Heard It Through the Grapevine 3-27-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 27, 2009 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Tim MacMahon of the DMN Mavs Blog: “Jason Kidd is not participating in this morning’s shootaround due to lower back pain. The 36-year-old is getting treatment, and his status for tonight’s game against Chauncey Billups’ Denver Nuggets is uncertain.”  Yikes.  If there’s a good-great point guard in the league that Kidd should be able to matchup with, it’s Billups, and if the Mavs truly have their sights set for the 7 seed, they can’t afford to let Billups run hog wild.
  • Carlisle refers to Chris “The Birdman” Andersen simply as “that crazy guy.”  Fair enough.
  • Gerald Green got the feature treatment at the Dallas Morning News.  From Eddie Sefko: “‘There’s a fine line between aggression and discretion,’ Carlisle said. ‘Gerald’s an aggressive player and as a coach, you never want to take any of that away. He’s come a long way since summer league. He’s helped us win some games. And he’s much better defensively than he was. And last night, he played a very patient offensive game.’…Green is learning that he doesn’t have to shoot to be effective. He’s so long and athletic that he can impact a game in many ways. It’s a matter of learning how to do so. Carlisle gave Green this message: ‘We love the way you’re aggressive and the way you can score. We want you to be an all-around player. We know you can do it.’ ‘And I know I can do it,’ Green said. ‘So I want to work on getting my teammates the ball because now, when I do get the ball, teams always think I’m going to shoot it. I want other players aware that I will pass it to them. And that keeps the other team on their toes.’”

  • Devean George’s arthroscopic knee surgery was a success.  A speedy recovery to George, but not too speedy if yaknawwhamean.
  • What tunes does Coach Carlisle groove to?

Dallas Mavericks 128, Golden State Warriors 106

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 26, 2009 under Recaps | 6 Comments to Read

Photo by AP Photo/LM Otero.

Box ScorePlay-By-PlayShot ChartGameFlow

“i m in ur internet, clogin ur tubes.”
-LOLCat

Last night I learned the dangers of putting all your eggs in one basket.  I typically partake of my Dallas Mavericks through NBA League Pass Broadband, but having spotty internet prevented me from watching the game, even in archive.

At this point in the season, I refuse to play catch up.  I could have a real recap for you tonight or maybe tomorrow, but what’s the point?  This is the internets, and if information is 15 minutes late it’s already irrelevant.  Comes with the territory, I guess.

On the bright side, it’s a great opportunity to hear your thoughts on the game.  You know the drill: tell me some of the little things that made the Mavs’ win last night notable.  Whose contributions didn’t show up in the box score?  Who gets player of the game honors?  How limited did Stephen Jackson look given his injury?  What’s your estimate of Don Nelson’s blood alcohol level?

Here are my superficial observations:

  • Erick Dampier made his return to the tune of 8 points, 10 rebounds, and a +11 for the night.  Not too shabby against a team that he’s not supposed to be able to play against.  Although, for what it’s worth, not having to chase Al Harrington to the three point line or box out Andris Biedrins from getting to the offensive glass is helpful.  Ronny Turiaf and Brandan Wright don’t have evident means of punishing Dampier offensively, so giving him some burn against a team like this seems like a no-brainer.
  • Dirk, JET, and Kidd all played less than 35 minutes (33, 32, and 31 respectively), giving them some much needed rest.  Those three are going to have to be in better than top shape if Dallas wants a shot at anyone in the playoffs.
  • J.J. Barea for the win.  20 points (8-13 FG), 7 assists, and 3 steals.  From my understanding he was every bit the Mavs’ sparkplug, which is precisely the role he needs to fill.
  • Gerald Green supposedly logged some meaningful minutes, but let’s not throw a party just yet, kay?

So fill up the comments guys.  What should I look for/make special note of when I’m watching this one?

