Heard It Through the OPENING DAY Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 26, 2010 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie previews the Mavs’ season, which he pegs for 52 wins (though Dwyer notes that such a mark is easily beatable by this collective): “…as much as age sets in, and as much as a lack of depth will likely keep the Mavericks away from the ranks of the championship contender, Dallas will still field a sound rotation of basketball players that will give them a chance to beat every team – every single one of them – soundly on any given night. Even if Jason Kidd won’t be able to pop jumpers all night as a threat off of a screen and roll, and if Dirk finally does decide to not act like an All-NBA player, the core is good enough to keep this team competitive, and in the race for that distant second spot behind the Los Angeles Lakers.” Also, the Brian Cardinal picture is worth a click-through alone.
  • Check out The Basketball Jones’ season preview for the Mavs, and while you’re at it, the Jones’ first full-length episode of the season. Rejoice!
  • Mike Fisher of DallasBasketball.com: “I suppose there is a fine line between being ‘detail-oriented’ and being a ‘dictatorial control freak.’…let’s put Rick Carlisle and the Mavs coaching staff in the former category, shall we? Remember one of Rick’s main gripes about his players in the San Antonio playoff series: Dallas didn’t win its share of the “50-50 balls,’’ that is, the loose balls on the floor that can be gathered up to gain or retain possession, that can be fast-break starters, momentum-grabbers, game winners. On Sunday, guess what the Mavs worked on? Hustle and angles and attacking, all as they relate to loose balls. A basketball version of football’s ‘fumble drills,’ basically.”
  • Von Wafer (Celtics), Mo Ager (Timberwolves), Jeremy Lin (Warriors), D.J. Mbenga (Hornets), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (Hornets), Shawne Williams (Knicks), and Malik Allen (Magic) all made opening day rosters. Jake Voskuhl, Dwayne Jones, J.R. Giddens, and Joe Crawford did not. (Thanks to Scott Schroeder of Ridiculous Upside for compiling a hell of a list.)
  • From Sports Illustrated’s “NBA Enemy Lines” feature, in which an opposing scout gives his take on a given NBA team: “Their big pickup, Tyson Chandler, is important to them because teams anticipate being able to penetrate from the top against Kidd, Terry and Barea, who all have a hard time keep anybody in front of them. So now the Mavericks should be able to bring over a big guy to meet the penetration, whether it’s Chandler or Brendan Haywood. The fundamental problem remains on the perimeter, but at least now they have some long and mobile big guys who are capable of changing shots. Haywood doesn’t excite anyone too much, but he’s serviceable as a long guy you have to shoot over. I hear people saying he’s soft, but I think that’s a bad rap. He’s effective and he has a nice right hook. Most of the time he’ll be able to turn to that shoulder and get off the shot whenever he wants.” For the record, haven’t heard much of anyone calling Haywood soft. You?
  • A handy tidbit from Jason Terry (via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News): “We have 17 of 26 games at home to start the season, so we need to set a tone.”
  • Shawn Marion has a lot of faith in Tyson Chandler’s ability to make an impact on defense.
  • Tyson Chandler, from his official site: “To do that, we have to have strong leadership and it’s been great working with a dedicated owner like Mark Cuban. Cube, as we call him, is dope. He’s a cool-cat. He obviously loves the game and he loves to be around it. We know that we have a passionate owner and that’s always a good thing. His only motivation is to win championships…I’m so happy to get a chance to play with two of the best in the game at what they do in Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki. J-Kidd is the ultimate professional. He comes in to work every day and he sees things that I don’t even know if a coach can see. But he sees them in real time, right there on the floor, in the flow of the game. He’s an incredible passer and he’s definitely going to improve my game. Dirk has always been an incredible scorer and an assassin on the offensive end and that’s coming from me being on the other side. Now, getting to watch that daily, I see why he’s one of top players in our league. He’s almost unstoppable.”
  • Mark Followill’s scouting report on Dominique Jones for DallasBasketball.com: “Jones has the strength, tenacity and desire it would appear to defend well at this level, although he has been caught reaching a few times this preseason rather than playing solid defense by using his feet. The weakest part of his game right now is definitely the outside jump shot. Improving that doesn’t appear to be a mechanical issue, but more about spending time in the gym working on it and developing confidence.   I’ve seen some good decisions from him with the ball when he drives in terms of passing. I don’t think that makes him a point guard, but its good he can make smart decisions if he is going to be getting down into the paint with regularity.”

