Rumor Mongering: Bottom of the Barrel

Posted by Rob Mahoney on August 20, 2009 under Rumors | 12 Comments to Read

Doug Smith of The Star’s Raptors Blog:

According to a couple of league sources and I can’t corroborate this with any of my most trusted Toronto folks, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo’s got another deal bubbling, one that would send guard Marcus Banks to the Dallas Mavericks for Matt Carroll…I’m warned — and therefore so are you — that the proposed transaction remains in its relative infancy and if this summer’s proven anything it’s that nothing’s done until it’s done…Banks? Well, Banks never really worked out after being obtained in the Shawn Marion trade last season. He hardly played, was mediocre when he did and then got hurt and missed about the last month of the season. He didn’t take the team’s suggestion and play in the summer league last month – although he was in Las Vegas to meet with the staff and work out – and the GM’s been trying to deal him for months.

The Mavs intentions seem purely financial, as Carroll’s deal extends two years longer (and $7.4 million over that span) than Banks’.  That I don’t mind, especially with the way Mark Cuban was willing to tack on extra payroll earlier in the summer.  I am a bit concerned by bringing in the illusion of a point guard, though; I have a history of being more confident in Banks than most, and I’ll still be the first to tell you that he isn’t worthy of a rotation spot.  He’s failed to live up to his potential at almost every turn in his career, and could muck up the point guard rotation by denying minutes to Rodrigue Beaubois.  Even if Banks is marginally better than Beaubois, the kid needs to get his reps.  I’ve got no qualms with Marcus Banks provided he doesn’t squeeze into the point guard rotation, but I’m still harboring the sneaking suspicion that he might.

Player Valuations: Matt Carroll

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

Specs: Small forward.  6’6”, 212 lbs.

2008-2009 Stats: (as a Maverick) 2.0 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 35.3% FG, 0.0% 3FG (?!), 3.0 PER

Why we want him: He’s not DeSagana Diop.  Diop had been inexplicably withering away in Dallas, and he was making the Mavs’ brass look like morons for signing him to the full midlevel exception.  It wasn’t a good idea assuming Diop’s then-status quo level of production, and it certainly wasn’t a good idea after his regression.  So instead of paying Diop’s escalating salary over the next five years, the Mavs will foot the bill for Carroll and save themselves $11 million over that same span.  One can only hope that Carroll regains his confidence and in turn, his shooting stroke, but worst case he’s still cheaper than Diop.

Why they want him: See Antoine Wright.

Trade value: Very Low.  Like Hollins, Carroll can only be acquired by himself.  He can’t be packaged with other Mavs to make a trade work salary-wise until 2 months from his acquisition date (so basically, the off-season).  So…anybody looking to sign themselves up for a five year commitment to a rotation player who seems to have lost his one marketable skill through the hole in his pocket?

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):

