A Glimpse of Greatness

Posted by David Hopkins on April 9, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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“Know me… and know fear.” – Galactus, Devourer of Worlds

This offseason, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson will need to look at the current roster and evaluate which players are a priority. It’s difficult to decide if a good game represents a glimpse of greatness or a fleeting moment. In other words: should we expect more from them or are these anomalies, outliers, from subpar players? Of course, consistency would be nice, but so few of the new players this season were consistent.

To help Cuban and Nelson, I offer my rundown of “best games” from the players who had their first season in Dallas (thus, no Brandan Wright, but I already covered him last week). I also limited my list to players who had significant minutes this season (no Anthony Morrow or Jared Cunningham).

Elton Brand
Best game: December 1st vs. Detroit, Mavs win 92 to 77
Stats of note: 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks
From the game recap, Kirk Henderson wrote: “A healthy round of applause for Elton Brand (17 points, 12 rebounds) is in order. While its exciting to see Mayo shoot well, seeing Brand hit those 10 to 15 foot jump shots was such a relief. Last season Brand shot a fantastic 45% clip from that section of the floor and was a big reason many were initially so excited to pair him with Dirk who would, in theory, open up the floor for Brand the way he has for so many others. Prior to tonight’s game though, Brand has shot an absurd 23% from that range. Tonight Brand hit three shots in that area and it forced the Detroit defense to close out on him, thus opening the floor for his five makes at the rim.” “Brand’s confidence on offense bled over into his defense; his four blocks helped keep the momentum in favor of the Mavericks. Pairing him with Bernard James (six points, 3 rebounds) was a different look for Dallas in the second quarter. It’s probably a rare sight though, both Brand and James are around 6’9″ and Carlisle was looking to steal minutes while Chris Kaman was in foul trouble.”
My thoughts: Elton Brand averages a double-double per 36 minutes, but he’s not going to get 36 minutes from the Mavericks. While he may be the most balanced (offensive and defensive) player on the Mavs—with Shawn Marion certainly in that mix—Brand isn’t going to be a high priority in the off season.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 81, Los Angeles Lakers 101

Posted by Connor Huchton on April 3, 2013 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Sunrise

Box ScorePlay-By-Play Shot ChartGame 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.

