I think. I probably think way too much. That’s just what happens when you have time on your hands. Again, I just sat and thought about random things revolving around the Mavs. Answers popped up, and this is the end result. Another batch of 10 questions and answers in regards to the summer and the future for Dallas.
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.
There’s not a great way to classify Dirk’s 2012-13 campaign. It started with the incredible personal highlight of being able to play in Germany in an exhibition game. Concern then started to circulate as he had issues with his knee, which ultimately led to surgery. He missed more than a quarter of the season due to the surgery. When he came back, he had doubts about whether or not he could actually return to the form everyone is used to seeing from him. The doubts eventually went away as he swagger returned. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough time for Dirk to help get the Mavs into the playoffs.
A pivotal summer is on the horizon for the Mavs. Dirk will be ready to do whatever he can to help the franchise get back to the playoffs and make this year more of an aberration than the new expected norm.
Here is the final exit interview of the season. Here is Dirk Nowitzki’s exit interview.
As the General Manager and president of basketball operations, Donnie Nelson provides a different perspective of how the season went for the Mavs. He also gives a different vantage point of how the offseason will have to be observed.
Here is the exit interview with Donnie Nelson.
Opening remark: “We weren’t expecting this. This time of year, we’re gearing up for the playoffs, so this is an out of body experience for all of us. We’ve got some work cut out for us. We’ve got a big summer, moving forward. We don’t expect to be here in the same situation next year at the same time.”
“Who tests God and does not wager their life? A price will be paid.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
If a team has a winning season, give credit to the players and the coach. If a team has twelve winning seasons, give credit to the general manager. Since 1998, when Donnie Nelson first joined the organization, the Mavericks have been one of the most consistently successful franchises in the NBA—eight 50-win seasons, three 60-win seasons (included the franchise record 67 wins in 2007), 12 consecutive playoff appearances, three trips to the conference finals, two trips to the finals, and of course an NBA Finals victory in 2011.
And yet, Donnie Nelson’s contribution is sometimes overlooked. Other names stand out.
Mark Cuban, who purchased the team in 2000, is acknowledged for changing the culture of the franchise. And even though Mark Cuban is a very involved owner, he’s wasn’t the one who brought Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki to Dallas. It was Donnie Nelson who played an instrumental role in rebuilding the team.
Dirk Nowitzki tirelessly carried his Mavs through each season and every playoff. But one all-star, even a truly great one like Nowitzki, can’t play every position on the court. There have been many great players whose talents were wasted on mediocre franchises—Kevin Garnett with the Timberwolves, Ray Allen with the Bucks, and even arguably LeBron James with the Cavaliers. We point to Nowitzki, because we see him on the court, or to Cuban, because he spends so much time in front of the cameras. But Donnie Nelson put together the teams that made the Mavericks an elite franchise. Credit where credit is due.
“Victory must now be mine or Galactus shall not fight again.” — Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
Last week I wrote about Dirk Nowitzki, his legacy and his future. Do the past two years represent the sudden decline of Nowitzki? Should fans recalibrate their expectations? Or are these two years statistical outliers with a bum knee to blame? Like most things, the answer is probably somewhere in the middle. Regardless, there is no denying that the future inevitable departure of Nowitzki has been a concern as fans watch the season unfold. And as much as we’d like to put everything on Nowitkzi’s shoulders, he isn’t the only factor in making the Mavs a great franchise. When looking at the long-term health of this franchise, I would suggest that there are four ingredients.
