Money Talks

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 20, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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The game of basketball has turned into the business of basketball. Players are still slowly learning that fact. Fans should understand that now. The 2010-11 Mavs are a great example of how business could get in the way of a good thing.

Dallas won the title that year and decided that it wasn’t a safe risk to “bring the band back” for another run at the title. Giving the core a chance to defend their title would have been enjoyable, but there was clear and reasonable logic behind the move the front office made. Mark Cuban has gotten a lot of heat for that decision, but the results of the playoffs this year suggest he was right for letting everyone go. As the Conference Finals are in motion, the Indiana Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi is the lone former Mav from the championship roster who still is playing.

Let’s look at what the Mavs would have theoretically had to do to bring most of the band back. Remember, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic are out of the league now. That leaves J.J. Barea, Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson and Jason Terry. One guy to remember but won’t exactly be figured into this equation – Corey Brewer. He signed a three-year, $9,177,000 deal. He is now a free agent.

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Passing Thoughts

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 14, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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Needless to say, there’s a lot of free time on my hands. I like to think when I have a lot of free time. I like to think when I do not have a lot of free time. With that in mind, I’ve sat and wondered about various subjects revolving around the Mavs. I went ahead and got my fingers working on the keyboard and came up with questions and answers about the Mavs. Here are 10 of the questions and answers now. I will share the other 10 later this week.

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Center Stage

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 10, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s time to wrap up the position by position evaluation. If the point guard position was the worst spot for the Mavs, the center position was the second choice. Folks got a harsh reminder that Tyson Chandler wasn’t going to be walking back through that door. Going into the 2011-12 season, Dallas had the likes of Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahinmi that had to be replaced.

They got creative by replenishing their center spot by signing veteran big man Chris Kaman to a one-year deal. They also claimed Elton Brand off waivers as he was released by Philadelphia due to the amnesty provision. Brandan Wright continued to log minutes at the center spot, but he also saw more time at the power forward position.

Summing it up:

The centers definitely never had a chance to get into a groove as both Kaman and Brand expected to be playing off of the attention that Dirk Nowitzki received from the opposing defenders. Dirk’s time away due to his knee surgery definitely altered that plan for both big men. That certainly changes the expected results for the centers, but the numbers are still pretty poor over the course of the season.

In terms of rebounds from the center position, Dallas’ centers tied for dead last in the league at 4.3 rebounds per game. The two teams they tied with made the playoffs, but they definitely had more to work with. The teams were the Los Angeles Clippers and the Miami Heat. Both teams were clearly limited with their size in the frontcourt, but they had athletes that helped masked that deficiency.

Those rebounding numbers for the center show a pretty significant correlation to the fact that they weren’t good at getting second chance points. Dallas’ centers were below average in second chance points as they only averaged 3.5 per game. New Orleans’ big men led the league in that category at 6.5 per game.

The Dallas centers had the 11th worst defensive rating for centers at 103.8. Elton Brand was brought in to be the enforcer and anchor in the paint. His defensive rating for the season was 102, better than his career average. He wasn’t necessarily outmatched in his position. Brand isn’t the tallest center in the world, but he’s able to use his frame and long arms as leverage as a defender. The problem was that he wasn’t necessarily set up in a position to succeed as the perimeter defenders weren’t exactly staying in front of their man. That forced the centers, like Brand, to help more than they probably should have needed to.

 What do they need?

You either believe you need a dominant center and pair him with Dirk, or you need a highly-skilled point guard and pair him with Dirk. Both would clearly be ideal, but it’s entirely possible the Mavs might have to select just one option.

It’s always ideal to now follow the blueprint that was created with Tyson Chandler. Dirk has said it over and over again that a mobile center who can play defense is one that works best alongside him. Comparing this summer to next summer, this summer’s crop has the potential to bear more fruit as next summer has intriguing names but the options are relatively limited. That means centers, which always get paid, will really get paid next summer because the options are just so limited.

Through free agency and the draft, there will be plenty of options for Dallas when looking at centers. It is very evident that, like the point guard position, they really need to take care of the center position this offseason. It will be very interesting to see which route they take when it comes to the center spot.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

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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Fourth Round of Bloom and Doom

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on April 2, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s time for another round of Bloom and Doom.

