Specific Gravity

Posted by Ian Levy on June 25, 2013 under Commentary | 4 Comments to Read

Specific Gravity

Sometime between now and June 30th, the Mavericks will have to decide whether or not to extend Darren Collison a qualifying offer — a provision that would bring Collison back for one more season at a cost of just over $3 million. Projecting out from when he arrived in Dallas last summer, this decision would have seemed like a no brainer. $3 million is a paltry sum to pay for a reliable rotation player in the NBA, especially one with youth and room for growth on their side. But the current decision has become complicated, due largely to the way he has so thoroughly shed the cloak of potential. Up until this season, Collison’s identity as a player has been more tied to his possibilities than to the present player running up and down the court. The bubble has burst, and Collison has arrived at the career plateau where evaluations of him as a basketball player must be based on what is rather than what could be.

Most players who carry the weight of potential arrive in the NBA with that luggage fully packed. But not Collison. His phantasmal future was almost entirely summoned during a splendid three-month span at the end of his rookie season in 2010. Collison was selected with the 21st pick in the draft by the New Orleans Hornets, who at the time were looking for a reasonably reliable backup point guard who could sop up 10-12 minutes a game behind Chris Paul. But as Paul was felled by injury, Collison was inserted into the starting lineup for 37 games through February, March and April of the 2009-10 season. Over that stretch, he averaged 19.0 points, 8.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game, shooting 50.7% from the field and 44.4% on three-pointers in the process. Indiana, Dallas, and ultimately Collison himself have been chasing those three months ever since.

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Answered Questions

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 24, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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There have been a lot of positive remarks about the questions and answers series that has started during the offseason. I think people are just thirsty for Mavs information or debate, but we’ll continue running with the series. If you ever have questions you want tossed into future a batch, you can always send them through Twitter or through the comments section.

This batch provides a good mixture of looking back, looking ahead and evaluating who the true gambles are this offseason with free agency. If Dirk and Carlisle were your kids and you had to pick one as your favorite, who would you pick? Wait, parents don’t have to pick a favorite child? Oh, that’s good to know for the future. Anyways, a variation of that topic is brought up.

For now, here are 10 more questions and answers about the Mavs.

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Shooting for the Stars

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 7, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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The position evaluation continues. We will be looking at each position on the floor and determine where things went wrong and what needs to change or areas of need from each position. Again, names will be named soon.

The point guard position has been covered, and it is now time to evaluate the shooting guard position. With Jason Terry departing in free agency during the offseason, a scoring punch was a major necessity. Waiting things out ultimately worked in the favor of the Mavs as they were able to sign O.J. Mayo at a reasonable price.

While the position can be a dime a dozen spot, the Mavs have had quite the challenge of being able to have a capable and consistent person man the position. Like Darren Collison, Mayo provided a major source of optimism going into the season. A guard in his mid-20s coming into town with still untapped potential would make anyone excited.

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Breaking It Down Like a Fraction

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 30, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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Dollars and sense. When it comes down to it, that’s what it is all about.

There is a lot of work ahead for the Mavs as they look to make the 2012-13 season an aberration and not the new norm in the new CBA world. It is a new world for the Mavs, and everyone else in the league, as everyone continues to adapt to what the implications are with the new CBA. I think Donnie Nelson hit the nail on the head when he discussed it during his exit interview. “It’s not like the good old days where there’s all kind of financial freedom where you can sign checks into the wind,” Nelson said.

It is a big summer, and the Mavs will have to trust their instincts based on all they work they do and they are currently doing.

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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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Audio Delight

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

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Episode 74 of the Mavericks Outsider Report is here.

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

The end of the regular season passes without a Mavericks playoff game for the first time since 2000. It’s already time to move on from this season and look ahead to what the Mavericks can do to make sure this year is just a minor bump in the road.

But first, we want to cover Rick Carlisle’s entertaining post-game O.J. Mayo commentary, and the thoughts shared by Mark Cuban following the team’s mathematical elimination from the playoff picture. Then, we look forward by pulling out the oldest segment we have – Buy, Sell, Hold – to run through Mavericks’ free agents and possible free agent acquisitions. The end result shows that there are more holes to fill than money to spend. We take a quick run through the playoffs in NBA Nuggets, and we close with some talk about Lamar Odom and VIP floor tickets.

Intro – Banter / Rick on OJ
22:45 – Cuban’s Concession Speech
42:10 – Buy, Sell, Hold (Current Mavs)
1:03:25 – Buy, Sell, Hold (Potential Free Agent Signings)
1:28:35 – NBA Nuggets, Playoff Edition
1:24:08 – Yelling at Lamar Odom from Baller Seats / Closing Thoughts

Catch us again shortly after the draft in June as we have our “Judgement Day” episode. We’ll have the Mavs Jedi Council in the house to really dig in and figure out if Dallas made the right move(s) during the draft, and is prepared for the pivotal summer that is staring them directly in the face.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University. Bryan channels his inner-Clark Kent on a day-to-day basis. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

The Agony of Average

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

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“…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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Closing Remarks, Part Three

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison were seen as pieces that presented the backcourt of the future. With both of them still in their mid-20s, the sky was the limit for both Mayo and Collison. Unfortunately, the two never really seemed to click at the same time. With Dirk Nowitzki out for the first 27 games of the season, Mayo led the team in scoring and minutes and was primed to be the player everyone hoped he would become. Ultimately, he hit a wall and was unable to really recover from it.

