Oceans have dried up and mountain ranges have crumbled since the Dallas Mavericks drafted Nick Calathes in 2009, but the team’s specific circumstances — while entirely different — are eerily familiar. The Mavs are still in need of a successor to Jason Kidd (who is almost assuredly gone), could still benefit from a cross-matching playmaker to pair alongside Rodrigue Beaubois or Dominique Jones, and are — as is team custom — very thin in terms of developmental depth. Calathes could oblige in many of those capacities, and for the first time since Dallas drafted him, he’s contractually free to ply his trade stateside. Per Eurohoops.net, that’s precisely what he intends to do:
Nick Calathes’ contract with Panathinaikos ended, he is a free agent and he will try his best in order to get a roster spot in Dallas. That should be the natural evolution for him…Calathes is a 23 years old player, who believes that he learned all he could from European basketball and now feels that it’s the right time for him to try and achieve his childhood dream of playing in the NBA. He will play for the Greek national team at the FIBA Pre-Olympic tournament, but he wants also be present at the Las Vegas summer league and will chase his dream, something that can be done if Greece doesn’t qualify to London.
Vegas Summer League is fast approaching, and with the draft in the rear-view mirror, the roster is starting to take shape. Here’s a preliminary depth chart of all of the prospects confirmed for the team (in bold) and those invited to tryout for a spot in the Mavs’ mini-camp.
PG – Rodrigue Beaubois (Maverick U), Jeremy Lin (Harvard), Jermaine Beal (Vanderbilt)
SG – Dominique Jones (South Florida; drafted by the Mavs in 2010), Shan Foster (Vanderbilt; drafted by the Mavs in 2008), Kelvin Lewis (Houston), Jamel White (Texas Wesleyan), Andre Emmett (Texas Tech; drafted by the Sonics in 2004), Tony Crocker (Oklahoma), Dwight Lewis (USC)
SF – Larry Owens (Oral Roberts/Tulsa 66ers), Derrick Byars (Drafted by the Blazers in 2007), Eric Tramiel (North Texas), Roderick Flemings (Hawaii)
PF – Mouhammad Faye (SMU), Zivonko Buljan (TCU)
C – Omar Samhan (St. Mary’s), Moussa Seck (Senegal)
You may notice that the Mavs’ two second round picks from last year, Nick Calathes and Ahmad Nivins, are both oddly absent. Calathes is prevented from playing in Summer League due to his deal with Panathinaikos Athens. Nivins would theoretically be cleared, but was sidelined with a knee injury while playing for Manresa last December. Mark Cuban confirmed via email that Ahmad is still rehabbing.
The roster could still change a bit between now and the end of mini-camp, particularly if any of the more skilled invitees decide to play for the Mavs. Most of the top undrafted players are already accounted for, but there are still plenty of prospects out there. Brian Zoubek (Duke), Mac Koshwal (DePaul), Devan Downey (South Carolina), Justin Mason (Texas), Courtney Fortson (Arkansas), Marquis Gilstrap (Iowa State), Tyler Smith (Tennessee), and Tommy Mason-Griffin (Oklahoma) all worked out for the Mavs and are unattached for Vegas, making them the more likely possibilities of the bunch.
Even if there aren’t any notable additions between now and the start of Summer League, there are plenty of interesting players in this bunch. Beaubois you already know, and it’ll be nice to get another look at him running the point full-time. Dominique Jones will make his Maverick debut, and I have a feeling a lot of people will be pleasantly surprised. Larry Owens is an interesting wing prospect coming to the Mavs by way of the D-League, and he’s capable of providing some scoring (including three-point shooting) and rebounding at SF. Omar Samhan and the 7’4” Moussa Seck provide two very different looks at center, but both will command your viewing attention when on the floor.
It’s still doubtful the Summer League team will produce any unknown talent worthy of making the Mavs’ roster this season, but there could be some training camp prospects in the bunch. Not to mention candidates for the Texas Legends. It’s not quite Maverick basketball, but this is going to be fun, folks.
In the same update, Eddie Sefko also notes that Nick Calathes, one of the Mavs’ second rounders last year, will play professionally in Greece again next season and thus is not allowed to compete with Dallas in summer league.