In an effort to keep the discussion going, I sought out ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon for his opinion on pressing issues for the Dallas Mavericks. You can view MacMahon’s coverage of the Mavericks at ESPNDallas.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @espn_macmahon. Periodically, we have touched base and discussed topics with our own unique point of view. It’s been a while, so it was necessary for us to reconnect and agree and disagree on a few subjects.

MacMahon likes to call it like he sees it. That perspective can hover on the other end of the spectrum from my optimistic viewpoint on things. You could say it’s a classic case of good cop, bad cop. Our different perspectives should make for an interesting conversation on hot topics revolving around the Mavs.

This round of bloom and doom analyzes if Rick Carlisle is having the coaching performance of his career, which 2011 departure would fit best this year and other topics.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 83, Indiana Pacers 103

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 16, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

 

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Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game Flow

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

  • Dallas has lost five games. In four of those five losses they were leading at half time. I do not know what this means. I do not know how to correct it other than to say “hit shots”.  Someone on the TMG staff should look into this phenomenon because it has plagued the Dallas offense heading back into last season.
  • O.J. Mayo (19 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) has a way of disappearing for huge stretches of time. Yes, he scored 19 points, but 11 of those 19 points came in the first fifteen minutes of game action. Expecting him to score 40 is unreasonable, but he can affect the game in other ways when he chooses to assert himself. Tonight, he looked like the player others have accused him of being.
  • Chris Kaman (8 points, 10 rebounds) needs to slow down.  He shot 4 of 12 from the field tonight and at least 3 of his 4 makes came within the flow of the offense. He insisted on trying to take the taller Roy Hibbert one on one  for the remainder of his attempts and most of them were simply awful decisions.
  • I don’t know what to make of Elton Brand’s (7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks) continued struggles offensively.  I believe his shot was blocked three times tonight.  I assumed the Pacers’ length would give Dallas trouble, but Brand is a crafty player.  His field goal percentage is a very Odom-like 36.8% for the year. I appreciate how he manages to contribute in other ways, but Dallas really needs him to be more of a threat offensively.
  • The two former Clippers combined to shoot 7 for 20 with one free throw attempted between them.
  • Bernard “Sarge” James played his best game as a pro, with 9 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 16 minutes.
  • Roddy Beaubois is 4-22 from the field since returning from his ankle sprain.
  • Darren Collision (10 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds) played one of his worst games as a Mav while hoping to play his best.  Perhaps calling it “his worst” game is embracing a hyperbole, but Collison played quite poorly, posting a +/- of negative 19, the worst on the Dallas roster.
  • Shawn Marion (2 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) started tonight. He looked rusty, but he was also covering ground well and didn’t seem to be in any pain.  That bodes well for the future.
  • Carlisle opted to start Mayo on Paul George to start the game, an odd decision considering Mayo is still learning how to play defense and Shawn Marion was available. Marion started the second half on George, but I remain confused by the assignment. If Carlisle was concerned at all for Marion, he should not have played him. With respect to Mayo, I’ll take a one legged Shawn Marion on defense over most of the Dallas roster.
  • Paul George (11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) will be incredibly dangerous should he ever put it all together on a consistent basis.  He lit Dallas on fire last year, scoring 30 the only time the two teams matched up.  He’s taller than his listed height and is still clearly learning the game.  In an age when we’re spoiled by wings like Durant and Lebron, its important to keep an eye on a guy like George. He entered the league young and might not find his game for a few more years. If he does, he will be a devastating player.
  • I miss Ian Mahinmi (7 points, 4 fouls). Remember this?
  • Dallas lost tonight despite not turning the ball over too much (11 times) and keeping the rebounding margin within a reasonable amount.  Most of the offensive turnovers happened in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand.  As Bryan was talking about tonight on twitter, that Dallas lost despite this is maddening.
  • The shooting once again was a major culprit (Dallas shot 37% from the floor).  It has to be a healthy mix of bad luck and poor shot selection as the shot chart would indicate there were a lot of long two point shots from everyone.
  • Carlisle opted to go zone when Paul George picked up his 4th foul and the Pacers responded by expanding their slim lead in a hurry. The Pacer ball movement was shockingly good, considering their offensive struggles this year.  Considering that the Pacers were dead last in the league in field goal percentage, they were bound to break out of their slump at some point. It figures it would be against Dallas.
  • Former Mav Gerald Green has found a home in Indiana, and he looked solid tonight.  His talent is so obvious (at one point tonight he hit a turn around and-one over Roddy that looked to be out of a video game) I’m glad he finally found a place to play.
  • 33, 35, 40, 43, and 34.  Those are the second half point totals from Dallas in the five losses.
  • The decision to go with Troy Murphy over Brandan Wright probably vexes a lot of casual fans.  To some degree it does me as well, yet in the first half it was obvious why Wright saw so little action.  In his two minutes of playing time he picked up two fouls simply because his match up exploited his general lack of strength. In the fourth quarter, while Wright was playing, Dallas surrendered 5 offensive boards. This isn’t the sort of stat the coaching staff can ignore, even if its not entirely his fault.
  • On the flip side, Lance Stephenson and Sam Young shot a combined 11-20 for 29 points for Indiana. That sort of role player contribution is hard to over come.
  • The Mavericks are asking too much of Vince Carter. His play has declined as the season has wore along because opposing teams key in on the fact that he’s the only Mav capable of attacking the bucket with regularity. This is frustrating because its not entirely true, as Mayo and Collison are both capable, but don’t seem to want to force the issue the way Vince is willing to. Vince is at his best as a spot up shooter and attacking weaker, second string small forwards and shooting guards. I expect him to find his groove again upon Dirk’s return.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family.  Follow him on twitter @KirkSeriousFace 