Reboot

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 24, 2010 under Commentary, News, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

The Mavs’ big man search is back to square one. Dallas was close to signing D-League All-Star Dwayne Jones to a 10-day contract to provide depth at center, but the Mavs were apparently left unimpressed by his workout today with the team. Marc Stein notes that Jake Voskuhl could be Jones’ replacement, a move which I find to be a bit uninspired and plenty underwhelming. We know what Voskuhl can do, and we know plenty about what he can’t do. But Jones deserves a legit shot at the pro level, and I think his unassuming, low-maintenance game would have been a nice addition for Dallas off the bench.

Apparently it wasn’t meant to be. But Stein also reports that the Mavs still plan on signing Von Wafer to a 10-day and will possibly put pen to paper tomorrow.

Thinking Inside the Box

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 11, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

If the Mavs decide to fill their final roster spot with a veteran, we can only hope that they’re capable of real, on-court contributions. If the Portland Trailblazers’ season has taught us anything, it’s that your reserves (and your reserves’ reserves) need to not only be ready to play, but capable of playing. That’s the real benefit of having a deep roster, and though guys like Quinton Ross, Tim Thomas, and James Singleton are tried and true role players, the Mavs have an opportunity to add another competent body to the roster following the two-for-one trade that landed Eduardo Najera.

Jake Voskuhl, C: Voskuhl was a late cut from the training camp roster, and likely would have been offered a contract if not for the presence of Shawne Williams on the roster. The Mavs were resolved to find a taker for Williams’ contract, and now that they have, his spot on the roster is up for grabs. Voskuhl doesn’t do anything terribly well aside from sop up minutes. He has good size (6’11”) but he’s a bit slow of foot, which makes him a better defensive match-up for more traditional, back-to-the-basket bigs. Jake won’t change the game, but he hedges the damage of going to a third string center as a last line of defense by rebounding and blocking shots at a decent rate.

Rashad McCants, SG: The Mavs brought in McCants for an off-season workout, but apparently were not impressed enough to move earth to find him a spot on the roster. His defense can be a bit suspect (in both technique and effort level), and he’s not a great distributor or rebounder for his position, but McCants puts up points. He’s hovered around 20 points per 36 minutes over the last two seasons, and though he doesn’t score at a particularly efficient rate, McCants is a decent option from long range (.368 over his career). I’m not sure that a shooting guard is what the Mavs would or should be looking for, but their past interest in McCants earns him a spot on the list.

Jerry Stackhouse, SG: Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen.

Mike Taylor, PG: Mike Taylor is very much a scoring point guard, but he’s an NBA-level talent. Taylor is quick and frighteningly athletic, but his courtvision is mediocre at best. Provided the Mavs aren’t looking for a distributor, Taylor could be an interesting addition. He’s not terribly skilled defensively, but what Taylor could provide in terms of athleticism and scoring could make him a player of interest. Then again, if the Mavs are looking for athleticism and scoring at the point guard position, why not turn to Rodrigue Beaubois?

Stromile Swift, PF/C: Swift is currently playing professionally in China after playing in just 19 NBA games last season. Swift was and is a leaper; his limited success in the basketball world has been predicated almost entirely on his athleticism, and where many saw potential we know find an aging athlete with little in the way of fundamentals. Swift is not a good interior defender save for his help-side shot blocking, and his offensive arsenal mostly consists of finishes at the rim. He’s a big body, but one contribute much to what the Mavs’ are trying to accomplish defensively or offensively. The 76ers actually signed Swift to a contract in September, but waived him before the regular season began. And hey, if Swift isn’t good enough for the Sixers, he’s probably not good enough for the Mavericks.