Kelly Dwyer assembled a list of the top playoff performers this season, with Dirk getting his due at #6: “Had the Mavericks played a little longer, with Dirk no doubt approximating his averages of 26.7 points per game on 55 percent shooting, 8.2 rebounds and just 1.7 turnovers a contest, Nowitzki would probably be duking it out with Pau and Rondo at the top. As it is, the Mavs were out in the first round, and though Dirk had some chances to aid his Mavericks down the stretch of a few of their losses to San Antonio, the biggest reason they were in those losses to begin with was because of Nowitzki’s superb play.”
Tom Ziller and Bethlehem Shoals compiled a number of free agency outcomes, most of which involve Dirk staying a Mav, but two that involve Nowitzki signing with the Knicks (one alongside LeBron, the other alongside Joe Johnson). It’s more exploratory than predictive, but one line should stick out to Mavs fans: “LeBron’s not coming Dallas, no matter how catchy its Autotune-d siren song; it’s Dirk and little else.” The last phrase is something that most MFFLs have noted following Dallas’ loss in the first round of the playoffs, but the argument is somehow flipped when the topic of free agency comes up. I agree that Dallas has the most complete team for a star that wants to contend immediately (supposing they retain both Dirk and Brendan Haywood, of course), but the logical shift is still very interesting. Even LeBron wouldn’t solve all of the Mavs problems.
Steve Nash’s top 10 career assists, with #10 coming while he was in a Maverick uniform. Plenty of gems in the bunch, but disappointingly unrepresentative of Steve’s entire career. It’s not just a Mavs thing, either; Nash’s first few years with the Suns seem a tad neglected as well. Then again, all of the assists chosen are awesome, so what’s the use in complaining? (Link via Ball Don’t Lie)
Your Dallas Mavericks are the biggest underachievers of the decade. Not exactly the kind of accolade you’d like, but the facts speak for themselves in this case: A decade of good teams and opportunities have brought back little in terms of hardware.
Kevin Pelton ranked the 2005-2006 Mavs the 16th best team of the decade, as determined primarily by point differential: “Take away the NBA Finals and this is your best runner-up of the decade. Actually, take away the last three games and one quarter of the Finals and this is one of the best teams of the decade. For that matter, take away Bennett Salvatore and … never mind.”
I spend a lot of time defending Erick Dampier, but this time, he’s gone and done something (or rather, said something) so completely nonsensical that I wouldn’t even think to touch it. Carl Landry is all kinds of tough.
There’s a popular notion that the ‘feeling out’ process between a team and its coach is critical to establishing a functional relationship. That may be true, but Rick Carlisle is firmly opposed to the next step in the process, in which the players become a bit too comfortable.
Mavs’ second round pick Nick Calathes talked to HoopsTV about playing in Greece, his college experience at Florida, and of particular interest to us, his future with the Mavs: “I talked to coach Carlisle since I’ve been here and I have talked to Mark Cuban. I was going to play in the summer league (Las Vegas), but FIBA made a rule saying that I couldn’t. So I have stayed in close contact with them throughout the year. I think Dallas could be a great fit for me, maybe in the future, but right now I am focused only on Panathinaikos and hopefully we can win the Euroleague championship again this year and we’ll go from there.”
An unexpected weapon in the offense this season: the Jason Kidd-Erick Dampier pick-and-roll. The two biggest surprises in Erick Dampier’s game have been his hands and his quickness going up with the ball, both of which are absolutely critical to the PnR’s success.
Just in case you forgot, the Mavs don’t shoot threes all that well, and don’t score at the rim. Two-point jump shots are the bread and butter of the Dallas offense, and while that doesn’t translate to elite offensive efficiency (or hasn’t…YET), it is what it is. The Mavs are some of the best in the biz at what they do. It just so happens that what they do isn’t the most efficient way to but a ball through a hoop.
The player of the decade isn’t Dirk Nowitzki, and it’s not Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, or Kevin Garnett, either. Tim Duncan is the one true king of the 2000s, and his glory is indisputable. Mavs fans have had the fortune and misfortune to see Duncan go to work on many occasions, and while that’s hardly a good thing for Dallas, it’s a great thing for fans of the game. Hail, hail, Tim Duncan.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Blazers have legitimate interest in Jason Kidd. Boot up the trade machine!
