Rank Them: Centers

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 29, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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With two days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.

Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with. Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will not be mentioned on these lists because it’s blatantly obvious that they would be on the top of their respective lists, but they’re still long shots to come to Dallas.

 Meshing all the pieces is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.

Note: This is under the premise of bringing Brandan Wright back to be your primary big man off the bench. If the money stays within Ian Mahinmi’s range of four years, $16 million, it makes too much sense to bring him back.

Let’s look at the free agent options at the center position.

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Answered Questions

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 24, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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There have been a lot of positive remarks about the questions and answers series that has started during the offseason. I think people are just thirsty for Mavs information or debate, but we’ll continue running with the series. If you ever have questions you want tossed into future a batch, you can always send them through Twitter or through the comments section.

This batch provides a good mixture of looking back, looking ahead and evaluating who the true gambles are this offseason with free agency. If Dirk and Carlisle were your kids and you had to pick one as your favorite, who would you pick? Wait, parents don’t have to pick a favorite child? Oh, that’s good to know for the future. Anyways, a variation of that topic is brought up.

For now, here are 10 more questions and answers about the Mavs.

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Supply and Demand

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 13, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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It’s never too early to discuss free agency. Well, yeah, it is too early, but the Mavs actually don’t have anything on the agenda in terms of participation in games that actually count. With that in mind, we’ve gotten our first bit of information in terms of free agent news. It’s not really a shocker.

ESPN 1500 in Minnesota reported late last week that it has “heard from multiple angles” that the Minnesota Timberwolves might target free-agent guard O.J. Mayo. When talking about Minnesota it’s important to remember that they’re under new management now. President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders took over as David Kahn was fired.

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The Zach Attack, Part Two

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on March 26, 2013 under Commentary, Interviews | 2 Comments to Read

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In Part One of my conversation with Grantland’s Zach Lowe, we discussed the recent disappearing act of Dirk Nowitzki’s shot attempts, Rick Carlisle’s coaching and the whacky twists and turns the point guard position has created for the team this season.

Part Two really digs into the meat and potatoes for the Mavericks. This summer will once again present a crossroads of sorts for Dallas. There’s also a decision the Mavericks made after winning their championship in 2011 that will likely hover around the franchise for quite some time. Lowe discusses the hindsight look at that as well as looking at the legacy Dirk Nowitzki will imprint on the league.

Let’s dig in. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 113, Minnesota Timberwolves 98

Posted by Kirk Henderson on January 15, 2013 under Recaps | Read the First Comment

Clockwork

Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • This is the second straight opponent the Mavericks have beaten on the second night of a back-to-back. The tired legs of the Minnesota Timberwolves were evident from their shooting (41%), and as the game wore on, the Wolves simply couldn’t keep up with the constant pressure of the Mavericks both offensively and defensively (Dallas forced 15 turnovers). However, the poor shooting created lots of offensive rebounds for the league’s best rebounding team, which was the main reason this game was relatively close in the fourth quarter.
  • Of course, a great way to combat giving up 20 offensive rebounds is to shoot nearly 60% from the field as Dallas did.
  • The ball moves faster via pass than through the dribble, which enabled the Mavericks to keep the Wolves’ defense off-balance all night long with crisp ball movement to the tune of 33 assists on 46 made field goals.
  • The offense of Elton Brand (20 points on 10-for-13 shooting) is no longer hesitant. After posting a shooting percentage in the high 30′s for October and November due to his shot often falling short, Brand has been incredibly consistent. Looking at his shot location against the Wolves, one finds that nearly all of Brand’s makes came from his sweet spots at the 10-to-18 foot mark. Coincidentally, over the 10 previous games, Brand has shot 73% from this range.
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Thermodynamics: Week 8

Posted by Travis Wimberly on December 20, 2012 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Fire and Ice

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

It’s nearly the holidays, but we don’t take early vacations here at The Two Man Game.

