- Dirk Nowitzki is on Twitter, and if you’re not following him, you really should be. Follow him, RSS his feed, add it to your bookmarks, do whatever you have to do. This is Dirk at his finest. (via Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones)
- Jason Kidd, from his official website (via Henry Abbott of TrueHoop): “I’ve been working on my outside game a lot. Hopefully I can improve, shoot the ball a little bit better this year and that’ll make the game much easier for my teammates. One point of emphasis for me was the pick and roll. Being able to knock down jump shots coming off the pick and roll is really important in this offense.”
- Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “Jason Terry is one of the most optimistic people around and it shows in the new tattoo on his right biceps. It’s a picture of the NBA championship trophy. There’s no date on the ink. ‘That’s the first thing my wife asked me when I got home,’ he said. ‘I’m leaving it open for when we get one.’ That’s when. Not if. And that’s not all. ‘I’m leaving the spot open on the other arm, too,’ Terry said, just in case he needs a place for multiple trophies. That’s the way the Jet rolls down the runway. He just knows this is the year the Mavericks will find the right mixture of talent, chemistry, luck and everything else to be a championship unit.”
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference.com is previewing every team in the league, and I contributed to his installment on the Mavs. Check it out.
- Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated’s The Point Forward, details a familiar preseason theme: “If you’re searching for another team that might be able to rise up against the Lakers (assuming everything goes right), you could do worse than the Mavericks. But “everything goes right” encompasses many more things in Dallas than it does in most places. Outside of Dirk Nowitzki and perhaps Brendan Haywood, everyone is a question mark to some degree. Can Jason Kidd keep doing this? Can Jason Terry, at 33, make last season’s decline a temporary blip instead of the start of a downward trend? Can Tyson Chandler stay healthy? Will Caron Butler stop the ball and jack questionable 20-footers or attack and get to the line? How quickly will Roddy Beaubois recover from a broken foot, and when he does, will Rick Carlisle play him as much as he probably needs to when the games count? That’s a ton of questions, and we haven’t even mentioned Shawn Marion. There is a load of talent here, but I have no clue how it will play out.”
- It looks like local Dish Network subscribers will be missing out on the season opener.
- Slow and steady is the company line on Rodrigue Beaubois’ status.
- Combination Shawn Marion fans and Food Network enthusiasts: your day has come.
- Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “Caron Butler and Shawn Marion are not going to be mutually exclusive when it comes to court time. Though they ideally play the same position, they are going to be on the court together during games, Carlisle said Sunday. Those are going to be important minutes because it’s quite likely that their time playing together will come when Dirk Nowitzki is resting. ‘They played well [together] in stretches in preseason,’ Carlisle said. ‘The reality is our [forward] positions are going to be covered by three guys for the most part – Caron, Dirk and Shawn. Marion and Butler are going to be playing together 10 to 14 minutes per game. And we’ll continue to work on the chemistry of that group.’”
- Mavs alumnus Jerry Stackhouse has signed with the Miami Heat.
- Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus: “I think defense is the end of the floor in which Dallas can make the biggest leap as it tries to get over the hump in the West, and Chandler should be a big part of that. However, he could also become the same sort of quasi-viable offensive option he was with the Hornets considering the talent that will be surrounding him in the Big D.”
- Chandler, former thorn in the Spurs’ side.
- Mark Cuban is surprisingly receptive to the idea of Rodrigue Beaubois playing in the FIBA World Championships this summer, but his stance is a bit less surprising after considering his qualifier (via Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas): “I’m ok with it. I’ve always said that I would be fine with participation as long as there was a 23- or 25-year old age limit.” It actually makes a fair bit of sense; Dirk has never had serious injury issues during his career, but guys like Yao Ming, Manu Ginobili, and Pau Gasol have all had some kind of significant complication as a result of international play. There is a point where allowing players to play for their home country over the summer fails to make fiscal sense for the teams that employ them, and that’s a legitimate concern as players get older and older and need more and more rest.
- Proof that people do buy Jerry Stackhouse jerseys…even if they are of the ugliest possible variety. The teal days were dark indeed for the Pistons.
- Jason Kidd, on Avery Johnson becoming the next head coach for the New Jersey Nets (via Julian Garcia of the New York Daily News): “I think Avery is going to help give them structure and he’s going to be a big part of their success. He’s a good coach. He got the Mavs to the Finals. So it I think they’re going in the right direction…They’ve got a great coach, they’ve got a young team and they have a young owner who wants to win. So they have some of the pieces and now they just have to get some of the other pieces to be successful.”