0.5 Jim Jacksons out of 5.

Heard It Through the Grapevine 2-12-09

Posted by Rob Mahoney on February 12, 2009 under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • Baron Davis and Chris Kaman to the Mavs for Jason Kidd is the hot trade rumor of the moment, and while I understand the intrigue on a very basic level, I have a hard time believing it would be anything but a trade for trade’s sake or one of those ‘trying to get with that girl you never beat in a seven game series’ things.  Dwyane Wade is one thing, but some people should be careful what they wish for if they’re lusting for Baron in a Maverick uni.  It doesn’t make sense on the court, and leaves a bad taste in your mouth off it.  Tim MacMahon tackles the more practical side of the trade on the DMN Mavs Blog: “It’d be worth sacrificing financial flexibility to make a trade that would transform the Mavs into a serious contender. But it’s unlikely that adding Davis and Kaman and subtracting Kidd would make the Mavs better at all. You can’t count on Kaman making a contribution this season. He’s only played 15 games for the Clippers because of a foot injury. When a 7-footer has a serious foot injury, that’s a banner-sized red flag. (The Mavs might think for a second before saying no if Marcus Camby was part of the proposal instead of Kaman. Camby has a contract that is up at the end of next season and averaging 11.6 ppg, 12.7 rpg and 2.37 bpg. They still wouldn’t pull the trigger, but they wouldn’t snicker after hanging up the phone.)”
  • Some good stuff from Mavs Moneyball’s Wes Cox and other voices from around the Southwest Division on this roundtable from the New Orleans Hornets official website.
  • DallasBasketball.com’s Mike Fisher has a nice Q&A with Mark Cuban.  Cuban’s evaluation on the Mavs: “‘Right now our biggest problem as a team, outside of injuries, is when we miss a shot, we pout. We don’t stay focused. That’s part of the reason Rick (Carlisle, Mavs coach) turned the (play-calling) reins over to J-Kidd. We have to stay focused.’”  Cuban also discusses the possibility of 2010 and the new Collective Bargaining Agreement creating a ‘nuclear winter,’ how he would still trade Harris for Kidd ’100 times out of 100,’ and more.
  • Jerry Stackhouse won’t be available until after the All-Star break.  Available to play, I mean.
  • Something interesting: in the Mavs model of the Celtics “big three”, Kidd isn’t one of the three.  He’s apparently more of a Rajon Rondo.  From Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: “”Our biggest challenge has been health,’ Carlisle says. ‘Josh’s situation early in the year derailed us from getting in a great rhythm offensively in late November and December. And we’ve had to adjust again [with Terry's injured left hand]…But coming in, we projected that those three guys would play exceptionally well and Kidd would be our key facilitator. This is the way we’d like it to keep going when everybody gets healthy.’”
  • Matt Carroll’s favorite movie is Rocky IV.  When people say that, I can never tell if they’re accounting for the unintentional comedy or just overlooking it.
  • Eddie Sefko is ready to nix all the trade talk and fight onward, Maverick soldiers.  From the Dallas Morning News: Which brings us to our next proclamation: “The Mavericks absolutely should not make any major trade before next week’s deadline. Why? Because they finally have some semblance of a groove and, after their splashy trade of a year ago, it’s taken this long for players to find a comfort zone with each other. Make another big deal, and that process starts all over again and you probably waste another year.”

Heard It Through the Grapevine 2-9-09

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

  • Jason Terry is injured.  This sucks.
  • Mark Cuban booted up his calculator and crunched the numbers, unveiling the results of one of the team’s statistical analyses.  No explicit formula, but Cuban’s explanation suggests it’s adjusted +/- on steroids.  Kidd ranks 2nd on Cuban’s metric and Dirk 23rd.  What does that mean, exactly?  According to Cubes, Kidd and Dirk are “…players that are being best put in a position to succeed and are delivering. When their teams have a need, they deliver.”
  • The Mavs could look to Jerry Stackhouse to help hedge the loss of Jason Terry.  I don’t think it’s a very good idea at all, and you can read more of my thoughts on that here.  Still, if we’re leaving no stone unturned, it’s an option we should at least give a proper examination.  From old friend of the Mavericks Art Garcia of NBA.com: “There is a proven scorer on the roster many have forgotten about and with good reason. Jerry Stackhouse, with his career scoring average of 18.5 points, has been on the shelf for nearly three months recovering from a foot injury. He’s getting closer to returning to practice fulltime — Stackhouse has begun doing some drills — but won’t rush it because Terry is hurt. ‘I’m on my body’s pace,’ Stackhouse told NBA.com Saturday night. ‘Whenever I’m ready, I’ll be ready.’ “
  • Fish of DallasBasketball.com also looks at the Mavs’ options sans Terry.  Can we officially scratch Matt Carroll off the options list, though?  No one expected Carroll to step into the Mavs’ rotation seamlessly, but Carroll’s stroke has been beyond bad.  It has to be a confidence issue, and I guess there’s a chance that if Carlisle puts an egg in Carroll’s basket it would hatch into a dragon (or maybe just a really angry bird that can shoot threes), but I’d like to see him play well in a limited role first.  When you’re a shooter by definition and end up hitting all backboard on a jumper, you worry me a little bit.
  • Eddie Sefko with the obligatory “everyone else needs to step it up!” piece.  Two of them, actually.
  • Dating back to 2003-2004 (regular season and playoffs), Dirk is tied for 7th in game-winners made (“24 seconds or less left in the game, team with the ball is either tied or down by 1 to 2 points.”).  JET ranks 29th.  He’s also 3rd in game-winners made for the playoffs over that same timeframe.  Sounds like someone who shrinks under pressure and never hits the big shots, right?