Nor do the Mavericks, although it might have seemed otherwise after they failed to show up in Toronto last Friday night. A blowout loss to the Raptors jump-started a 1-2 week for the Mavs. But it wasn’t all bad.

Week 8 (@Raptors, @Timberwolves, 76ers)

FIRE

1) Frontcourt Shooting

The Mavs’ frontcourt — particularly Chris Kaman, Shawn Marion, Elton Brand, and Brandan Wright — had a pleasantly efficient week from the floor. In Toronto, those four Mavs combined to shoot 18-of-32 (56%). The next night in Minnesota, they went 19-of-39 (49%). Back home against Philly, Brand sat out with a groin injury while the other three combined to go 21-of-32 (66%). After having not played meaningful fourth-quarter minutes for several games, Kaman was especially productive in the final frame against Philly, notching eight clutch points on 4-of-5 (80%) shooting. Now, if only the Mavs had another efficient frontcourt scorer, one who might be returning to the lineup soon….

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 82, Minnesota Timberwolves 90

Posted by Kirk Henderson on November 13, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

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Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — Game Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • With about three minutes left in the game, Dallas rediscovered that which had made them an offensive juggernaut the previous week: attacking the basket. Darren Collison (21 points, 11-12 FTs, 5 assists) is the engine behind the Dirkless offense and when he isn’t probing the lane and Dallas settles for long jumpers late in the shot clock, the offense is borderline unwatchable.
  • Dallas started the game the same way they’ve finished the last two: giving up four offensive rebounds in the first 8 minutes of playing time. However, the next three plus quarters they only gave up three.  Dallas is still -69 on the year in terms of rebounding margin, but tonight it was due to the poor shooting display (36.2%).
  • A variety of Timberwolves played excellent.  For the second straight game a point guard had a big game against Dallas; Luke Ridnour (15 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals) helped control the game for Minnesota. Andrei Kirilenko (16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) set the tone early and abused Jae Crowder. Nikola Pekovic (20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists) is such a massive man and to be that skilled offensively is such a rare trait in today’s NBA. Rookie Alexey Shved (16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, 9-11 FTs) didn’t shoot the ball well, but as you can see by his stat line, he managed to affect the game in every other possible way.  I recommend taking a look at A Wolf Among Wolves for their take on the game as well.
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The Difference: Minnesota Timberwolves 105, Dallas Mavericks 90

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 25, 2012 under Recaps | 5 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas96.093.844.210.524.611.6
Minnesota109.450.042.919.314.1

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Ricky Rubio (17 points, 12 assists, seven rebounds, four steals, seven turnovers) did a terrific job of getting the Wolves good looks both inside and out, be he hardly did all the work. Minnesota’s bigs fought hard to get good interior position and create contact once they received the entry pass, and the perimeter players worked diligently for a slice of open floor. The Wolves’ offensive success was hardly constant, but they at least seemed to know what worked and what didn’t, and sought to capitalize on their in-game strengths. Dallas, despite being a team of mismatch creation and utilization, didn’t quite share in that approach.
  • That said, there was a time in this game when the Mavs were pushing the pace not only as a means of getting easy transition buckets, but also forcing opponents to scramble into mismatches. On one particular first-quarter possession, Rubio was mismatched on Lamar Odom, giving Delonte West a chance to pull the ball out for a fake entry look before darting a pass to a wide open Brendan Haywood for an easy dunk. Haywood’s defender had snuck away to help on Odom, and West had correctly identified not only the mismatch, but its ripple effect.
  • The most succinct explanation possible for why the Mavs withered away on offense: they settled. Rarely is it so simple, but Minnesota applied defensive pressure, and Dallas recoiled. No rally. No response. There were simply too many pull-up threes and too many lazy sets. The Mavs tried to speed up their futile comeback attempt with quick jumpers early in the shot clock, but bricked pretty much every “momentum-changing” shot they attempted. I guess they did speed things up in a sense, merely not in the direction that they intended.

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