- During his introductory press conference this morning, Avery Johnson said that Devin Harris would likely be given more freedom to run the offense due to his familiarity with the system and his experience as a PG. If that actually ends up being the case, kudos to Avery for taking a step back to let the players run the show. If not, well, I can’t say I’d be all that surprised. This is the kind of thing Mavs fans have heard from Johnson before, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s doomed to fall into the same patterns, no one can blame an observer for thinking he might.
- For those looking to really deck themselves out in official merch, MavGear.com (the Mavs’ online store) is selling all jerseys at 50% off. Consider it the perfect opportunity to grab that shiny, gold Josh Howard jersey you’ve had your eye on.
- Courtesy of Sham Sports, two essential resources: a list of the NBA players with trade kickers in their contracts (including Shawn Marion, for you armchair GM types looking to deal him away) and a breakdown of the total committed salary for every NBA team going into this off-season.
- Spotted: Our friend Shawne Williams trying to get back into the NBA by playing in the Bobcats’ free agent “mini-camp.”
- UPDATE: The AAC could be paid off (by the city) by next year. Considering the initial bonds issued as payment were set to be redeemed as late as 2037, I’d say that makes the payment ahead of schedule.
- Brendan Haywood on the differences in coverage between the Mavs and the Wizards (via Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News): “The difference for us a lot of times on a side screen-and-roll we used to call blue or icing, which means we tried to keep the ball on the same side of the court. They, I mean Dallas is more of a ‘show’ team. They’ll show on a screen-and-roll and try to impact the ball a little more. It’s a little different for me. That and zone coverages are different for me too.”
- Former Mav Jerry Stackhouse apparently reached out to Chris Douglas-Roberts to console him on the Nets’ losing ways. Stack was always kind of a complicated character; he was tough on the court and when receiving clear opposition, but by all means a caring individual capable of tremendous personal acts. It’s hard to reconcile all of that with the shot-happy near-burden he aged into (especially when considering his earlier stardom), but in spite of everything that happened at the end of Stack’s career with the Mavs, it’s important that we keep a full view of him and his exploits, both good and bad.
- SLAM’s Tzvi Twersky has a nice interview with Caron Butler up, with a lot from Caron on the Mavs and the city of Dallas itself. Here’s Butler on what he was told to do coming in by Rick Carlisle: “Coach told me to be as aggressive as possible. Told me to stay aggressive, to not switch up anything. He keeps telling me to remain aggressive at all times, to not second-guess anything. And that’s the type of encouragement you need from a coach. And we’re learning everything on the fly. I went out there and played— myself, Brendan [Haywood] and DeShawn [Stevenson]—after landing in the city and not being able to practice because of trade waivers and stuff wasn’t clear. So we just walked on the court and basically played pickup ball. So we’re learning the offense on the fly, and so far so good.”
- Mark Cuban doesn’t quite seem content with the current collective bargaining model.
- Rick Carlisle’s reaction to the news that Josh Howard will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL (via Tim MacMahon): “That’s terrible. Circumstances that happen in this sport and just the timing of things is crazy. I’m very disappointed obviously for him. He’s not deserving of that kind of luck at this point.”
- If Zydrunas Ilgauskas wasn’t determined to go back to Cleveland 30 days after his buyout is finalized, Dallas would probably have a decent shot of signing him — Z and Donnie Nelson have history from when Donnie was with the Lithuanian national team.
- Kelly Dwyer on the decidedly awful game last night: “This was one of Dallas’ worst games of the season, and somehow they still managed to win in a walk.”
- Erick Dampier and Jason Kidd appear to be good to go for tonight’s game.
- There are a few different philosophies when it comes to retiring from the NBA. Obviously, there’s the “go out on top” approach, where a veteran NBA champion rides off quietly into the sunset. Jerry Stackhouse is apparently taking a different route. From Stack, via Eddie Sefko: “I still feel I have something left in the tank…When I go out, I want it to be on ‘E.’ At this point in my career, most guys are thinking about trying to get on a team that’s really close to a championship. But where could I have more value than to a younger team that’s really trying to take it to another level?”