  • The Mavericks’ season, for all playoffs-related purposes, ended on Tuesday night, and now we’re left to consider what this lukewarm, odd journey meant.
  • As a Dirk Nowitzki three-pointer failed to reach its intended destination late in the fourth quarter, I realized it would fall to me to essentially eulogize a tumultuous season of Mavericks’ basketball.
  • I thought about O.J. Mayo in the fall, Shawn Marion in the winter, and Dirk Nowitzki in the spring. I thought about the guarded hope of Brandan Wright’s line-drive hook shot, and I thought about the eager play of Bernard James. I thought about the managerial sense of Mike James, and the ever-hopeful exuberance of a Darren Collison drive. I thought about Vince Carter’s return to respect and the journey he and all of us are on, and I thought about the stoic stare of Elton Brand. I thought about all of this, and I sighed and considered all the different reasons that this sum of hope would now amount to nothing in a competitive sense. But a season is not nothing, no matter the result. It’s an emotional journey for those who (perhaps foolishly) choose to invest in its path. That path will lead longtime Mavericks’ fan somewhere unexpected this year – to a place apart from the playoffs. But disappointment does not erase the uniqueness of the journey, and another season and another path awaits in the not-so-distant future.
  • What I will write about tonight is the summation of a grimly typical occurence  - a harsh regression to realistic shooting performances, and a firm departure from the exalted three-point bubble  of glory that’s gracefully covered all of this team’s faults for the last month or so.
  • “In other words: If the jumpers stop falling, the Mavs could be in trouble.”
  • Zach Lowe wrote that sentence less than a week ago, and it’s prescience quickly came to fruition.
  • The Mavericks’ reliance on mid-range success was perhaps the most tenuous aspect of the team’s recent form, and tonight the team failed in that area entirely.
  • The only Maverick who succeeded regularly on offense was Chris Kaman (7-10 FG, 14 points, six rebounds), who turned in one of his better performances of the season.
  • Dirk has always defied defensive hopes with his dominance of the left-sided mid-range game, but that defiance counted for little against a hard-charging Lakers’ defense.
  • He shot and missed all four of his shots from 10-23 feet in that left region, and misses like these always ring loudly with foreboding for even the greatest of mid-range shooters.
  • And like so many nights this season, any hope for a defensive save collapsed after an especially rough second quarter.
  • Earl Clark (7-14 FG, 17 points, 12 rebounds, five blocks), once widely considered a draft bust and NBA failure, played a far more complete and Maverick-destructive game than anyone once would have guessed possible not long ago.
  • But it did happen, as Clark scored from any region possible and defended Dirk with all the aplomb of a young James Worthy.
  • Even more decimating was the play of one Kobe Bryant (8-18 FG, 23 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists).
  • In the absence of Steve Nash, Bryant and the other Laker guards found Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard (10-20 FT) in the post all night, to the tune of a combined 38 points on 25 field goals (and 22 rebounds) from the pair.
  • I’d guess this kind of complete performance is what the overbearing contingency of Lakers’ fans always imagined when this team was first constructed – solid post play, tough interior defense, and a confident Kobe controlling tempo from the perimeter.
  • But such a performance couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Mavericks, who simply appeared unable to generate a significant counter to the Lakers’ play.
  • The cornerstones of these Mavericks, mid-range and three-point shooting, dissipated with the rapidity of a changing wind, and an inability to capitalize at the rim (6-12 FT) closed the door definitively on any sort of courageous final comeback.
  • I have no doubt that the Mavericks, not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, will go on fighting with the heart of a battling, worn down champion, as they have all season. This team does not lack for heart – it simply lacks for well-fitting parts.
  • Along with all the pain and struggle of an uneven season, the 2012-2013 Mavericks heaved forward, one three-pointer at a time, until the proverbial well ran dry and there was nothing left to do but keep fighting against a dooming reality. Playoffs may go, but beards are forever.

Quoteboard: Dallas Mavericks 96, Cleveland Cavaliers 86

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 16, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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The Roddy Beaubois saga continues. Beaubois tallied a team-high 18 points (6-10 FGs, 3-5 3FGs, 3-4 FTs) to go along with three rebounds and a team-high-tying five assists in 22 minutes off the bench against Cleveland on Friday. He led Dallas in scoring for the second time this season (19 points vs. San Antonio on Jan. 25). It was his third double-figure scoring effort of the season. Beaubois, who recorded seven points and three assists in 15 minutes at Milwaukee on Mar. 12, is averaging 12.5 points and 4.0 assists over his last two games. Roddy showed aggression on both ends of the floor in easily his best game of the year.

Dirk Nowitzki notched his third straight double-double (fifth of the season, 374thcareer) with 13 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 33 minutes against Cleveland. It was his third straight game with 11 boards. Nowitzki is now tied with Jason Kidd (954) for second place on the Mavericks’ all-time steals list. Nowitzki is averaging 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds since the All-Star break.

Once again starting for the injured Shawn Marion, Jae Crowder scored only two points, but he pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds in the victory.

Some notes before the quotes:

- With his second rebound of the game (8,975th career) at the 9:20 mark of the first quarter, Dirk Nowitzki passed Larry Bird (8,974) for 46th place on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list. Nowitzki finished with 11 rebounds on the night and now has 8,984 boards for his career. Johnny Green ranks 45th all-time with 9,083 rebounds. Nowitzki needs 17 rebounds to become the 46th player in NBA history with at least 9,000 boards.

- Vince Carter made his 8,000th career field goal with a 3-pointer at the 1:33 mark of the fourth quarter. He became the 33rd player in NBA history with at least 8,000 career field goals. Carter ranks sixth among active players in field goals made.

- In his first home game off a 10-day contract, Chris Wright made his NBA regular-season debut in the fourth quarter and scored two points in one minute.