Picking at the Brain of a Bobcat Blogger

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 20, 2009 under Roster Moves | 5 Comments to Read

I have a soft spot in my heart for fans of the Bobcats.  In a sense, Charlotte was Seattle before Seattle even knew what that metaphor would come to mean.  So after the city had its team swept out from under it, I felt like the Charlotte Bobcats might need some help.  So in 2004, I declared the Bobcats to be my “second team.”  I know it goes against the more traditional tenets of fandom and all that, and I don’t care.  I love me some Gerald Wallace.

If you’re at all interested in the Bobcats, the natural way of things will ensure that at some point you end up at Queen City Hoops, the best ‘Cats blog in the biz.  Brett Hainline is not only an incredibly smart fella, but his statistically focused writing is still not only interesting but easily accessible for casual fans, or even hardcore fans who don’t regularly check the APBR Metrics boards.  I’m thrilled to say that Brett is now one my newest neighbors in the TrueHoop Network, and as such I thought it’d be appropriate if we traded thoughts on the recent DeSagana Diop trade.  Here are my questions about the two newest Mavs, and his answers:

Rob: Historically, Matt Carroll has been a top-notch three point threat.  Is the significant drop-off this season largely a product of a different unfamiliar role in the offense, fewer opportunities, or has the guy just lost “it”?

Brett: Matt is a rhythm guy – the more time he gets, the more comfortable he gets, and the more he does.  The drop-off really started last year, with the addition of Jason Richardson – Matt struggled to find a role with the presence of another designated shooter always on the court.  His usage rate came way down – he just stopped shooting nearly as much, and without that, he is not terribly useful (on a basketball court).  Carroll had been such a solid scorer for the Bobcats before these last 2 seasons that I think he just needs some confidence restored and a well-defined role to bounce back.


Rob: What is Ryan Hollins’ greatest strength and his greatest weakness?  Also, what is the one significant area that he must improve in to take the next step up in his game?

Brett: Ryan has incredible athleticism – I know when talking about basketball players that is almost always the case, but this guy is ridiculous.  In addition to college basketball, he was on the track squad – doing the high jump – yes, a 7-footer participating in the high jump.  Unfortunately, the same body type that allows him to be a standout track star also causes him to struggle in the post in the NBA.  Ryan is lacking the bulk to bang in the post, and struggles to defend one on one and to rebound consistently as a result.

Rob: The Mavs’ defense has come and gone this season, and though Dallas is certainly desperate for three-point shooting, a consistent defense could go a long way towards establishing a firm place in the Western Conference elite.  Is Carroll as bad of a defender as I fear he might be?  And, is Hollins going to be “that guy” who can swat shots like mad but bites on every pump fake?

Brett: Carroll is a great defender – as long as he is defending an athlete similar to himself.  He works hard, gets good position, and contests shots – but he is just a tad bit too slow and a little too gravity bound to be a decent defender.  Staying in front of dynamic wings is a real challenge for him and he can’t sag off his man and still contest the shot.  Matt works hard but it can only carry him so far.

As for Ryan, in a word:  Yes.  In more words:  He will come from the weakside and jump over/into/on his teammate to block any shot he can get near, despite the results.  25th in the league in fouls per minute – 7.7 per 40 minutes.  Kind of fun to watch how high he goes for them, somewhat alarming to see him (or a teammate) tumble to the court from great heights after the collision.