- Stack also talked about his career arc, his role on the Bucks, and a little on his time with the Mavs with Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. Stack’s never been one to shy away from anything, and though nothing he says is particularly outlandish, I did find one of his responses especially interesting: “NBA.com: Yeah, but you haven’t been on a championship team. The Inside the NBA guys turned that into a debate — would a player rather have Steve Nash’s career or Steve Kerr’s? — to weigh All-Star status against a ring collection. JS: I don’t hold a whole lot of stock in [needing a championship ring]. Some people get the chance to play for a championship, and I did in Dallas. [But] if Steve Kerr or somebody had a chance to play longer than he did, I’m sure he’d have jumped at it. He probably would have traded back a ring. It’s great to say that you won. But at the end of the day, they’re probably going to say you coat-tailed Michael Jordan for it anyway [laughing]. A lot of those guys who were on championship teams — Keith Booth or Tony Brown — don’t you think they would trade those rings for four or five extra seasons of income and playing? At the end of the day, it’s a business. You’re working and trying to use the gifts you got from the Man Upstairs to create a legacy for your family. That’s all that’s going to matter once all of the air’s out of the ball. How much have you been able to save and put away. You know the stories, the guys who squandered their earnings and outlived their means.”
- Speaking of ex-Mavs, Chris Littmann of The Baseline catches up with Brandon Bass. Something tells me Bass didn’t quite have this current situation in mind when he left the Mavs for what was assumed to be more minutes and a bigger opportunity.
There should be no ill will towards Jerry Stackhouse. After all, his contract ended up scoring Shawn Marion in a sign-and-trade. That’s good enough for me, even if Stack’s shot-happy and poor-defending ways made him incredibly mortal. He was a bench scorer with the confidence of a starter, and you can take that in just about any direction you wish. And though his time with the Mavs didn’t end on the best of terms, he still had four good, productive years in Dallas, and was a part of some truly special teams.
Stack and the Mavs could end up crossing paths pretty soon, as he has apparently agreed to play for the Milwaukee Bucks for the rest of the season. From Marc Stein:
Sources told ESPN.com that Stackhouse is expected to formally sign with the Bucks on Monday or possibly Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
The former All-Star guard has been looking for a new team since the summer and was targeted by the Bucks — who began play Sunday two games out of the final playoff spot in the East — after Michael Redd suffered a season-ending knee injury this past Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
Foot and knee problems limited Stackhouse to just 10 games last season with Dallas, but the 35-year-old has insisted for months that he is healthy and ready to return to the league.
After an audition for the New York Knicks in August, Stackhouse rejected an invitation to Houston Rockets training camp in October to replace the injured Rashad McCants when the Rockets told Stackhouse he’d have to win a roster spot in camp to stick.
The Mavs play the Bucks in Dallas on January 26th, and provided Stack remains healthy, we should see him suiting up for the bad guys for the first time since 2004.
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 ESPNDallas crew put together a list of the top 10 Mavericks of the decade, and here are their rankings:
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Steve Nash
- Michael Finley
- Jason Terry
- Josh Howard
- Nick Van Exel
- Jason Kidd
- Devin Harris
- Jerry Stackhouse
- Erick Dampier
I’m a bit lost as to the criteria used, though. If it’s the out-and-out best players (talent and production-wise) to play for the Mavs in the 2000s, Jason Kidd seems slighted. If it’s based on production in a Maverick uniform this decade, Jason Terry may not be getting the respect he deserves. And if it’s based on…well, whatever metric puts Nick Van Exel (who make no mistake is one of my personal favorites in team history) ahead of Jason Kidd, Devin Harris, and Erick Dampier, then that explains that. This just seems like an exercise where you need to take talent, production, and Maverick tenure all into account, and with that in mind the order seems a bit scrambled.
It’s not an easy list to compile. We can all agree that Dirk stands at the top of the list, with Steve Nash a perfectly acceptable second fiddle. But where do you go from there? Michael Finley is the best scorer of the bunch, Jason Terry kept the Mavs afloat sans Nash and has a Finals appearance under his belt, and Jason Kidd is probably the best of the remaining crop despite his short tenure. After that, you’ve got some combination of Josh Howard, Devin Harris, and Erick Dampier, three Mavs that were absolutely instrumental to the team’s success during the most successful stretch this decade, and each contributing in unique ways that only sometimes show up on the stat sheet (scoring balance, change-of-pace potential, interior defense). Only then do I get to Jerry Stackhouse and Nick Van Exel, but with DeSagana Diop, Antawn Jamison, and MARQUIS DANIELS getting some consideration.
