Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 17, 2010 under xOther | 5 Comments to Read

  • Can the Mavs beat the Lakers? A definitive answer from within the Dallas organization.
  • Erick Dampier is making his list and checking it twice. Certain to be considered: Miami and Houston. A possible surprise: Atlanta. I’ve heard Utah may be interested as well, but I haven’t the faintest idea if there’s any reciprocation.
  • Josh Howard, on why the Wizards “took a gamble” on him for the coming season, and how the Wizards stack up with Howard’s former teams in terms of talent (via HoopsHype): “[The Wizards] see a natural-born leader. They got a guy that loves to win games, loves to play, has a total enjoyment for the game… I appreciate that they gave me the chance and I will take advantage of it...Oh, talent-wise the sky is the limit for this team. It’s a young team. Blatche, McGee, Nick Young, No. 1 pick John Wall and a host of other guys. These guys have tremendous upside. If we stay focused and stay dedicated to the game, the sky is the limit for them. I think that’s one other reason they brought me in here – to be a leader. I think I can take those guys on the right path.”
  • Mike Prada of Bullets Forever takes a look forward at what’s in store for Howard over the coming season.
  • Here, you can cast your vote for the top Mavs of all time at each traditional position, but the race has long been decided: Steve Nash, Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre, Dirk Nowitzki, and Roy Tarpley should win-out easily. There are other good candidates — Michael Finley, Derek Harper, and Jason Kidd among them, but those five were clear favorites from the tip. (EDIT: I stand corrected. Finley has surged to take the lead at SG. I love Fin, and I’m still shocked.)
  • For a journey down the other path, Tom Haberstroh, ESPN Insider, a fellow contributor at Hardwood Paroxysm, and one of the invaluable minds at HoopData, has identified the five worst statistical tenures for players of each and every team. Dallas’ bottom five: Devean George (’07-’09), Scott Lloyd (’81-’83), Darrell Armstrong (’05-’06), Bill Wennington (’86-’90), and Elston Turner (’82-’84). My initial reaction: isn’t there any way we could come up with a harsher distinction than “worst Maverick ever” for George? My secondary reaction: Armstrong doesn’t deserve to be on this list at all, if for no other reason than the role he played in the Mavs’ comeback, overtime win against the Toronto Raptors in February of 2006.
  • Haberstroh also continued his fine series exploring the statistical implications of position on HP, and it’s worth your time.
  • According to a report by Sport97, Jessie Begarin, a Guadaloupean and participant in Rodrigue Beaubois’ camp, was invited to tryout with the Texas Legends and his since been invited to Mavericks training camp. If this report is indeed true, you could be looking at a future Legend (capital L, y’all). (via DOH at Mavs Moneyball) EDIT: According to Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com, the Mavs/Legends don’t have any plans for Begarin after all.
  • Akis Yerocostas conducted an interesting exercise at his blog, Pick and Scroll, in which he launched a hypothetical expansion draft. I was consulted as an unofficial representative of the Mavs, in order to choose which players to “protect” for the purposes of the draft. See who I selected and who he ended up drafting here.
  • Tim Thomas, on his wife’s health (via Earl K. Sneed): “She’s healthy, she’s getting better. I don’t want people to think that she’s on her deathbed. I just want everybody to know we’re doing fine. She’s doing better. Who knows, if she gets better then maybe I’ll give it another try.”
  • This commercial for NBA 2k11 has nothing to do with the Mavs whatsoever, but is glorious nonetheless. Plus, the 2k series makes a mean game, to boot.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois goes shopping…at the MavGear headquarters.
  • Former Maverick Malik Allen will go to training camp with the Orlando Magic this season.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 18, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Kurt Helin, my fellow ProBasketballTalk-er, had a chance to interview Caron Butler. Here are Butler’s thoughts regarding what the Mavs’ areas for improvement in the coming year: “Controlling the glass, focusing on defense. Because we can score with the best of them. We have a great player, we have a Hall of Fame point guard and whole bunch of other guys that want to get it done and are willing to sacrifice whatever to win. We’ve just got to put it all together and we will.” Butler also noted that he’s been working with the needs-no-introduction Tim Grover.
  • Kevin Arnovitz has a great interview with Texas Legends’ coach Nancy Lieberman, who is getting serious mileage out of her catchphrase (which you may remember from my interview with Lieberman earlier this summer): “Making the irregular regular.” Here’s Lieberman on her voice as a coach, and what the voice will mean to men who haven’t had all that many female basketball mentors: “I think the end message will be similar, but the methods and how they get the information could be different. I’m excited about it because I’m not going to be in practice f-bombing people. That won’t be me. I’ll be firm and I’ll be fair. We won’t tell people what to do. We’ll explain what we’d like them to do. We’ll show them what we want to do. Then, they’ll do it. I will work their tails off. Trust me. I’m not as nice as I’m faking it on this conversation. I will work them really hard, but I’ll love them on the other side. And they need to know they’re loved and cared for. But that doesn’t mean you can walk over me, through me. That won’t happen. But look, I’m going to kill my guys so I might as well be nice to them. I have high expectations. I haven’t made it in a man’s world for 35 years by being soft, scared or insecure.”
  • Mike Krzyzewski on Tyson Chandler’s play for Team USA, via Chris Tomasson of FanHouse: “Tyson has been outstanding. We have a relationship from the 2007 qualifying team (and in 2008 when Chandler came close to making the Olympic team) … He doesn’t need the ball. He’s stronger. I bet he’s at least probably 15 pounds heavier and stronger than he was in 2007. He feels healthy.”
  • Have $25 burning a hole in your wallet? Then do I have the deal for you. (H/T: Scott Schroeder)
  • Josh Howard, infused with Devean George’s trade veto power.
  • Caron Butler thinks the Heat could make it to 73 wins. The Bulls’ sacred 72-win mark is seemingly unbeatable, but next year’s Miami Heat have definite advantages those Bulls were never afforded. The ’95-’96 Bulls are certainly one of the best teams to ever lace them up, but is Caron wrong? Isn’t the combination of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — with Chris Bosh and a hell of a supporting cast — enough to at least bring the Heat into the discussion?
  • Andre Miller and Chauncey Billups are two big, strong point guards that have made the most of their size by posting up smaller opposing guards. The Mavs have dabbled with using Jason Kidd in a similar capacity, but he just doesn’t have the scoring chops for it. Regardless, Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook breaks down what it is that makes Miller and Billups so effective in the post.
  • Kelly Dwyer is ranking the top 30 players in each of the five conventional positions, beginning with point guards. You can see the first installment (30-21) here, and the second (20-11) here. Jason Kidd comes in at #12, which may seem a bit harsh, but consider the 11 PGs likely to top Kidd in Dwyer’s rankings (in no particular order): Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Jameer Nelson (already confirmed as #11), Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Devin Harris, Tony Parker, and Tyreke Evans. Of those 11, which would you pick Kidd to best in the coming season?
  • Jeff Fox of Hoops Manifesto takes a stab at listing the top 10 Mavericks of all-time.
  • Rodrigue Beaubois’ surgery was successful.
  • From Caron Butler’s blog on HoopsHype: “Aside from the Tyson Chandler trade, my team has had a pretty quiet offseason. I’m not surprised. We had a great roster already. The management looked at the team and thought change wasn’t needed.” Well…that’s certainly one interpretation of the summer’s events.