Here is the quoteboard for the Dallas victory over Cleveland.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 91, San Antonio Spurs 92

Posted by Kirk Henderson on March 14, 2013 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Storm Clouds

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.

  • I was hoping to get to rave about the brilliant play of Brandan Wright (10 points, eight rebounds, two blocks), who had an amazing all-around performance against a top notch front court. But with the sixth Dallas loss by three points or less this season, the missed opportunities against San Antonio are a harsh reminder of why this team is an extreme fringe playoff contender at best. The decision making from an offensive standpoint was baffling. Why is O.J. Mayo pulling up for a jumper on a three on one fast break? Why is Chris Kaman taking the ball up the court on a fast break after a steal? Why doesn’t Dallas get the ball to Dirk more often in the high post like they did during the 2011 Championship run? The Spurs managed to score on the final possession in each of the first three quarters while Dallas was unable to do so a single time. Defensively the Mavericks bickered with each other for much of the first half as seemingly every Dallas player was slow to rotate, particularly in instances of ‘helping the helper’ after a rotation had already occurred  The Mavericks also spent far too much time chasing players around screens as a San Antonio player caught a pass moving towards the rim, forcing Dallas to foul or rotate to help early in possessions. Kahwi Leonard snuck in a back door lay up from a high post feed by Jae Crowder because Crowder’s back was to the ball, a defensive cardinal sin. Tim Duncan (26 points, 19 rebounds) bullied Dallas from pillar to post. Finally, the final shot by Vince Carter left much to be desired. As TMG’s own Bryan Gutierrez pointed out on twitter, behind or tied within three points, Vince Carter has taken the final shot six times to Dirk Nowitzki’s one since Dirk’s return. The main reason for this, I suspect, is that Carlisle knows not a single Maverick guard can reliably get a pass to Dirk. There wasn’t enough time for a Carter-Dirk pick and roll in that situation, and even though Carter is the best in the NBA from that particular spot, the Mavericks have to get something going towards the rim when the margin is a single point. Tim Duncan told David Aldridge in the post game interview that a step back fade away is exactly the shot San Antonio was hoping to force. That Dallas was in this game at all with Dirk, Carter, Mayo and Elton Brand shooting a combined 36% from the field is impressive, but the small mistakes Dallas makes throughout the course of the game keep catching up to them.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.

 

Mortgaging the Future

Posted by Brian Rubaie on March 13, 2013 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 8 Comments to Read

MortgagingTheFuture

The makeshift Dallas backcourt suffered yet another shakeup last weekend following the release of little-used point guard Dominique Jones. The news, like Jones’ time in Dallas, was an afterthought to most fans. Aside from bearing witness to the Mavericks’ 2011 championship run, Jones was more well known for the playful nickname he despised owning — “DoJo” — than he was for his on-court production.

Jones’ exit should trouble Dallas fans, though not because his absence will result in any immediate threat to the team’s production. Jones was a ghost in Dallas before his abrupt departure, and his exit represents another example of Dallas’ inability to groom a once-promising young athlete into a steady rotation player.

There were some hopeful signs emerging for Jones earlier this season. He started three games and showed rare glimpses of the skills that made him a first-round draft selection, including intensity, defensive awareness and an ability to push the pace and get to the rim in transition. His stock was rising along with his playing time, a career-high season average of 11.7 minutes per game.

Despite his progress, Jones’ opportunities this season came few and far between and soon almost vanished entirely. He became glued to the bench as the calendar flipped to 2013, sitting out 25 of the team’s 29 games this year due to coach’s decision. Dirk Nowitzki summed it up best, in comments to Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

“He never really got a real shot at it,”’ Nowitzki said. “I like his athleticism, I like what he brought, it just wasn’t a good situation to be in.

“I obviously wish him luck for the future. I was always cool with D-Jones and I wish him luck.”