Sound off in the comments, because I’m curious to hear everyone’s take on this. What’s the best way to go about ranking the decade’s Mavs? And given those criteria, who’veyagot?
- 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:
- In a survey taken by rookies about rookies, Rodrigue Beaubois was given an honorable mention for best rookie playmaker. He could be higher, based on his summer league play, but the competition — Jonny Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Brandon Jennings –is pretty stiff. Though somewhat inexplicably, Blake Griffin squeezed his way onto the playmaking list with his ballot hegemony. To someone out there (maybe Taylor Griffin?), it made sense at the time.
- The Mavs will unveil another alternate road uni at some point prior to the regular season opener, as per Mark ‘Voice of the Mavs’ Followill on Twitter (via Fish at DallasBasketball.com). Let’s just hope it isn’t Tin Man 2.0.
- I forgot to pass along this blurb from John Hollinger the other day, from his breakdown of the Western Conference (Insider). He listed the Mavs as a third tier team (Lakers being the top tier, followed by the Spurs, Blazers, and Nuggets), and had this to say about Dallas: “The Mavs bought when everyone else sold, retaining Jason Kidd and adding Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden, Kris Humphries, Tim Thomas and Quinton Ross this offseason. They are well into the tax and overpaid for Kidd especially (three years and $25 million at 36?), but if paying luxury tax doesn’t bother Mark Cuban then it’s really not a problem. Despite their age, the Mavs will try to play small and fast, with Kidd, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Marion and Dirk Nowitzki playing as a run-and-gun unit in crunch time. That could give them a puncher’s chance at a playoff upset, but it’s tough to see how they can match up physically against the powerful frontcourts the top contenders possess. Because of Cuban’s willingness to spend, they’re a far more intriguing team a year from now thanks to what may become the league’s most coveted asset: Erick Dampier’s expiring, non-guaranteed $12 million in 2010-11. Casual fans may not realize how valuable this is in the current economy. Next summer a financially struggling team could trade a highly paid player to Dallas for Dampier, waive him immediately and wipe their books totally clean. And given the current economic conditions, I have a feeling some teams will be willing to do it.”
- The ever-excellent Kevin Pelton analyzes the developmental patterns of point guards compared to other positions, and comes to the following conclusion: “The conclusion, in this case as throughout this column, is that conventional wisdom is correct. Point guards are worse as rookies, they improve more, and their improvement is less predictable than at other positions. I’ve argued in the past that NBA observers are too slow in updating their evaluations of players to reflect their performance early in their NBA careers, but that may not be the case with point guards. We should be slower to come to judgments on point guards, and give them more of an opportunity to prove themselves.” Keep that in mind while watching Monsieur Beaubois next season. (via Bret LaGree of Hoopinion)
- Why Jerry Stackhouse doesn’t regret getting dunked on by John Wall.
- The Mavs were apparently in the running for the services of Leon Powe, and that’s good enough for me. Cleveland and Boston would both have likely been more attractive destinations, but the fact that the Mavs gave it the ol’ college try eases my mind.
- Comparing players of different eras is always a tough task, given the myriad variables that need to be accounted for. But Neil Paine takes a stab at using a strategy from baseball analysis: rather than boiling the translation down to league-wide factors, Paine isolates team-specific factors. The methods are still a bit ambiguous to me (even though I like the idea in theory), but here’s the part that interests you: even if you transported all the NBAers of today to 1969, the era of Wilt, Russell, and Oscar, Dirk would still be third most prolific scorer in the league (behind Wade and LeBron). It’s all for fun, but it’s obviously more fun with a Mav near the top.
- An…interesting picture of a young Drew Gooden.
- Brian Lewis of the New York Post, on Jerry Stackhouse’s chances of sticking with the team: “Jerry Stackhouse came and worked out and left without an offer, as did Jason Williams. The latter is now an unrestricted free agent. As far as Stack, a source placed their odds of signing him as somewhere between ‘under 50-50 and longshot.’”
- Speaking of Stack, here’s a video of him on the receiving end of a John Wall slam. For those not in the know, John Wall is going to be your favorite player of all time. He’s not even in the NBA yet, but I’m already clearing shelf space for a John Wall bust.
- Rodrigue Beaubois did his thing for the cameras at the rookie photo shoot, and appears to be set on wearing number 3. Boom, boom, pow. I’m heavy on the graphics today, apparently. These are the dog days of summer. (Photos via Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports.)