Heard It Through the Grapevine 3-26-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under xOther | Read the First Comment

  • Why are the Mavs still wearing ‘Los Mavs’ jerseys?  I was under the impression that the celebration lasted a night or two, maybe a week tops.
  • Jason Kidd is among the latest to help champion the cause for 6-year-old Jasmina, a girl diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia whose survival demands a bone marrow transplant.  Kidd will be doing his cheek swab test later today, but those in the Dallas area will have their chance this weekend at the NorthPark Center.  Details here.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “Don Nelson has seen this setup before and he thinks the Mavericks – or somebody else in the Western Conference – could join the Warriors as No. 8 seeds who have beaten the top-seeded team in a best-of-7 first round. Why? Because injuries are playing such havoc with the West. Nelson firmly believes that with the Lakers missing center Andrew Bynum, nothing is guaranteed. ‘I don’t think everybody’s as deep as they thought,’ Nelson said. ‘Even the Lakers are lacking something. They’re still winning, but they’re not as powerful. But if Bynum doesn’t come back, they’re as vulnerable as anybody else who’s missing a major player.’”
  • Gerald Green getting some love from his coach and himself after his performance last night (via Tim MacMahon of the DMN Mavs Blog): “‘Gerald Green gave us a big boost — in 18 minutes, going for 14 points,’ Rick Carlisle said. ‘He just played a real solid, sensible game.’ We all know the ex-Slam Dunk champ is capable of the spectacular. Solid and sensible? He’ll have a long future in the league if that becomes a trend. Green grabbed five rebounds and actually had an assist — his 14th in 327 minutes this season. He made six of 10 shots from the floor, and I can only recall one that I thought was forced, which he tends to do too often. Of course, Green did give the fans an ooooooh moment, throwing down a two-hand windmill jam on a breakaway during garbage time. Antoine Wright mentioned to Green in the locker room after the game that Golden State’s Keleena Azubuike had a chance to catch up on the play. Green cracked a big smile. ‘He didn’t want none of that duh-duh-duh,’ Green said, busting a bit of the SportsCenter tune.”
  • In the not exactly hyped, hardly anticipated battle of Barea v. Ellis, the winner (by virtue of TKO) might surprise you.  Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com explains: “JJB did more than ‘avoid being at a disadvantage.’ He confused Ellis and the Warriors off the dribble, used the alley-oop pass to get to seven assists, and got to the rim with ease, shooting 8-of-11 in large part due to his cleverness among the interior trees. Bamboozled ‘em, is what he did. Barea was almost single-handedly responsible for an 8-0 surge at the end of the third quarter. He made three consecutive whirling-dervish layups and then on a fourth try, earned a trip to the line. He started the fourth with more of the same, getting the Mavs rolling with yet another acrobatic layin. ‘They kept calling that high pick-and-roll for me,’ JJB said, ‘and I kept being aggressive.’ Ellis is touted as a Golden State star, and he was good, with 22 points and five assists. JJB isn’t much touted. But he was good, with 20 points, seven assists and three steals. If Dallas’ backup point guard is going to match Golden State’s star point guard. … well, Golden State is going to lose by 22 or so.”
  • Mark Cuban uses a quiet, almost reporter-less moment to reflect on the future of sports media coverage in the Dallas area: “It was a sad moment. Yesterday, prior to the Mavs – Warriors game I went through my pre game routine on the Gauntlet.  Over the years the number of people asking me questions has varied from game to game.  From as many as 10 to as of yesterday, one. Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News was there to ask some questions. There weren’t bloggers. There weren’t wire service writers.  Just Eddie…The Morning News and all the local papers and online and offline media are still covering the Mavs. We still get the ink, but the real question is what would happen if our local papers shut down and went online only? How would we reach the casual fan that wont invest time to go to the online sports section or the Mavs website?”
  • David Moore of the DMN Mavs Blog brings up a very interesting point to consider: The Mavericks are trying to keep Phoenix in their rear view mirror. The more the Suns win…the longer it delays the Mavericks securing a playoff spot. But here’s the other side of the equation. The more the Suns win against teams ahead of the Mavericks in the standings, as they did Wednesday night against Utah, the better chance the Mavericks have to move up and out of the No. 8 seed. Every Phoenix win against the top teams in the West drags those teams back toward Dallas. The Suns have five games left against teams ahead of them in the West standings. What do you think? Is it better for the Mavericks if they win most of those games, or lose them?”
  • It seems more common than it really is, but in last night’s 22-point win over Golden State, there wasn’t a single Maverick with a negative +/-.  The lowest was Brandon Bass with a neutral zero.  I know it’s a blowout, but that’s still impressive given how close the game was in the first half.
  • What does Rick Carlisle do when he gets tossed out of a game?  From Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “‘The first thing you got to do is find a TV and watch what goes on,’ Carlisle said. ‘You’re allowed to talk to the team at halftime and I’ve done that. But if you’re going to get thrown out of games, you got to have good assistants, who can take over and get you in a position to win. I have no concern about that with my guys. [Assistants Dwane Casey and Terry Stotts] are very experienced. If it happens here, I sit in my office. If it happens on the road, wherever the TV is, that’s where I go…I watch with interest, obviously. But there’s only so much you can do back there.’”