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What Could Have Been

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 8, 2013 under Rumors | 2 Comments to Read

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Mark Cuban spoke on ESPN Dallas Radio 103.3 FM the day after the trade deadline. Of the numerous things he discussed, he mentioned that the Mavericks were close to landing a superstar. “It was crazy,” Cuban said the day after the deadline on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “We thought we had a bunch of things done, literally a bunch of things done. We had teams get cold feet at the last minute. … Things that would have used cap room next year, would have had money next year, that were high-dollar guys, difference-maker guys.” Many people (sarcastic people) suggested that the players initials were BS (think about it and you’ll get it).

Reports today now suggest Cuban wasn’t fibbing. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that the Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics were on the verge of a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline.

In a three-way deal that would’ve secured Josh Smith and surrendered Paul Pierce to Dallas, Atlanta wanted Boston’s first-round draft pick, too.

The Celtics were in talks to send Paul Pierce to Dallas at the trade deadline.

Dallas had constructed a package that included Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright and Dahntay Jones to Atlanta, with the Mavericks and Hawks exchanging positions in the 2013 NBA draft.

Nevertheless, Boston wouldn’t relent on the pick and the deal died on meeting-room grease boards in three cities.

Well, that’s something, isn’t it? Atlanta would have gotten the pieces they needed for a rebuilding project. Boston would have gotten a new superstar. The pieces on Dallas’ end don’t exactly match up in terms of finances, so other pieces would likely need to be involved in that suggested offer. It likely wouldn’t be pieces of a major consequence. Clearly Dallas and Atlanta were on board, but Boston was the team that put things to a halt. What would acquiring Paul Pierce mean to the Mavericks?

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 98, Brooklyn Nets 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on March 1, 2013 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

CautionNet

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.

  • Though his box score was not particularly impressive, the play of Chris Kaman (eight points, four rebounds) has set the tone for two straight games. Against the Nets he opened both halves with driving lay ups which seemed to catch their defense off guard. Prior to missing games with a concussion, Kaman had gone to his jump shot a bit too frequently, often at the expense of the flow of the Dallas offense. Though he still missed three long jumpers against the Nets, they were taken later in the shot clock and were not contested particularly hard.
  • The clash of play styles was obvious from the opening tip. A glance at the box score wouldn’t reveal this, but the Mavericks pushed the tempo on Brooklyn at every opportunity and the Nets seemed unsure how to cope. This became particularly apparent in the third quarter and the early part of the fourth as the Dallas lead ballooned to 20 points. The remaining influence of former coach Avery Johnson was clearly apparent, as the Nets ran an oddly methodical offense that bogged down into one on one match ups which Brooklyn could not exploit.
  • Easily the most entertaining match up of the game was Elton Brand (eight points, two steals, two blocks) against Andray Blatche (eight points, three assists). For some reason, they started barking at one another early and Brand managed to surprise Blatche early in the second with a catch and shoot from the post and a lay in after a botched steal attempt. Not to be out done, Blatche went back at Brand, using his superior size and athleticism for a driving lay in. It’s taken me nearly a whole season to figure out how Brand gets off a quality look against a larger defender, particularly out of face up situations. He’s always been a bit undersized for his position and has been robbed of most of his vertical leap due to an Achilles injury. When he gets the ball in the post or off of a pick and role, he nearly always sizes up his opponent before rising to shoot. He rarely seems to get blocked mainly because of the length of his arms combined with a slight fade. It seems as if defenders cannot accurately determine where his point of release is. Brand can make a living with that specific shot against second unit defenses for at least two or three more seasons.
  • It was strange to see the Nets not force feed the ball to Brook Lopez (19 points, nine rebounds), particularly in the third where he did not take a single shot attempt. His confidence and skill from the low block is rare in the modern NBA. He’s much stronger and more patient than a casual fan would give him credit for and really has the chance to be a special player if the Nets run an offense more attuned to getting him the ball. Against Dallas, they attempted point guard cross screens which did not work with regularity because it was clear what was coming.
  • When playing in a fast paced offense, turnovers are going to happen. But with Darren Collison (nine points, four turnovers), so many of his turnovers are the kind that he shouldn’t be making at this point in his career. After a Lopez put back basket, Collison attempted to pass ahead to O.J. Mayo. Carlisle has urged the Mavericks to push even off of a made basket, so this was normal. That Collison was unable to see Deron Williams, who stepped in front of the pass for the steal, is maddening. Later in the third, he had a terrible turnover on the screen and roll, attempting to loop a pass over Lopez. Defending after a live ball turnover is exceptionally challenging because the defense has to scramble to get back. The majority of both Collison and O.J. Mayo’s turnovers during the recently losing streak were of the live ball variety.
  • Though Dallas native Deron Williams (24 points) a had turnover plagued evening with seven, his strengths are so readily apparent. He gets to the rim almost at will, particularly when going right. The sort of strength he uses to get off shots is rare in guards, let alone those who handle the ball so well. It often looks like he’s going half speed, but if he were to run a more up tempo offense or if the Nets went to the high screen and roll with Lopez more often, the Nets might have a terrifying offense.
  • The Nets had no answer for Dirk Nowitzki (20 points, eight rebounds), who hit a variety of tough shots over nearly any Nets defender. He finally hit his patented wrong foot fall away over Kris Humphries in he second quarter. Dirk’s attempted this shot (usually off of a spin) three or four times in the last week and while it’s been impossible to stop in years past, Dirk’s leg strength hasn’t been there for him until recently. I hope it becomes a staple in the remaining games.
  • I’ve highly enjoyed the defensive play of Jae Crowder during the last week’s worth of games. Starting Sunday against the Lakers, he defended Kobe as well as anyone this season (that Kobe made a variety of insane shots is besides the point). He continued with decent defense against J.J. Redick, though Redick is the kind of player who causes any NBA rookie fits simply because he is constantly moving and knows how to use his strengths against opposing players. Against the Grizzlies he helped frustrate Mike Conley into a 2 of 13 shooting performance and against the Nets he made a key strip of C.J. Watson as the Nets were attempting to stage a comeback. Early in the season, Carlisle opted to try him on the various small forwards of the NBA and the size he encountered at the position caused him a variety of problems. He’s been much more effective against smaller or weaker guards who can’t deal with his physicality and quick hands. I still think he can turn into a fine defender against NBA small forwards, but asking a rookie to deal with Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony isn’t the easiest of tasks.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.