—–

Many thanks to Brett for humoring me with the Q&A-ness.  And again, if you’re not reading Queen City Hoops, you’re missing out.

EDIT: Check out my responses to Brett’s questions here.

Donnie Nelson Turns Nothing Into Something

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 16, 2009 under Roster Moves | Be the First to Comment


Disclaimer: I originally posted the following on Hardwood Paroxysm.

I have some fond memories of the Mavs’ 2006 run to the Finals, and there is no doubt that DeSagana Diop was an essential cog in that team. But when the two-headed center that the Mavs employed suddenly transformed into a one headed center tied to a head-shaped doorstop, things got ugly. So from Dallas’ perspective, it makes perfect sense to ship Diop to Charlotte in exchange for Matt Carroll and contract filler Ryan Hollins.

Dirk and Brandon Bass both present considerable defensive problems when they’re forced to defend the post. That’s where Diop was supposed to add to this Mavericks team. Needless to say, that hasn’t exactly been the case. Diop is one helluva soldier in regard to his unwillingness to act up or cause problems when faced with limited playing time, but unfortunately, that is where my compliments of Diop’s season end. He’s always been an offensive liability and it seemed like his D had finally caught up. He struggled to defend stronger foes and really has problems with the pick and roll. He doesn’t have the foot speed to keep up with centers when they step out, and watching him try to guard a point guard on the switch is a bit like watching a cat chase his own tail. It’s harsh, I know, but the time for niceties is long past for the Mavs. Now, it’s about finding the right guys for Coach Carlisle’s attack, and that directive is executed beautifully with the acquisition of Matt Carroll.

Dirk, Jason Terry, and Jason Kidd are excellent at opening up the corners for their teammates. Devean George (28.9%), James Singleton (14.3%), Gerald Green (29.4%), and Antoine Wright (25.6%)have gotten plenty of open looks from the corners. And plenty of those opportunities have ended up with a shot that makes me vomit in my mouth, ever so slightly. Green could get there, and damn do I want him to, but for the time being he’s a sparkplug at best and a ‘factory which has the sole purpose of manufacturing turnovers’ at worst. The rest of the crew ain’t bad (Well, except for Singleton. Sweet rebounder, but I wouldn’t mind if I never saw him take another three.), but they’re not good enough for a team that wants to shoot as often as the Mavs do. The idea is that with Carroll in the corners, the offense could really open up. He’s having a down year that would make Larry Hughes blush, but he’s also a career 40.3% shooter from deep — nothing to scoff at.

The perk of this trade is that there is virtually no downside. Diop was playing marginal minutes anyway, and a combination of Bass and Singleton will likely fill in the gaps. But beyond that, I see two pretty big advantages for the Mavs:

  • Yes, Caroll is owed $21.5 million over the next five years. But that contract is also front-weighted, meaning that his $5 million salary for 2008-2009 is as high as it gets. In the heavily asterisked summer of 2010, Carroll will be on the books for just $4.3 mil. Not bad at all, especially when compared to Gana’s $32 million deal over the same five years ($6.5 in 2010).
  • Suppose that Carroll throws up a brick fest during his time with the Mavs, continues his tear of 2008-2009 sucktitude, and becomes a complete waste of space. Carlisle has shown that he isn’t shy about jerking around minutes, and he simply won’t play Carroll if he doesn’t deserve it. Be it in practice or in games, Matt Carroll is going to have to earn every minute he plays in a Maverick uniform.

Ryan Hollins is a non-factor that was likely included for salary/warm bodies that play the center position reasons.

To some extent, I do feel bad for the Bobcats. They can use the frontcourt depth, but since the summer I’ve felt like the trade game could turn into a hot potato game of Diop’s contract, and my money says the music just cut out. Game over man, game over. Enjoy paying a back-up big enough money to cripple your free agent plans, guys.