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 28, 2009 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • A nice article from Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times detailing how NBA players feel about the zone defense.  The Mavs warrant a specific mention as one of the teams that uses the zone in spots to disrupt key gameplans, and I have no qualms with that application.  Would the zone worsen the NBA game if used for 48 minutes?  Probably.  Penetration is what the pro game is all about, but if you sell your soul a few times to stop a crucial inbounds play or force an opposing coach to take an extra timeout, it seems worthwhile to me.  Royce from Daily Thunder made note of the Mavs’ zone in his recap: “Dallas’s defense was also very tricky. They would slip in and out of zone coverage with no warning at all. It worked really well in the fourth when Westbrook had back to back turnovers trying to drive.”
  • A cool anecdote via Eddie Sefko on the DMN Mavs Blog: “Dirk Nowitzki on Kidd’s two fourth-quarter 3-pointers: ‘It’s funny. I said to him when we were both out of the game and were on the sidelines in the fourth quarter: Do you have one shot in you? He said: Yes, that’s about all I’ve got tonight. I knew (Russell) Westbrook would leave him as soon as I turned my back, so I was able to deliver the ball to J-Kidd and he knocked it down. That’s why he’s a hall of famer for us.’”
  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com makes note of James Singleton’s increased role off the bench.  Given what Singleton’s been able to accomplish on the glass and his startling offensive production, he’s earned every second of playing time he’s getting.  The Mavs have yet to face a post scoring threat with Singleton as a primary contributor, and that remains my primary concern: how will Singleton match up defensively with players in prime position to take advantage of his lack of size at the 5?  Luckily for the Mavs those players are few and far between, especially off the pine.
  • The JET is officially “back on the runway,” and has been cleared for practice.  I need you back in my life, JET.
  • Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News on what I think is one of the Mavs’ biggest flaws: “…they settle for the long shot way too often. Probably the worst thing that happened was that they actually made their last two in the overtime to sack up the victory. That’s the last thing they need – thinking they can rely on the 3-ball at crunch time. The Mavericks will tell you they are shooting most of those 3-pointers in the rhythm of the game and that if they don’t take those shots, the court shrinks because the defense sags off and cuts off driving and passing lanes. That may be true. And when Jason Kidd bails them out with two of the 3-pointers in overtime, maybe it’s a case of the law of averages evening out. But you just get the feeling that the Mavericks are playing with fire.”
  • Did Gerald Green see the floor because his agent happened to stop through Dallas this week?  I wouldn’t put it outside the realm of possibility, but I’m sure the Mavs’ foul troubles had something to do with it as well.  Either way, I never mind seeing more of Green.
  • I’m sure that Rick Carlisle could pick apart the game from start to finish, but his postgame comments seemed to reflect relief (via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News): “‘Look, we got out of here alive,’ said Rick Carlisle. ‘It’s pretty much that simple. There are some things we were guilty of that put us in a bad position in the game. We’ve got to continue to address those things. But I’m happy to win.’”