 

Thermodynamics: Week 18

Posted by Travis Wimberly on under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

Ice

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

It wasn’t the worst week of the Mavs’ season, but it was arguably the most excruciating. It started off with a solid win in New Orleans, then slid rapidly from frustrating (against LA) to inexcusable (against Milwaukee) to downright comical (against Memphis).

Let’s hit all those points in a bit more detail as we wrap up the best and worst of the week.

Week 18 (@Hornets, Lakers, Bucks, @Grizzlies)

FIRE

1) Elton Brand

Brand’s production this week was impressive across the board. He scored well and efficiently, averaging almost 13 points per game on 22-of-40 (55%) cumulative shooting. He pulled down almost nine rebounds per game (despite averaging just 25 minutes and conceding many of his boards to Dirk, discussed next), including an impressive 14-rebound performance against the Bucks. He also defended the post well for most of the week, matching up at various points against Dwight Howard, Larry Sanders, Drew Gooden, and Marc Gasol. Brand didn’t exactly shut any of those guys down (although Howard did have a pretty pitiful game in Dallas), but he worked very hard to make things difficult for them. That segues nicely into the most impressive thing about Brand this week: his effort. Brand played exceptionally hard the vast majority of the time he was on the court. Nowhere was that effort more apparent than against Milwaukee, where Brand repeatedly beat multiple Bucks players (with position, no less) to loose balls and free rebounds. He was a disruptive force in the middle, which is something the Mavs have sorely lacked for most of the year. Sure, Brand’s in a contract year, but the pride with which he plays is palpable. At the right price, I personally would welcome him back next year.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 84, Memphis Grizzlies 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on February 27, 2013 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

Grizzbear

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.