 

Setting the Table: Indiana Pacers (Game 10)

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

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For the Dallas Mavericks (5-4), it’s another weekend, another back-to-back against Eastern Conference opponents. They will start it off by facing the Indiana Pacers (3-6). The Mavericks are 1-1 in the first half of a back-to-back and 0-2 in the second half of a back-to-back this season. The Mavericks have 16 back-to-backs in 2012-13, with only one stretch of four games in five nights. In total, 10 back-to-backs are on the road, three begin at home and conclude on the road and three are road-to-home. Dallas played 22 back-to-backs in 2011-12, going 7-15 in the first half and 13-9 in the second half of those back-to-backs.

There will be reunions as Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones and Ian Mahinmi get to see their former teams for the first time this season. More importantly, it appears Shawn Marion (sprained MCL) is going to give it a go and play against the Pacers. He has missed the last five games due to the injury.

Here are some notes to get you ready for the game between the Mavericks and the Pacers.

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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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Dinner, Tournament, and Developing Big Man

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 4, 2012 under xOther | 4 Comments to Read

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Photo via Ian Mahinmi.

Regular posting resumes tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy Medieval Times vicariously through Ian Mahinmi.

The Difference: Oklahoma City Thunder 103, Dallas Mavericks 97

Posted by Rob Mahoney on May 5, 2012 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot Chart — Game Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas92.0105.448.130.425.012.7
Oklahoma City112.058.026.717.613.4

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

  • You know what they say: If you’re going to lose a winnable series in four games, at least go out in an exhibition for one of the game’s most fantastically understated players, supplying the wood for his buzzsaw in what one can ultimately assume will be a daunting display of razor-focused finesse and craftsmanship. James Harden (29 points, 11-16 FG, 3-4 3FG, five rebounds, five assists) gets a raw deal because the public’s attention span can only extend to two star teammates at a time, but he’s far too good to be relegated as some distant third, and far too lethal to be ignored, even for a second. Dallas tried a number of coverages from a variety of directions in the fourth quarter, but none of it mattered — Harden attacked from the same point on the floor at the same angle, repeatedly bludgeoning the Mavericks with his own unique grace. And, as an important extension: credit upon credit to Scott Brooks, who afforded Harden the opportunities he needed without the slightest interference. Harden keyed the offense and out-dueled Dirk Nowitzki, all because his teammates agreed to spot up from the perimeter, because his coach saw an opening and exploited it, and because he’s a ridiculously difficult pick-and-roll cover.

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