Heard It Through the Grapevine 2-25-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 25, 2009 under xOther | 2 Comments to Read

  • Please.  Please.  Please.  Put Gerald Green in the 2010 dunk contest.
  • Graydon Gordian of 48 Minutes of Hell has some love for Michael Finley after last night’s game, and he better, after that flashback of a performance: “No discussion of this evening’s game would be complete without a brief mention of Michael Finley, who nailed three straight 3-pointers in the 4th to put the game solidly out of reach. Finley may not be the scorer he once was, but he plays with an air of grizzled malice that I continue to appreciate. He remains a fearless contributor, and although his fearlessness is just as likely to produce misguided fadeaways as it is dagger 3s, I do love the stern sense of pride he emits when his shot is dropping (I’m going to ignore the fact that, if you take away Finley’s 4 3-pointers on 4 attempts, the Spurs were 2 of 16 from beyond the arc).”
  • How exactly does a cast of Kurt Thomas, Matt Bonner, and Fabricio Oberto manage to handcuff one of the premier offensive talents in the league?  Mike Fisher breaks it down: “I believe during the telecast Mark and Bob mentioned something about Dirk being ‘in a war,’ a compliment to SA’s rugged defense. And after the game, Dirk noted all the double-teams he faced. I’m sure they’re right, but I’ll tell you what I saw: A journeyman in Kurt Thomas squaring up with Dirk and surviving it. A complete stiff like Bonner (hehe, I said “stiff’’ and “bonner’’) playing ball denial and Nowitzki and the Mavs finding no solution for it. Fabio getting in his face, one-on-one, and Dirk not being able to spring free.”
  • Thank you, David Moore, for allowing us all a sigh of relief.  From the Dallas Morning News: “But when New York reached a buyout agreement with its petulant star Tuesday, the Mavericks never discussed adding him to the roster. The decision had nothing to do with reports that Marbury is destined to land in Boston. It had everything to do with the improved play of J.J. Barea. ‘We looked at it early in the season,’ owner Mark Cuban said of pursuing Marbury if he were released. ‘But J.J. is playing a whole lot better.’”  With Barea’s play of late, he deserves it.  He does tend to force the action on occasion, but his helter skelter, penetration-heavy style is a nice contrast to the passivity the rest of the team comes to embody from time to time.
  • Rick Carlisle shares our displeasure with last night’s efforts.  Via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News: About 42 minutes of a [butt]-kicking…We threw about six, tough minutes at them in the second quarter. The rest of the time, they dominated the game with their disposition and how they played.’
  • Mark Cuban refuses to let sleeping dogs lie, and decided to rip into SanAn’s premier attraction once again: “‘Now that they’re cleaning it up, my next project is to tell them they need to put up those little aluminum things to keep people from falling in,’ Cuban said before his team played the Spurs. ‘Maybe I’ll start a website, Ifellintheriverwalk.com to find out how many people have fallen in and what has happened to them. I just want to know. Send me your pictures to Ifellintheriverwalk.com.”  For what it’s worth, he’s right.  And for what it’s worth, the Mavs made sure that the Riverwalk wasn’t the only thing in San Antonio that was “ugly-ass” last night.

Dirk did an interview with Five Magazine.  Here are some highlights from Part 1:

  • On why he works so hard to improve his game every summer: “…That’s what makes it a challenge, playing away from your weaknesses or attacking those of your opponents. That’s what makes a team sport attractive. Finding a way to win despite your own weaknesses is important. But, sure it’s bitter sometimes when a teammate doesn’t invest the necessary time. The best example was Shawn Bradley. He would some times come to training camp and not had a ball in his hands for four months. But what can you do? There is no rule. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves how to stay fit.” (Emphasis mine.)
  • On the possibility of missing the post-season: “Not even reaching the playoffs? I am too old for that now. And Mark Cuban and General Manager Donnie Nelson know that. I cannot imagine us making any moves which would cost us a spot in the playoffs. We still have a playoff-caliber team. And even if things absolutely do not work out with Kidd, I cannot imagine that we would drastically make the team younger as long as I’m in Dallas.”
  • On the notion that he may never win a title: “I saw an interesting interview with Charles Barkely. He was talking about his career and said he can’t blame himself because he always gave 100 percent. That’s how I see it. I have given my all for the last 10 years in Dallas. And if that’s not enough, I can’t do anything else. Then at 35, 36 – however long I can go – I can retire and say: “In the summer and winter I gave everything I had for my team.” Unfortunately not everybody can win. But I hope that I can still fulfill my dream in the future.”
  • On his basketball future: “Of course it would be more exciting to do it in Dallas and being the franchise player. The best thing would be me carrying the team to the title. But the other teams have gotten so strong, also through some unfair trades – Pau Gasol to Los Angeles and Kevin Garnett to Boston. Maybe I will see if it helps changing teams in like three years. Maybe it won’t be fun any more or I can’t keep up with the athleticism anymore. Maybe I will play in Europe again. I can imagine all of that. What Karl Malone did back then – heading to L.A. after all those years in Utah – yeah it was a little questionable. But when you want the championship so bad, then you can’t rule out a move like that.”