Wally Szczerbiak, SG/SF: There was a time where Wally Szczerbiak had not only the distinction of being the NBA’s premier dreamboat, but a completely overrated All-Star. Alongside Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, Wally chipped in around 15 points per game on decent percentages, with a couple of assists and rebounds to boot. But he was still a bit underwhelming as a player, and certainly so as a defender. That was almost a decade ago, and the years have not been kind to Szczerbiak’s lateral movement. He’s useful in a role as a spot-up shooter (most recently, he shot .411 from deep with Cleveland), but is a complete and utter liability on defense and has no other marketable offensive skill. Not a bad choice if the Mavs are looking for someone to camp in a corner, but he would compromise the Mavs’ perimeter D in ways you wouldn’t even believe.

The Bottom Line

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 22, 2009 under News, Roster Moves | Read the First Comment

The Mavs announced today that they’re requesting waivers on Jake Voskuhl, making Shawne Williams a Mav for a bit longer.

If I was the type of person to decipher a moral from this story, I wouldn’t be pleased. Shawne Williams is clearly out of the team’s favor, for something of the unspeakable variety. Voskuhl, on the other hand, came as training camp addition, and reportedly worked hard and played reasonably well during his short time with the team (his defensive efficiency was good for third on the team for the preseason). No, he’s not a great player or even a very good one, but at this point the Mavs just need someone to sop up minutes in the middle. Voskuhl is a center, he’s a hard worker, and he’s not Shawne Williams. In theory, that should be that.

But alas, this brief tale of motor and team need was trumped by the almighty motivator: money, money, money. Williams is owed $2.4 million guaranteed, while Voskuhl’s contract is unguaranteed and can easily be swept under the rug. Forget that Williams won’t see the bench or the practice facility, much less the court. Footing the bill (twice, if you consider a waived Williams would still bear luxury tax ramifications) just doesn’t make financial sense for the team when Williams’ expiring contract could play a role in a trade later this season.

On the court and on the depth chart, this move makes no sense. But with few teams looking to take on the walking headache that is Shawne Williams at this point, the Mavs had few other options.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on October 13, 2009 under xOther | 3 Comments to Read

  • Is J.J. Barea one of the top five back-up point guards in the league? I don’t think that’s a stretch of the imagination by any means. But I’m going to need a harder drink (gasoline?) if you’re going to convince me that Anthony Carter is a super-sub. Anyone heard of Nate Robinson? Jarrett Jack? I’d even prefer youngsters like D.J. Augustin, Shaun Livingston, or Jonny Flynn over Carter.
  • We’ve known for awhile that Shawne Williams was on the proverbial outs, but he may find himself out in a more literal sense very soon.
  • Jawai, Voskuhl, and Williams: now entering the Thunderdome.

Heard It Through the Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on September 28, 2009 under xOther | Read the First Comment

  • Jake Voskuhl. No one ever claimed he was the answer, to any question, really, but he could maybe, possibly, potentially be the Mavs’ last line of defense at center.
  • On that note, a big welcome to the brand spanking new ESPN Dallas. The new locale has some very familiar faces, with Marc Stein and Tim MacMahon on lead for the Mavs’ coverage. The kick-off festivities include a series of live chats, including one with Shawn Marion.
  • More recognition for Dirk and Kidd. I guess they’re pretty good.
  • Finally, a top ten list with no current Mavs…though it does have one who just left the building.
  • It’s good to see that when the going gets tough, Dirk’s sense of humor gets going. Quote of the day week off-season (via Mike Fisher), by Nowitzki: “My sperm is getting slower…(So) eventually, I’ve got to trust somebody.”
  • Mark Cuban talks ownership and Twitter: