Playing to the Narrative

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on September 27, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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One of the driving forces in sports today is the idea of the narrative. By definition, a narrative is the representation in art of an event or story. Narratives can be on the nose, but they can often be lazy cookie cutter analysis. That said, it can be quite a driving force in storytelling.

LeBron James had the narrative of being unable to come up clutch. With the game on the line, James would often pass to an open teammate for a game-winning shot. Even though it was the fundamentally sound play, James was lambasted by the media for not taking the last shot. Kobe Bryant is often cited as a clutch player when he’s often missed more game-winning shots than he’s made. Dirk Nowitzki has had his own narrative as many labeled him soft and said he couldn’t be a player that could lead a team to a title.

With a new cast of characters, there’s already a set of narratives in place for all of them. Will they hold true or will they be broken? In order to decide, it’s wise to establish what the narratives are.

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Your Name is All You Have

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on September 25, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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According to various reports, the NBA is considering the Miami Heat and Brookyn Nets to wear special nickname jerseys for a game this season. The natural progression leads to wondering what these type of jerseys would look like for the Dallas Mavericks.

There is a lot of backlash coming from this reported suggestion. Many don’t like the idea of nicknames taking over for the name on the back of the jersey. Phoenix Suns guard Kendall Marshal cited that there is a special value to having his name on the back of his jersey as he is playing and representing his family. It’a a bit of a quandary the league is in with this.

The league is probably the best compared to the rest of pro sports in America, even better than the machine that is the NFL, when it comes to marketing their stars and pushing the envelope in fashion and general apparel.

There are a lot of issues when it comes to the nicknames such as not every player having a nickname or the PG-13-inization of some names. The nickname for Andrei Kirilenko (AK-47) comes to mind.

The league is slowly approaching a time where ads will be on their jerseys. Honestly, the first step in terms of altering names on jerseys was going with Twitter account names as opposed to nicknames. I’m sure that’s still coming down the trail.

Anyway, back to the idea of looking what the jerseys would look like for the Mavs.

Let’s look at the ones we know that are a given.

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Forget Me Not

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on September 23, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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In today’s society, we often look for the next big thing or look to say something has served its purpose and it is then time to move away from it. Sometimes, people get lazy and fail to recognize what is still directly in front of them. It feels like Dirk Nowitzki is the latest victim of this circumstance.

Earlier in the month, NBA.com asked their bloggers to predict which player born outside the United States would be have the biggest 2013-14 season? It seemed like most of the bloggers, outside of Lang Whitaker, went ahead and tried to peg the next big thing. It’s kind of funny to see how everyone is looking for the next big thing, mainly due to what Nowitzki was able to do over the course of his career, and equally downplayed what he still could have left in the tank.

The tossing to the side doesn’t end there. Surprisingly, Nowitzki couldn’t get the love from the international folks, either. Again, in another informal poll, 38 players – why 38 – participating in this year’s EuroBasket tournament were asked who were the Top 5 European basketball players of all time. Nowitzki ended up being ranked fifth on the list.

Drazen Petrovic (Croatia), Tony Parker (France), Arvydas Sabonis (Lithuania) and Dejan Bodiroga (Serbia) all ranked ahead of Nowitzki in the results. It’s hard to segment a player’s career just based on what they did in international play, completely ignoring what they did or didn’t do at the highest level of the sport, but that seems to be what was done when coming up with the results.

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Roar of Approval

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on September 16, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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I can’t say that I’ve been lucky enough to visit every NBA arena during my time as a blogger. The ones I have been to have their own uniqueness to them. The different areas around the league provide different types of entertainment and have different degrees of fan interaction on game nights. If you talk to most people who travel around the league, they will tell you that the Dallas Mavericks provide a top-notch “show” for their fans.

“This is a focus of the Mavs,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban told the Two Man Game via email. “People come to games to have a unique experience. We want to leverage all the elements that we can so that every fans has a memorable time.”

Whether it is the Mavs Maniaacs, Mavs Dancers or funny videos on the big screen, the Mavs make sure the fans who come to the game are entertained.

That entertainment factor is something that is certainty lacking in arenas I’ve been to over my four years of covering the NBA. The thing that separates the Mavs from a vast majority of the league is their ability to keep you entertained when the game stops for a timeout.

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Money Plays

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on September 13, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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For those who didn’t notice, I wrote a blog post series for ESPN Dallas over the last two weeks. It was with the premise that the NBA is a game that’s played on the floor as well as a game that’s played via spreadsheets and calculators. With more punitive actions directed towards them when going over the salary cap, franchises must do a better job of finding talent that can outperform the contracts that were given to them.

I took some heat for the grading I did over the course of the series. The heat mainly generated from not going below a B- on the grades. When you really look at it, the deals that they gave out as a whole were not bad. The players might or might not be the ones you were hoping for, but the deals they were signed to weren’t bad in comparison to the rest of the market.

Keep in mind, the Mavs had to operate under their Plan B, C and D options because Dwight Howard decided to go elsewhere. They the equivalent of max-out money to spend with Howard, Paul and the rest of the big name players off the market and they did the best they could with what was out on the market.

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Where Are They Now?

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

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The free agency period is pretty much over. Scratch that. The free agency period is almost over. The Dallas Mavericks announced on Tuesday the signings of Fab Melo, D.J. Kennedy and Richard McConnell to expand the current roster to 18 players. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein was the first to report in the Mavs’ interest in Melo, the 22nd pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

With 15 players under contract but 18 on the roster, it’s important to remember that they can take up to 20 to camp. They don’t have to get down to 15 until just before the season starts. Most teams like to take 15-20 players into camp to allow veteran players a little easier of a path through the rigors of camp. An added sense of competition for the end of the roster players isn’t a bad thing, either.

There may be a few more names that pop up in the next few weeks, but the next big date is Sept. 30 (media day). That means the machine is getting ready to roll again for another new season. While there is still a little time left, I wanted to take a unique look at free agency. There are nine names on the list of remaining free agents that have direct ties to the Mavs. It’s interesting to see how they joined the Mavs and what has happened to them since they left the team.

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Running the Weave: Upgrade or Downgrade

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 23, 2013 under Commentary | 4 Comments to Read

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We wrap up the staff’s Q&A this week with a rather simple question. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the various voices giving their insight on the topics.

We’ve got a great staff here at The Two Man Game. I can’t thank them enough for their contributions towards this. They were the driving force for the project.

Let’s run the weave one more time.

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Running the Weave: Dirk Nowitzki

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 22, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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As everyone knows, the Dallas Mavericks begin and end with Dirk Nowitzki. As the face of the franchise, the Tall Baller From the G sets the tone. He has another new cast of characters around him this season. At age 35, the hope is Nowitzki can stay healthy and avoid missing a large chunk of the season as he did last year due to knee surgery.

With Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki is the only man on the 15-man roster who has an NBA championship on his resume. With a new group of players, Nowitzki will have to help show them how to approach the pursuit of winning it all.

After coming off his lowest scoring average since his rookie season, doubters are swirling around Nowitzki, wondering if he has enough left to be a superstar. Whether or not Dirk Nowitzki has enough left to be a top-level leader is the question that’s posed to the staff as they run the weave.

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Running the Wave: New Blood

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 21, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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With the new wave of players, the sense of excitement is palatable. With the American Airlines Center dormant for the first time during the playoffs since Mark Cuban took over the team, the Mavs made another attempt to reload their roster. There are some very intriguing names that have been added to the mix.

With the new players up for discussion again, the Two Man Game crew answers another question relating to them.

Once again, it’s time to run the weave.

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Running the Weave: Underrated

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 20, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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The crew at the Two Man Game continues to run the weave.

On Monday, the crew assembled and gave their insight on who they prefer out of Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel as the young point guard prospect to keep for the immediate future. The results were mixed. We’ll have to see how the season plays out for those two young guards as they embark on their first lap through the NBA.

This next question takes a look at the players that were in the mix at last week’s introductory press conference.

Let’s see what the crew had to say.

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