Fingers Crossed

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 24, 2009 under xOther | Read the First Comment

Despite early indications that Shawn Marion would play tonight, he’s still questionable for tonight’s game according to Rick Carlisle (via Eddie Sefko). Here’s to hoping he gets a little burn against the defenseless Dubs.

There also has yet to be a conclusive timetable set for Josh Howard’s return, and Erick Dampier’s mystery illness continues to keep him out of the lineup and has not been cleared to practice yet.

But at least it’s another fair(ish?) fight, as the Warriors will be without Kelenna Azubuike, Raja Bell, Andris Biedrins, Devean George (a huge loss), Ronny Turiaf, C.J. Watson, Brandan Wright, and Corey Maggette. The Mavs are missing two or three starters, the Warriors are missing a platoon. Only fair, right?

If I Could Save Time in an Embeddable Video

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 14, 2009 under xOther | 4 Comments to Read

NBA.com compiled the top ten Mavs plays of 2008-2009, with a disproportionate amount of James Singleton. There’s even a Devean George sighting. I’m a fan of big shots and game-winners as much as the next guy, but I still can’t see how JET’s hanging dunk on Anthony Randolph didn’t top the list.


Thoughts?

Clear to Launch

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 9, 2009 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

The Mavs and Raptors finally agreed to terms on a deal that landed Shawn Marion in Dallas, but not before roping in a third team…and a fourth.  In a bit of creative trade engineering, Toronto and Dallas pulled off a once-in-a-blue-moon four team deal that involves a signed-and-traded Hedo Turkoglu and the Grizzlies’ available cap space.