Collison saw his starting position taken away from him by two veteran point guards who joined the team during the middle of the season, Derek Fisher and Mike James. It was an extremely up and down season for the young point guard. You only have to look at the team’s regular season finale where he scored a game-high 25 points to see that there’s potential there.

Both could easily be with the Mavs next season or both of them could be playing on new squads, creating a new void for the franchise. You can make a case that either route is a solid decision for the franchise. Time will tell what they ultimately do. For now, here are the exit interviews for both Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 99, New Orleans Hornets 87

Posted by Connor Huchton on April 17, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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

  • The 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks’ season ended as it began about six months ago, with a victory.
  • Darren Collison (10-15 FG, 25 points, four assists) led the charge and scored at will over the course of 28 minutes, deftly darting into the lane and finishing at the rim in textbook Collison-y fashion.
  • And yes, he deserves his own adjective.
  • His 10 fourth-quarter points helped silence any chance of a fledgling Hornets’ comeback.
  • When it comes to Collison’s future and the Mavericks, possibilities remain difficult to quantify. When Collison plays like this, on the odd one of three games when his mid-range jumper is working and everything else follows, he fulfills the role of starting point guard without question.
  • But the other type of Collison performance, the one that includes wayward perimeter defense and a frequent disappearing act, makes it difficult to believe in such an idea. Perhaps Collison would function best in a sixth-man, heavy-minutes backup PG role, one in which he could score at will and not be tasked with running an offense for 30+ minutes a night.
  • It’s up to Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson (as well as Rick Carlisle) to decide if they think bringing Collison back next season in such a role would be a wise course of action. But unless free agency fails the Mavericks for a third consecutive offseason, it’s unlikely Collison will return as the 2013-14 Mavericks as the team’s starting point guard.
  • Shawn Marion (7-12 FG, 15 points, seven rebounds) and Dirk Nowitzki (7-15 FG, 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists) carried the team the rest of the way, as they have done for what now seems like an eon.
  • Marion’s flip shots were in full splendor, and Dirk embraced his old Dirk persona by simply making standstill mid-range jumper after standstill mid-range jumper. Neither of them were at their individual best, but they both played well enough to defeat a young and injured Hornets’ team.
  • “It begins with defense.” Those were my first words after a Mavericks’ victory against the Lakers on opening night, and the same is true 81 games and a lost season later. Disregarding Chris Kaman’s (3-5 FG, six points, five rebounds) slight struggles with Robin Lopez (6-11 FG, 14 points, 13 rebounds), the Mavericks played quite well defensively, especially within the interior, limiting the Hornets to 36.9% shooting from the field.
  • It’s rare that a team out-rebounds another team by a margin of 21 (58-37) and still loses handily, but the Hornets managed it tonight. This was partly due to the Hornets’ 19 turnovers, and partly due to the Mavericks’ typically strong mid-range and three-point shooting.
  • With this final bullet point of the campaign, I’d like to say goodbye for the year and thank everyone here at The Two Man Game for a great season, irrespective of win-loss record and turmoil. Thanks to Rob Mahoney, thanks to Bryan Gutierrez, thanks to my fellow recapper Kirk Henderson, thanks to the rest of the staff, and most of all, thanks to all of our readers. The 2012-2013 season was not one of emotional triumphs and stunning success, but it was one of unwavering resiliency and ever-present hope. For that, I am grateful.

Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 99, New Orleans Hornets 87

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on under Interviews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks were able to finish the season without a losing record as they secured a 99-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets in the season finale. Playing against the team that drafted him, Darren Collison went 10-for-15 from the field and tallied a game-high 25 points to go along with four assists, two steals and a block in 28 minutes off the bench against the Hornets. Collison left a positive last impression for the team as it was his second-highest scoring game of the season (32 at Oklahoma City Dec. 27). He scored 20-plus points for the seventh time this season and the first since Mar. 18 at Atlanta (24 points).

Dirk Nowitzki totaled 16 points, a team-high nine rebounds and four assists in 28 minutes against the Hornets. Nowitzki averaged 20.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his final five games of the 2012-13 season.

Some notes before the quotes:

- Vince Carter’s triple at the 9:29 mark of the second quarter was his 162nd 3-pointer of the season (he shot 162-399, .406, on the year). His 162 treys tied his career-high for most 3-pointers made in a season (he shot 162-397, .408, with Toronto in 2000-01). The 162 triples were also tied for the fifth-most treys made by a Maverick in any season (Jason Terry made 162 with Dallas in 2006-07). Carter made at least one 3-point basket in each of his final 25 games of the 2012-13 season. It marked his longest career streak (over a single season) with at least one trey (previous high: 16 straight games on two occasions).

- The Mavericks outshot the Hornets 51.2 percent (42-of-82) to 36.9 percent (31-of-84) on the night. They finished the 2012-13 season with a record of 21-3 when they shot at least 50 percent from the floor.

- Al-Farouq Aminu (16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds) and Robin Lopez (14 points and 13 boards) both recorded double-doubles for New Orleans. Aminu recorded a first-half double-double with 10 points and a career-high 17 rebounds (previous high: 16 rebounds on three occasions). Aminu grabbed 14 boards in the first quarter alone.

- Dallas has now sold out 472 consecutive regular-season games at American Airlines Center, which is an NBA-best sellout streak. The streak began on Dec. 15, 2001 and Dallas has sold out an additional 60 playoff games during that stretch.

Here is the quoteboard for Dallas’ victory over New Orleans in the season finale.

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