Heard It Through the Grapevine 2-20-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 20, 2009 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • The trade deadline came and went without any intrigue in Mavericks Land.  Considering the options available, I’m not all that disappointed.  It’s fun to ponder what’s going to become of your team’s newest trade acquisition, but I’ve got my own reasons for being optimistic.
  • Mentioned in my earlier post, but in case you didn’t see it: Amar’e Stoudemire will miss a minimum of eight weeks after he had successful eye surgery this morning.  Here’s to wishing for a speedy, successful recover for Amar’e; eye injuries are almost unspeakable in my mind.  I’m cringing just thinking about it.
  • On top of that, Manu Ginobili will miss 2-3 weeks with a bum ankle.
  • Who are the biggest ‘black holes’ in the NBA?  One statistical analysis includes Gerald Green and Josh Howard among the most infamous vacuums. (H/T Matt Moore)
  • There’s nothing wrong with building up your long-term plans with a little short-term optimism, right?  Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News briefly outlines the Maverick mindset: “The long-term goals are clear. The Mavericks are determined to save every penny they can on the 2009-10 payroll so that they can make a run at one or more of the free agents that summer. In the meantime, the Mavericks have won seven of nine and are positioned well to make a run at the No. 4 playoff seed in the final two months.”
  • It looks like we’ll be seeing Jerry Stackhouse sooner rather than later.  Stack will make the road trip, and might even get some burn tonight.
  • DallasBasketball.com’s David Lord is a bit disenchanted with the usual lip service: “After the deadline passed, Donnie Nelson gave out the typical non-move mantra: “‘We like our boys in blue, and we’re going to war with ‘em.’ My reaction? As a fan hoping for packages to unwrap on Christmas morn, kinda threw up in my mouth when I heard it. For a fan, it’s trite. Predictable. Unsatisfying. While we understand their need to pat the existing roster on the head here and there and claim ‘Golly gee oh wow they are our favorite players in the whole wide world!’ … I wouldn’t mind a more frank exchange between management and fans in which we all admit, ‘We know this team isn’t as good as we want it to be, we hope you know it, too, and we all are in this together to make it better.’”
  • Just in case you need a reminder, Dirk is really good at basketball.  There’s some generalizing in there and a bit of overstatement (I wouldn’t be so sure Dirk is a top 5 player), but it’s nice to have a reminder of just how spoiled we are by Nowitzki.
  • Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Typically that should tell you to bring your appropriate grain of salt, but Galloway, barring some usual light provocation, is more tolerable than usual.): “Doing nothing at the trading deadline, I guess, could be called another stubborn, defiant and stupid decision by owner Mark Cuban in an attempt to justify his failed meddling. Normally, I would gleefully support all three theories — stubborn, defiant and basketball stupid — when it comes to Cuban. But … nada. Not this time. I even agree with Cuban. Which scares me.”

Player Valuations: Gerald Green

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 18, 2009 under Commentary, xOther | Be the First to Comment

Specs: Shooting guard/small forward.  6’8”, 200 lbs.

2008-2009 Stats: 5.5 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 44.4% FG, 31.4% 3FG, 11.3 PER

Why we want him: Gerald Green is what the Mavericks are not. Young.  Athletic.  Full of promise.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.  He’s undisciplined.  Turnover-prone.  Looks lost on defense when he’s not on the ball (okay, maybe he and the Mavs have something in common).  All that said, Green is exactly what you want out of your minimum salary players.  He gives fans something to cheer for and a reason to hope.  Green seems legitimately set on developing his game to trump his reputation as a dunker (boy, can he get up) and that type of mindset has a lot of people optimistic.  I don’t think he’ll suddenly actualize the superstar projections, but if the Mavs hold the course and provide Green with a steady environment, he could be a valuable weapon as a starting complement or second unit artillery.

