this article »

Deep in the Heart

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 3, 2011 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Screen shot 2011-11-03 at 10.20.00 AM

I was honored to join Rahat Huq (of Red 94) and Tim Varner (of 48 Minutes of Hell) for what we’re hoping will be a bit of a recurring feature: a three-man panel dealing with pertinent, Texas-centric NBA questions. Like it or not, the competitive dynamic between fans of the three Texas teams is very real. The rivalry between the Mavs and Spurs is undeniable, and though the Rockets haven’t butted heads with the Mavs in any kind of formal fashion since 2005, geography alone makes competitive run-ins — among fans and among the two teams — a frequent occurrence.

To have a little fun on that theme, Huq, Varner and myself voiced our picks for the best Texas ballplayer of the last 20 years, the most significant event in Texas basketball over that same timeframe, and the Texas team with the brightest future. Even with the Mavs’ core seemingly on their last legs, the answers to that final question may surprise you:

1. Tim Varner: Dallas. Mark Cuban has the means and the vision to field a competitive team on an annual basis. Cuban is an innovator whose dedication to winning finally brought home a trophy last season. I see that continuing, even after Dirk Nowitzki retires.

2. Rob Mahoney: None of the Texas teams are particularly primed for the long haul, but I’ll go with Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki could contribute in the NBA until he’s 50 if that’s his aim, and the Mavericks have the infrastructure to reboot with relative ease. Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson, and Rick Carlisle give Dallas the means and savvy to transition quickly, and it doesn’t hurt that the Mavs also have a few young pieces (Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones, Corey Brewer) to fiddle around with.

3. Rahat Huq: I’ll say Dallas.  You have to get really bad to get good as titles are won through the draft.  Mark Cuban is the only boss from any of these teams to have made public acknowledgment on this point (stated last year at the Sloan Analytics Conference) so I trust he’ll tank when it’s time.  Meanwhile, the Rockets are on a track to pick 14th every year and we’re not sure what the Spurs are planning.

Follow along to Red 94 for the full post.