The deal is awaiting finalization from the league, but the principles of the deal include the following acquisitions:

Dallas:

  • Shawn Marion (five years, ~$39 million)
  • Kris Humphries (two years, $6.40 million, player option for the second season)
  • Greg Buckner ($2,126,914 guaranteed money, expected to be released)

Toronto:

  • Hedo Turkoglu (five years, ~$53 million)
  • Antoine Wright (one year, $1.99 million)
  • Devean George (one year, $1.60 million)

Memphis:

  • Jerry Stackhouse ($2 million guaranteed, expected to be released)
  • Quincy Douby (one year, $855,189)

Orlando:

  • Trade exception worth ~$7 million

From a Mavs-centric perspective, they flipped Jerry Stackhouse, Devean George, Antoine Wright, and cash for Shawn Marion and Kris Humphries.  It’s a trade that undoubtedly makes the Mavs a better team.  How much of a better team is something we’ll have to wait until the season starts to find out…or you can wait a little while to get a thorough analysis of what to expect on this very blog.

The Raptors were actually big winners here, and showed what good can come by doing right by your own free agents (even departing ones).  Marion’s impending departure meant the Raps would be left with no compensation for the loss of a very good player.  Rather than simply wish Shawn the best and tear up as he walked out the door, Bryan Colangelo helped to engineer a hell of a trade with the Mavs that not only helped to fill a need at shooting guard with the acquisition of Antoine Wright, but also gave Toronto an even more valuable asset: their full mid-level exception.

If Toronto had signed Hedo Turkoglu as a free agent as per their initial plans, they would forfeit the right to the mid-level exception by using up their available cap space.  But by having Orlando sign-and-trade Turkoglu instead, the Raptors still have use of their MLE.  A nice maneuver, to say the least.

Things were equally clever from the Mavs’ end, as Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have turned a creative out in Stackhouse’s contract into a four-time All-Star.  With all of the pieces changing hands, this deal was way more complicated than it should have been, and it’s a credit to Mark and Donnie for sticking to it and getting Marion to Dallas.

Kris Humphries could be an interesting role player for the Mavs, and his presence has to make you question whether Brandon Bass and/or James Singleton really have a place with Dallas next season.  I’m personally big on both players over Humphries, but the Mavs are obligated to cut the check to Kris.  That gives him the edge to not only stay on the roster, but to fulfill a role as a reserve forward.  With Shawn Marion also a shoe-in for minutes at power forward, this could be the nail in the coffin for hopes of Brandon Bass being a Maverick in 2009-2010.  Bass wants the money and the minutes, and though the Mavs may be able to give him a competitive offer, he’ll likely be scrapping for minutes with Dirk, Marcin Gortat (supposing the Magic don’t match the Mavs’ offer), Erick Dampier, Kris Humphries, Shawn Marion, and possibly Ryan Hollins.  That’s a bit of a log-jam, and likely too much of one to generate any kind of intrigue in Bass’ camp.  James Singleton remains a more likely candidate, for no other reason than the commitment (in almost all senses) to him would likely be minimal.

Devean George Loves Dallas

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 30, 2009 under News, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

Or financial security.  Yeah, probably that one.  Eddie Sefko on the DMN Mavs Blog reported that George has picked up his player option:

…George will be under contract for 2009-10 for $1.6 million.

…Someday, if George can ever remain healthy enough for a full season, he is capable of producing for good teams. Here’s hoping George has one of those seasons soon. After 10 years in the league, he’s running out of time.

Great.

News: Devean George Likely to Go Under the Knife Soon

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 14, 2009 under News | Read the First Comment

From Eddie Sefko of the DMN Mavs Blog:

The injury situation at small forward is nearing crisis stage for the Mavericks after they found out Devean George has cartilage damage in his right knee that could require surgery.

George was injured Wednesday at Portland and the leg stiffened up quickly after he departed the game in the fourth quarter.

It is not known what sort of procedure will be required, but team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal will join the team in Los Angeles on Saturday to conduct a thorough exam on George. This sort of injury typically requires some sort of surgery to repair the cartilage. The Mavericks said there didn’t appear to be any ligament damage.

George, who referred comment after today’s shootaround to athletic trainer Casey Smith, suffered the injury when he was on a fast break and Portland guard Steve Blake fouled him to prevent an easy basket.

“It’s tough,” said Dirk Nowitzki. “It kind of looked like an awkward play. He had a little breakaway and the guy was just trying to foul him and I guess he came down awkward. It’s obviously a little frustrating, but injuries are part of the game for every team. You can’t complain about it.”

Injuries like this are never a good thing.  Still, as much as I’ll miss George’s effort on the court, I won’t miss the errant three pointers and pointless fouls in the paint.  Get well soon, Devean, but we’re moving on without you.  VIVA LA JAMES SINGLETON.