  • A twenty five point lead is quite challenging to squander, but the 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks find new ways to disappoint us, this time through turnovers and tremendously bad offensive execution. Darren Collison, O.J. Mayo, Mike James, and Vince Carter turned the ball over 13 times for the second straight game. Though Dallas scored 38 points in the first quarter, over the next three quarters the Mavericks managed only 46 points, including a five point third quarter.
  • The ongoing problem of the Dallas Maverick guards being unable or unwilling to get Dirk Nowitzki the ball when he’s open reared it’s head once again against the Grizzlies. At the two minute mark of the second quarter, Darren Collison attempted to penetrate the lane, as he had shaken his defender, Mike Conley. Zach Randolph effectively shut down the penetration about 10 feet out, because Collison is incredibly averse to contact when driving. Dirk was trailing the play wide open and called for the the ball. Collison looked at Dirk, but since his dribble was still alive attempted to maneuver around Randolph, who deftly cut off his penetration again. This time Collison made a decision to turn and pass to Dirk, but by this time Conley had caught up to Collison and tipped the pass. Memphis recovered the ball, which lead to a Marc Gasol dunk. Get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki. This isn’t a suggestion.
  • Mike James is now shooting under 30% on the year after going 2 for 10 against Memphis. Darren Collison’s terrible inconsistency is making it easy for Carlisle to look elsewhere, but why he keeps looking to James is beyond any basketball observer at this point.
  • Brett Koremos of the Grantland Network wrote a very interesting piece about the offensive pace of the Mavericks. The first quarter, it felt as if the team had read his piece and fully embraced the concept of an early shot clock quality shot attempt. When things began to bog down in the second, due to Dallas rotations and better defense from the Grizzlies, Dallas attempted it’s half court offense, with very poor results. It’s alarming that so few of the younger Dallas players can effectively run a pick and roll. To some degree, we Dallas fans were spoiled by Jason Kidd and Jason Terry’s ability to run a screen and roll with Dirk, both in using the screens to move along the offense or get Dirk the ball. Collison, Mayo, and James all approach ball screens from terrible angles and rarely seem to force a switch. Collison and James in particular seem to make up their minds early in any play and look to shoot more often than pass. Against a team of excellent defenders like the Grizzlies, that is a recipe for terrible offense.
  • There were only three positive aspects to the game against Memphis. First, Chris Kaman attacked the rim and defended hard. He’s not a good pick and roll defender, but early in the game, his one on one defense and help defense set the tone. Second, Shawn Marion resumed his roll of spark plug. He goes to where he’s needed; a flash to the open spot in the lane, a screen and roll for an awkward lay up, defensive rotations, and fast break finishes. Third, Jae Crowder used the high screen and roll to attack the rim and score a lay up in the first quarter. During the Bucks game, Derek Harper mentioned that a player of Crowder’s strength should get to the rim more often. As I’ve understood it, Crowder was a stretch four energy player in college. If he wants a rotation spot for the next few years, he needs to stop shooting pull up twos and continue this trend of getting to the rack.

Kirk is a member of the Two Man Game family. Follow him on Twitter @KirkSeriousFace for ranting about Dallas basketball, TV, movies, video games, and his dog.

 

Overlooked

Posted by Brian Rubaie on February 20, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

Overlooked

An NBA All-Star roster without a single Dallas Maverick is a rare sight to behold. For the first time since 1998, Dallas fans had no familiar faces to celebrate. Dirk Nowizki, a Western Conference fixture since 2002, will return to Dallas from his first real “break” over All-Star Weekend in over a decade. He will return not from Houston, the All-Star host but, as reported by Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News, Mexico. This joins the Mavericks’ dim playoff chances as an unusual new reality in Dallas.

Not all the unusual events in Dallas, however, have been negative. Lost in the return of Dirk Nowitzki, the revolving roster, the inconsistent play and the trade talk is another unusual occurrence. For the first time in a spell, Dallas has a rookie of value in former junior-college standout turned Marquette University graduate Jae Crowder. There is a persistent worry in Dallas over the the team’s ability to develop young talent — a weakness which fans overlooked because of quality overall team play. In 2013, however, the roles in Dallas have reversed; the team’s general malaise has eclipsed the promise of Crowder’s rookie campaign.

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