Why they want him: He’s a low risk, high reward player.  I could see a lot of ‘older’ teams liking Green as a trade throw-in because of his contract and his athleticism.  Let him incubate for awhile, throw a few minutes his way every now and then, and hope for the best.  If he turns out to be a reliable contributor, awesome.  If not, oh well.

Trade value: Low-Moderate.  Since the Mavs lack expendable draft picks, the best way they can “sweeten the pot” of any potential trade is to throw in either Brandon Bass or Gerald Green.  Bass’ value is much higher than Green’s, but Gerald still presents an intriguing opportunity and an easy-to-swallow contract.

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.

Jason Terry and the Riddle of the Sphinx

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

Alright, sleuths, I’ve got one for you: what happens when a team that stands on two legs in the morning and on two legs at noon has one of those legs chopped off in the evening?

We’re about to find out.

Dirk is unquestionably steak sauce (A-1, yo), but Jason Terry is a fantastic complement.  He’s second on the team in points per game and points per minute, trails only behind Dirk in PER, and boasts impressive percentages all around.  Jason Kidd and Josh Howard have each had their moments, but neither has matched Terry’s excellence or stability.  And don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?  This time I think we’ve got a vague idea:  The Mavs will hop around on one foot and pray for the rest of the West to stumble.

There’s no official word on JET’s return date, but Dr. Terry’s own prognosis is three weeks.  Here’s to hoping his extensive training in the medical field pays off.  Regardless, the Mavs are relatively fortunate to have the All-Star break on the horizon.  No one in the conference has a team to spare in the standings, least of all those hovering between seven and niner.  So at least Terry will miss less gametime than he would have otherwise.  That said, Terry’s still going to miss a bit, and that means it’s time to talk solutions.  No one on the roster can fill his role straight-up, and no one is going to match his point-for-point production at anywhere near his level of efficiency.  So where do we go from here?  I thought you’d never ask.

What the Mavs should do: Tell Gerald Green that his vacation at the end of the bench is about to be over.  What’s the worst that could happen?  No, he can’t play defense all that well, but his stints earlier this season showed that he can be the pure shot of scoring adrenaline that the Mavs need.  Besides, Green’s defensive troubles are probably equal to Barea’s, and the other alternatives don’t supply much in the way of offense.  Green’s weaknesses were magnified when he was moved into the starting lineup, but playing against the inferior competition on the second units of the league could make him a nice supplement.  He doesn’t need or deserve Terry’s 30-or-so minutes a night, but I don’t see the harm in giving 15 or 20 minutes to a player whose per-minute line (18.3 points per 36 minutes, 5.5 RP36, almost 45% from the field) looks quite a bit like Josh Howard’s and matches Terry in defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions; 110).  A combination of J.J. Barea and Antoine Wright can fill in the rest of the minutes void.

What the Mavs should not do: Depend on Jerry Stackhouse or make a panic trade.  The whispers of Stack’s return to relevance have been a bit infuriating.  Stackhouse is a 34 year-old in steady decline with a contract that makes him a valuable trade commodity.  He’s far from the missing piece that would thrust the Mavericks into championship contention, so why is his name even coming up?  His value only goes down from here, and it would seem like a foolish move to not capitalize on his virtually expiring contract while it’s still an option.  Beyond that, expecting a guy who’s been injured all season to suddenly step up and fill Terry’s role is a bit far-fetched.  After all, if Stack was a questionable defender and notorious for settling for jumpers before, how will those areas of his game be influenced by a tender foot?

I do not want to see the Mavs settle on a trade for a lesser wing talent in the name of filling in for Terry.  The Mavs really don’t have all that many attractive, tradable assets to spare, and if any are wasted for such a ridiculous purpose it could really set the team back.

What the Mavs probably will do: Rely on J.J. Barea, Antoine Wright, and Josh Howard to make it work.  J.J. was a baller earlier this season when he was trying to hedge Howard’s absence, and he can do some of the same things that Terry can.  Considering the circumstances, it’s not a bad option.  Still, if you’re going to give the minutes to J.J., why not at least roll the dice with Green?