Heard It Through the Grapevine 3-9-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 9, 2009 under xOther | Read the First Comment

Not a lot going on today, but there’s still time to play catch-up.

  • Nothing on the Wizards game here, mostly because I decided to take the weekend off.  Here’s the run-down: it was a no-win game.  If the Mavs won (yay), then they were merely doing their jobs.  If they lost, it was another breakdown against a subpar team.  I’m happy that I didn’t spend Sunday ripping my hair out after another bad loss, but it is what it is.  The Mavs played well without Josh, JET was money, and the Mavs put one in the win column.  All important.  But in context, what does it mean when the opponent is the Wizards?
  • The Suns have quietly lost four straight.  Mwahahahahahahaha!
  • What’s wrong with the Mavs?  David Moore of the Dallas Morning News is (was? It’s from this weekend) happy to tell you (click the link and take in the full article.  Some great quotes in there.): “The Mavericks are vulnerable on defense because they lack speed on the perimeter. Once an opponent exploits this weakness, the break down is more pronounced because this team doesn’t communicate. You want a tangible reason why the Mavericks rarely beat good teams on the road? This is it. Watching New Orleans shoot 56 percent from the field in Thursday’s win put that in perspective.”
  • No, Mavs fans; James Singleton does not approve of your wave.
  • Check out the TrueHoop Network’s breakdown of the injury situations of every potential playoff team.  I talk Howard and Terry, and how their injuries could affect the team this season and beyond.
  • Dirk’s response when Tim MacMahon of the DMN Mavs Blog reminded him of the Mavs’ 9-2 record sans Howard earlier in the season: “‘I don’t think in that time he was out for the whole December that we played any good opponents,’ Dirk said. ‘If you look back, we had an easy stretch there and we were able to pull those games out without him. But against the big boys, you know they’re going to try to take me and Jet out of the game. We need a third weapon. We’re going to miss [Howard], but hopefully we’re going to make up for it.’”
  • David Moore was on fiyah this weekend, following up his piece on the Mavs’ defense with a look into Cuban’s criticisms of the team and what it means going forward: “What is the best this team can do? No reasonable person anticipates a long playoff run. I believe that’s why Cuban said what he did last week. He knows where this season is headed. Making his comments now gives the players a chance to redeem themselves, yet lets the fans know he won’t stand pat. And don’t get too caught up in Cuban’s choice of the word “effort,” which is often a euphemism for lack of talent. I don’t care how hard the Mavericks play the rest of the way. If the team fails to get out of the first round for the third consecutive season, if it fails to even make the playoffs, how can Cuban come back with the same group? He can’t.”
  • Devean George hopes to compensate for the loss of Josh Howard’s offense by amping up his own defensive work.  From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “The Mavericks will have to defend better than they did against the Wizards, who shot 53 percent and scored 103 points. ‘When you got a guy with that big a role, everybody has to pick it up in their area,’ George said. ‘I try to pick it up on the defensive end. Guys that are 25-point scorers, I’m going to try to get them to 15 or 16. That would be my part of turning it up.’”

Player Valuations: Devean George

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 10, 2009 under Commentary, xOther | 4 Comments to Read

After quite a delay, the player valuations are back.  Let’s do this.

Specs: Small forward.  6’8”, 235 lbs.  Drafted with the 23rd pick in the 1999 draft out of Augsburg.

2008-2009 Stats: 3.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 41.3% FG, 7.5 PER

Why we want him: George is the resident “been there, done that” guy.  He had a hand in some pretty legit teams, and once upon a time was a well-respected perimeter defender.  Those days might be behind him, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t pester some of the best in the league on occasion (Carmelo comes to mind).  As far as insurance policies go, he’s not a bad option, and having solid veterans at the end of the bench can be good for the locker room and for prospect development.  His contributions aren’t overwhelming and they’re probably not even whelming, but his contract is reasonable and he doesn’t exactly come with high expectations.  Provided he keeps his turnovers down, hits the occasional three, and defends well, he’s an asset.

Why they want him: The exact same reasons.  One of the funny things about the ol’ wily veteran at the end of the bench is that their role rarely changes from team to team.  You put Devean George on any squad and he’s still Devean George.  He’s not waiting for his big break, his production isn’t suddenly going to skyrocket, and everything about his game is a known quanitity.  It makes him both consistent and boring.  But for other teams, it also makes him safe.