Nick Prevenas of NBADraft.net: “The 2009 draft frequently draws comparisons to the 2000 draft — otherwise known as the worst draft in NBA history. Kenyon Martin (a player eerily similar to Griffin) went No. 1 overall, but never developed into the dominant power forward we expected to see after his career at Cincinnati was stopped short by a broken leg. He turned into a key cog in the Denver Nuggets’ run to the Western Conference Finals, but injuries have held back a potentially promising career. The rest of that draft was just dreadful. Marcus Fizer? Keyon Dooling? Jerome Moiso? Courtney Alexander? Lottery picks. Seriously…Is this year’s draft that bad? At this point, I’m leaning no. However, it is the type of draft where a team would much rather pick in the 15-25 range than from 4-13…[Jrue] Holiday — along with guys like Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill, Jeff Teague, and so on — are seeing their stock artificially inflated because of the lack of competition.”
Matt Kamalsky of Draft Express breaks down the shooting guards in the draft (notably Marcus Thornton, Terrence Williams, Jeff Teague) by the numbers.
John Hollinger’s Draft Rater is very high on Ty Lawson, Austin Daye, and Nick Calathes, three prospects which have been linked to the Mavs via rumors or simply availability. The three came in as the 1st, 4th, and 6th best collegiate prospects respectively, outclassing plenty of their lottery-bound draftmates. Jordan Hill and Patty Mills are listed as potential disappointments. Hollinger willingly admits that the Rater has missed the boat entirely on some prospects, so keep in mind that prospect hunting is hardly a science.
The Nets’ GM, Kiki Vandeweghe, gave a glowing review of Lawson following his workout in Jersey: “To me, it’s more of what the guy has inside. It’s more about speed, quickness…At the end of the day, that’s what basketball is. Would you like to have taller players on your team? Yeah, it’s basketball…But having said that, this guy I think is one of the more ready guys to play. If he comes in, he helps a team, no question about it…First of all, he’s very strong…If you look at the history, he makes other players better, knows how to play. If you go back through the history of our league, guys who were very strong that way — no matter what size they are — they find a way to compete at their position. I think he really helps a team.”
Dave Berri also makes the case for Lawson. That’s not one, but two of the most prominent stat heads in the field on Lawson’s side. Ty also has all of the “heart of a champion” rhetoric and anecdotal evidence he could possibly need. Considering that all that really seems to stand between Lawson and a guaranteed spot in the lottery are his measurables, can the Mavs really expect him to tumble to 22?
The Knicks may have some interest in Hill at 8, so if the Mavs are content with moving up in the draft to snag him, they’d best play it safe and aim for Washington’s 5th pick. Then again, maybe they shouldn’t be doing that at all for the likes of Jordan Hill. And then again, maybe Hill has convinced the Wizards to stick around in the lottery.
Michael Stephenson, in a guest post for TrueHoop: “Teague had the purest stroke and hit his jumper most consistently in the drills and during the scrimmage…But it was obvious that he’s a level behind and had trouble keeping up with his peers. In an extremely guard heavy draft, I imagine it’s going to be tough for him to turn many heads.” The peers that Stephenson describes are Jonny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, Ty Lawson, Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans.
John Givony, of DraftExpress fame, wrote a feature on point guards for NBA.com. Conveniently absent from Givony’s superlatives is Jeff Teague, and there’s a reason for that: Teague is not, and likely will never be, a conventional point guard. Asking Teague to run the show is akin to asking a young Jason Terry of the same
The Mavs certainly have competition for the services of Terrence Williams. The Nets seem awfully high on him, and the Bobcats would not only make sense (Williams seems like a Larry Brown kinda guy), but be entirely possible with the 12th pick.
Williams knows how to win over the hearts and minds of NBA coaches, teammates, and die-hards: defense. It’s what separates him from the rest of the talent pool the Mavs may face with the 22 pick, and Williams has the size, the resolve, and the athleticism to be a fantastic defender in the big leagues.