The Rundown, Volume XIV

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on February 11, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

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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.

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A Fantastic Fiasco

Posted by David Hopkins on February 5, 2013 under Commentary | 8 Comments to Read

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“Please. Please. We beg of you – have mercy. Have mercy on all our souls.” – Pastor Mike

“No.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

Another blow out.

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.

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Tabled Discussion

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 7, 2012 under Commentary | 6 Comments to Read

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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.

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Flying Buttress

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 13, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | Be the First to Comment

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Few teams know how to rally in the wake of a plan broken like the Dallas Mavericks; the same system of  contingency that netted the Mavericks Tyson Chandler in 2010 has struck again, this time with the expected acquisition of Elton Brand for the unexpected sum of $2.1 million, per Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That’s a quality get at a staggeringly low cost, and the latest in a series of moves that has returned Dallas to, if nothing else, competitive respectability. That’s miracle work considering where this team stood just a few days ago, and a strong endorsement in a front office that’s had a bit of a tough off-season. Losing out on potentially acquiring Deron Williams could still set this franchise back a few years, but the Mavericks front office has proven themselves more than capable of handling the interim with vision, purpose, and the utmost creativity.

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Negative Space

Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 11, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 7 Comments to Read

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The Mavericks may be rolling uphill, but at least they’re rolling. After adding Chris Kaman on a one-year deal that keeps next summer’s free agent hopes in check, Dallas quickly turned in a nice sign-and-trade deal for unrestricted free agent Ian Mahinmi, as first reported by Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. Mahinmi was almost certainly on his way out of Dallas, and in exchange for setting up their reserve center candidate with a four-year, $16 million deal, Dallas acquired Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones. If that isn’t enough for the something-for-nothing fetishists, I’m not sure what would be.

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Tracked Inertia

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary, Roster Moves | 7 Comments to Read

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The Dallas Mavericks can’t invest in long-term prospects and have seen the few possible short-term fixes pass them by. It’s a sad, treadmilled existence; the level of now-mandatory prudence keeps the Mavs in fine financial shape, but that alone doesn’t mean that they’re getting anywhere. The past week has demonstrated the tremendous risk involved in leveraging cap space, and yet Dallas has little option save to keep their books clear and try again.

But in the meantime, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson will surely clad all kinds of rentals in Maverick blue. Dallas is very much in the running for an amnestied Elton Brand, among other targets, but the first solidified get is Dirk Nowitzki’s kind-of-German national teammate, Chris Kaman, who according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, has agreed to terms on a one-year, $8 million deal. There’s not much flare to the pick-up, and not much potential; it’s a move designed solely to keep Dirk sane and the team’s head above water, and Kaman is a useful addition in both regards.

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Creatures of Excess

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 1, 2012 under Roster Moves | Be the First to Comment

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Supposing the roster can hold the weight of collective expectation, can a team ever really have too many project big men?

Apparently not. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Dallas will soon sign wayward forward Yi Jianlian to a one-year contract, filling out their 15-man roster and completing a trinity of low-cost gambles for a rotation big man.

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What’s Another Erlenmeyer Flask?

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 19, 2011 under Commentary, News, Roster Moves | Be the First to Comment

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Another day, another low-key signing by the Mavs with a potential payoff far greater than the risk. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Dallas is currently finalizing a two-year deal for former New Jersey Net and Texas Legend Sean Williams. It’s not a spectacular acquisition, but Williams — who wore out his NBA welcome during his tour in New Jersey from 2007-2010 — steps in as an immediate impact shot blocker with the potential to be a more complete defender.

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The Dream Never Died

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 14, 2011 under Commentary | 14 Comments to Read

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No team with Dirk Nowitzki at its core will ever be wholly conventional, but the Dallas teams of the last half-decade have become strategically tamer than some of the outlandish groups pieced together under Don Nelson’s tenure. The Mavericks iterations of the last few seasons have all had their quirks, but Rick Carlisle has largely remained true to positional orthodoxy in his lineup machinations. Carlisle demonstrates a clear willingness to push buttons (as evidenced by masterful lineup control in last year’s playoffs), but the cogs in his machine were largely in line with positional expectation.

All of that is about to change, as the Mavs have revamped their roster by adding a ridiculous amount of versatility. Tyson Chandler is long gone, and while his departure may leave Dallas with few precious traditional centers, the Mavs have other, more ambitious plans in mind.

“We still have the prototypical starting center in Brendan [Haywood] that’s still the quote-unquote ‘aircraft carrier,’” Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. “But now we’ve got the flexibility to slide Dirk [Nowitzki] a little bit over there, slide Lamar [Odom] over there a little bit, which gives us a whole different wrinkle. These guys are three-point threats. It’s kind of a different way to attack a same problem.”

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Overflow

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

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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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