Expect Antoine Wright’s minutes and shot attempts to take a bump, but neither is great for the team.  Wright’s not bad, and on some level I appreciate his commitment to attack the basket, but his ability to contribute in a meaningful way seems limited.

As Fish points out, the idea of “stepping up” is kinda silly, but if any Mav increases his production as his responsibilities increase, it’s Josh Howard.  Howard’s season has been frustrating to say the least, but in the past Josh has had a tendency to respond in a big way when Dirk is out.  This situation is a little different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cross our fingers and hope everything turns out for the best.  This injury could be the best thing that could happen for Josh’s season: a chance for him to “step up” and maintain solid production with increased shot attempts and a more featured role in the offense.  Does Josh’s play this season warrant that kind of ‘raise?’  Nope, not a bit.  But unless Josh Howard criticisms double as magical hand-healing bandages, this isn’t really the time.  “Stepping up” may be a presumptuous concept, but if a player is getting more shots and more touches, I think it’s fair to ask for an increase in production.

Heard It Through the Grapevine 1-23-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 23, 2009 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • As spectators and fans, we often assume that hundreds of thousands/millions of dollars is enough to keep a group of guys constantly motivated.  It just doesn’t happen.  Still, having the Milwaukee Bucks spit in your face and kick you in the shins might be a place to draw the line.  Rick Carlisle is convinced that the Mavs’ woes are an issue of effort (from Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News): ““Hard play is the biggest key to winning in this league, other than having enough talent,” Carlisle said. “I love the talent on our team, but we don’t have the kind of talent to win on talent alone. That’s a fact. And most teams in the league are in the same position. We got to fight every night for wins. It’s just never easy.”"

    After watching Wednesday’s curb stomp, it’s hard to argue otherwise.  But I have some food for thought: if Carlisle is willing to place the blame on “not playing hard enough,” (and believe me, that could be quite the red herring here), is it possible that the basketball mantra against the “jump-shooting team” may not be so accurate after all?  Is it really a matter of execution rather than approach?  Madness instead of method?

    Former NBA coach Eric Musselman runs one of the best coaching blogs on the planet, and he supplements a quote from Carlisle with the following quote from the legendary Pete Carril’s book: ” “Defense is not a variable. It’s a constant. Shooting is a variable. Contesting a shot is not a variable. Skill is a variable. Work is not a variable, not a skill; it’s an attitude. Defense has to be deeply embedded in your attitude.” ” (Emphasis his)

  • Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has another article on Maverick duality: “Jason Kidd describes the Mavericks as “a little Jekyll and Hyde right now.” A little? And only right now? Kidd’s view is an accurate summary of the Mavericks not only because of their recent play, but also for the way they’ve played for much of the season. To put it another way, they seem to have an aversion to prosperity.”
  • One of the big topics after acquiring Ryan Hollins was lack of defensive discipline.  We’ve seen it a few times already.  But Hollins is saying all the right things to the media, and it sounds like it’s already a point of emphasis for him in terms of improving his game.  In the meantime, just keep your fingers crossed that Damp doesn’t get injured.  From Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: “Hollins, a 7-foot center, has played more minutes than Carroll and has exhibited his athleticism. But Hollins said he has to concentrate on reining in his boundless enthusiasm for blocking shots. “You got to use some discretion,” he said. “The one I went after [against the Bucks] was a little out of frustration. But other than that, I try to go after everything. I’d rather err on the side of aggression than laying back and being timid.” “
  • Gerald Green is one of my favorite Mavericks.  In terms of raw promise, he gives the Mavs a potential star they haven’t had since 2004 at the latests.  He’s got a helluva lot to work on at this point, but I’m glad to see that he keeps his ‘mates as entertained as he keeps me.  From Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Green outlines a possible plan for the 2010 dunk contest in Dallas: ” “He does it about twice a week,” Antoine Wright said of Green’s dunk show. “He hasn’t blown out the candle yet. But he said if he is in the dunk contest and it’s in Dallas, he wants to get a pass from a quarterback full court — full court from Tony Romo. I said, ‘You might get a 50 [perfect score] with that one.’ ” “