Trade value: Marginal.  Devean George is a safe player, but the aforementioned boringness means he’s not exactly the most intriguing trade chip.  His modest contract ($1.6 per year for 2008-2009 and 2009-2010) doesn’t make him appealing for salary dump reasons, and the man clearly values his Bird rights.  The phones aren’t ringing off the hook for George, and his ticket out of Dallas would seem to hinge on throw-in status.  I’m sure that’ll be a blast.

Likelihood of Being Traded Before the Deadline: In honor of Jim Jackson, former Maverick and the most stereotypical NBA journeyman to ever journey, man, each player’s likelihood of being traded will be evaluated using the Jim Jackson Index (JJI; a scale of 0-5):

1.5 Jim Jacksons out of 5.

Dallas Mavericks 111, Miami Heat 96

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 1, 2009 under Recaps | 2 Comments to Read

Photo from AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee via ESPN.

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
-Maria Robinson

It may not come with a ring, but we’ll take it.

The Mavs took this game by the throat early and dominated it offensively, registering 60% shooting on the night and almost 44% from three.  The Heat aren’t exactly the Warriors, either; Miami ranks 8th in the league in defensive efficiency.  That ranking is a tad misleading given the absence of Shawn Marion, but it doesn’t change the fact that Dallas was clicking on cylinders they didn’t even know they had.

Dwyane Wade matched Dirk point for point, but the big surprise came with Devean George’s defense in the first quarter.  George drew the short straw after , and was given the assignment of checking Wade early…and managed to do a damn good job with it.  Wade attempted just four shots (making two), had three turnovers, and crowded Wade into a -9 point margin in his first quarter apperance, and that’s including Wright’s — let’s just say imperfect — defense.  Not too shabby at all, especially in the context of Wade’s brilliance so far this season (Rick Carlisle on how to defend Wade pregame: “Hope that he misses.”)  Of course Wade eventually got his on his way to 30 on the night, but he did so without catching fire; he scored well and fairly efficiently, but there was never a feeling that he was going to take the game over.  I’m sure a lot of the credit for that goes to the Mavs team defense, who had obviously done their homework.  The box score may be a bit misleading, considering the Mavs went with subs for almost the entire fourth quarter, but Dallas’ D on the night was pretty rad.  I may even stop waking up, startled, in the middle of the night and in a cold sweat, muttering “Pick-and-roll, pick-and-roll, pick-and-roll…” as I rock back and forth, curled up in a ball.  (That was one hell of a run-on.)

Erick Dampier was nice on the defensive end.  Offensively, notsomuch.  Par for the course with Damp, but the numbers won’t do his defensive impact justice.

Josh Howard’s shooting seems to be coming on.  He “only” shot 7-13 from the field, but he was nailing his spot-up attempts and he’s definitely a better shooter from the corner than any other wing on the roster.  On the other side of the court, his defense wasn’t exquisite, but it also wasn’t lacking in effort.  You can take this one of two ways: cue one up for the “Josh Howard is only Josh Howard when the game is already decided” camp, or see it as a step in the right direction going forward.

I’ve always been one for nostalgia: 14 fouls against the Mavs in the first half, just 5 against Miami.  The Heat shot 20 free throws in the first half, the Mavs shot just 5.  This time it was a little different, though: Dwyane Wade attempted just 4 free throws.

I want to take this opportunity to gush a bit about Jason Eugene Terry.  At the 7:30 mark in the second quarter, Terry dribbles around a pick at the three point line, only to see a double-team on the other side.  Then, in one fluid motion, he spins around the second defender, squares up his shot, and launches a three.  When the net splashes up like a droplet rippling in a puddle (as a product of a smooth dance of muscle memory and instant calculation), you know you’ve got a special shooter.

The Heat tried their hand playing a zone against the Mavs, and it left me wondering: why would you play zone against Dallas?  Ever?  The Mavs don’t rely on heavy penetration, and they don’t have a dominant big man.  Jason Terry, Josh Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki are all good shooters from midrange and ideal “zone-busters.”  Brandon Bass and Erick Dampier are both excellent at hitting the offensive glass, which is problematic for the scheme’s inherently weak defensive rebounding.  Aside from changing things up for the sake of changing things up, what do opposing coaches hope to do by going zone against a team that’s already too reliant on shooting jumpers?

GOLD STAR OF THE NIGHT:

The Gold Star of the Night goes to, surprise, Dirk Nowitzki.  30 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists might be enough to get it done on some nights, but his excellence was elevated to an outrageous level by his efficiency; Dirk went 12-13 from the field (the box score reads 12-14, but Dirk insists one of those attempts was actually a ball batted by Michael Beasley) including 1-1 on threes, was perfect from the line in 5 attempts, and had 0 turnovers.  Yeah.