1. Young talent
2. Reliable veterans
3. An All-Star “Go To” Player
4. Trustworthy management, ownership, and coaching
In the young talent category, the jury is still out. For players born in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, the Mavs have: Rodrigue Beaubois, Darren Collison, Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James, Dominique Jones, O.J. Mayo, Anthony Morrow, and Brandan Wright. Young players aren’t just the replacements for the old team. They are valuable trade assets. They offer the greatest potential for improvement and growth. I believe in O.J. Mayo, and I’d be happy if he signed a long-term contract with the Mavs. The question is money, but I can’t imagine shooting guards are in such high demand that another franchise would overpay for him. Darren Collison? I just don’t know. When you look at his advanced stats, he’s actually slightly better than O.J. Mayo. However, I don’t trust him to run an offense. The rookie class isn’t too bad. Crowder and James are encouraging. This isn’t Cunningham’s year, but who knows how he’ll do once given a chance? Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones are a disappointment. I believe Brandan Wright is a better player than his minutes and stats suggest.
Jonathan Tjarks writes about basketball and all that it implies at RealGM and SB Nation, and is a guest columnist here at The Two Man Game. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @JonathanTjarks.
With All-Star Weekend and the trade deadline behind us, the stretch run of the NBA season has officially begun. Now that Rick Carlisle has finally gotten (somewhat) comfortable with a set rotation, the Mavs are unlikely to make any more moves to tweak their roster this season. Nevertheless, there are several D-League players that Dallas could sign tomorrow for short and long term gain. That the Mavs seem reluctant to go that path is a shame, and perhaps a metaphor of sorts for a franchise that has lost its way.
There aren’t any future stars in the D-League, but the level of play is higher than the casual fan recognizes. The D-League All-Star Game, held in Houston during All-Star Weekend, was a veritable “Who’s Who” of former second-round picks and collegiate standouts, many with the ability to be rotation players in the NBA. And in the league’s new economic climate, identifying the minimum-salary talent available to all 30 teams is more important than ever before. In that respect, signing and playing Mike James over someone like Shelvin Mack is a notable misuse of resources.
The Rundown is back. Every Monday, The Rundown will chronicle the week that was for the Mavericks, as well as let you know what is coming up for the boys in blue, with a unique spin. Simply put, it is your Monday catch-up on all things with the Dallas Mavericks.
With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, the Mavericks have started their do-or-die homestand. Dallas is at 22-28 with 32 games to go. The approach will be to take things one game at a time, but the mindset should be to look at the remainder of the games in four-game chunks and win three of four the rest of the way out with each chunk. That will get them to 46-36. With how the rest of the bottom half of the West is trending, that should be enough to sneak in and take the 8th seed. It’s possible that they can do it, but we’ll have to see how things play out. With that in mind, it was another up and down week for the Mavericks. It was full of milestones, hammers being dropped and facial hair. Let’s take a look at the week for that was for Dallas.
“Please. Please. We beg of you – have mercy. Have mercy on all our souls.” – Pastor Mike
“No.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds
These losses are frustrating because they tell us very little about the team we have on our hands, except that it’s not a very good team right now. Are the Mavs better than their record? Worse? It’s hard to say. Blow outs usually represent such a monumental collapse on both ends of the floor. The result is so bewildering; it can be hard to diagnose. The rhetoric sounds like this: “the shots just weren’t falling,” “we got caught off guard,” “you have to give the other team credit,” “we need to be more aggressive,” “we need to play our game” and a host of other one-liners that tell you nothing. Players and coaches show their displeasure, frustration, and promise to turn things around.
On one hand, the Mavs are five games away from tying for the worst record in the Western Conference. Unfortunately, at their current place in the standings, they gain little from failure. The draft lottery odds are not in their favor. As a team management strategy and general life philosophy, I do not believe purposely tanking a season is a good idea. The cautionary tales are too numerous: so many teams that flounder at the bottom simply stay there. Fans and sports experts alike write about the “mediocrity treadmill.” But I would rather be a team that’s on the mediocrity treadmill than wallowing in the gutters of the NBA standings. (Is that a mixed metaphor?)
On the other hand, the Mavs are five and a half games away from tying for the eighth playoff spot—with Houston, Portland, and the Lakers also competing for that same spot. Let’s say the Mavs fight hard and against all odds, they get the eighth spot. Sure, it’s a moral victory—something to take into the next season. However, let’s look at who they would most likely run into during the postseason.
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.