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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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: 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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Rorschach: Part Two

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

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The Rorschach test of the 2013-14 Mavs roster continues.

Jae Crowder comes in after seeing what life in the NBA really means. Mark Cuban dusts himself off after striking out on another max-out free agent. Samuel Dalembert steps in as the new starting center for the Mavs. Wayne Ellington provides the team one of potentially multiple value signings they made for their bench this season.

Let’s take a look of each of them in a little more detail.

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Summer Thoughts Continued

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 7, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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As we discussed last week, there are plenty of things to cover with the Mavs. Considering the time of the year, that might come as a shock but there’s been a lot of movement within the organization during the off-season.

Let’s roll with the next part of the Mavs Q&A.

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Summer Thoughts

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 2, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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With the Las Vegas Summer League over and in the rear-view mirror, the basketball activity period is officially shifting towards the hibernation phase. Crumbs will be thrown to those who can’t get enough of the NBA as there will be a few signings that will be done to fill out rosters, the schedule will be announced and we’ll start to hear about training camp information. Unfortunately, the dead time of the NBA year has to come. It doesn’t leave me with much to do (what am I going to do, try to watch TV? No, thank you).

If I’m not going to dust off my remote and actually try to watch TV shows that everyone loves, I’ll keep thinking about basketball. A lot has actually happened over the last few days/weeks and that has led me to do what I do: wonder and try to assess things. That usually leads to questions and answers. It’s been a few weeks since the Q&A format has been used.

Here is the first batch of questions and subsequent (and questionable) answers.

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Men in the Middle

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 18, 2013 under Commentary, News | Be the First to Comment

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After having a meeting with Dallas last week, Andrew Bynum decided to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Mavs decided that Bynum’s situation was not worth pursuing any further. After much discussion, Dallas decided to make Samuel Dalembert their new starting center. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein first reported that Dallas was closing in a deal to make Dalembert the team’s new starting center.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that the deal is a two-year, $7.5 million deal with Dallas.

Dalembert’s contract for 14-15 is partially guaranteed.

That means he is the next center from the recent crop of Dallas centers: Erick Dampier, Brendan Haywood, Tyson Chandler and Chris Kaman.

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The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 117, Houston Rockets 110

Posted by Rob Mahoney on April 18, 2012 under Recaps | 7 Comments to Read

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Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot ChartGame Flow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FTRORRTOR
Dallas92.0127.258.932.926.311.7
Houston119.657.017.431.811.5

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

  • The strategic turn of the game came when the Mavericks — who had been torched by Houston’s perimeter shooting since the early stages of the first quarter — began switching on every pick and roll. The Rockets immediately looked to exploit that fact by involving Brandan Wright (four points, five rebounds) in mandatory switches and then looking to exploit him off the bounce, but Wright did a fantastic job of getting down into a defensive stance and rebuffing dribble penetration. Similarly, Jason Kidd (12 points, 4-7 3FG, eight assists, one turnover) was as brilliant in denying the post as can be expected; Kidd’s ability to handle defensive switches was a huge reason why Dallas was so effective in the Finals, and he was similarly crafty in his fronting of Patrick Patterson and Luis Scola in the fourth. Houston warily tried to attack what they initially perceived as created mismatches, only to fall back into a less aggressive offense and let Dallas switch without penalty.  (Additionally: Kidd may have began the game with some defensive lapses, but by the end he was in full-on throwback mode. His effort was pristine and the results spoke for themselves. Even with the postseason right around the corner, it would be hard to ask for anything more from Kidd.)
  • That said, Dallas’ defensive adjustment came a bit late, or at least their early defensive failures made it so. There were simply far too many conceded jumpers throughout the first three quarters, and unlike Monday’s game against the Jazz, there was no strategic reason to collapse into the middle and leave the perimeter exposed. Goran Dragic (20 points, 8-12 FG, 10 assists, six turnovers) and company initially played the screen game as aggressively as is their wont, and until Rick Carlisle toggled the Mavs into a switch-heavy set, Dallas seemed hopeless against Houston’s outside shooters. The Mavs had still managed to force a good number of turnovers with a swarming interior defense and shading of the passing lanes, but the paint needs to be defended without such a complete disregard for what lies beyond the arc.
  • Jason Terry’s (19 points, 6-11 FG, 3-6 3FG, three assists, four rebounds, three turnovers) annual rut is apparently well behind him; JET nearly topped 20 points for the third consecutive game, and legitimately altered the course of the contest with his on-court gravity. Even as Dallas’ third-leading scorer, Terry was something of a motivational center. He went on a self-propelled 10-0 run. He attempted to put some early punctuation on the game with an attempted slam. He scored and created and provided all the extracurriculars, as Dallas rallied behind his effort and enthusiasm. It’s not hard to find games in which the Mavericks move one way and Terry moves another, but this contest was marked by their perfect symbiosis.

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Bones on Bones

Posted by Rob Mahoney on December 10, 2011 under Commentary, News, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read

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The Mavs weren’t expected to make much commotion during this year’s abridged free agency, but they’ve already made one move in anticipation of another. The Knicks’ acquisition of Tyson Chandler — originally designed to be an outright free agent signing — has officially been processed as a three-team, sign-and-trade endeavor, scoring Dallas an $11 million trade exception, a protected second round pick (via Washington), and the imminently waivable Andy Rautins. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the Mavs are already working to use that traded player exception to acquire Samuel Dalembert on a one-year deal via sign-and-trade with Sacramento.

It’s a lot of hustle and bustle (especially when coupled with Dallas’ signing of Brandan Wright, and likely acquisition on Vince Carter) for a team largely anticipated to stand pat, but it’s worth waiting for the smoke to clear before we take full stock in Dallas’ off-season haul. Trade exceptions, by nature, are transitory tools; they’re only worth what a team is able to gain with them, and we’ll have a better grasp of the yield from the Chandler sign-and-trade as soon as Dalembert makes his decision. The Mavs are hardly the only team pursuing him; Stein also noted that Houston was interested in acquiring Dalembert if the Rockets’ other options fell through, meaning the Mavs’ next play could lean on the reconstruction and upcoming review of the Chris Paul blockbuster.

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