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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Rorschach: Part Four

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on August 15, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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Here is the final part to the Rorschach test of the 2013-14 Mavs roster.

Shawn Marion has been the team’s basketball spackle, helping alleviate whatever issue the team is having. Gal Mekel, the second Israeli player in NBA history, was the team’s first free agent acquisition of the summer. Dirk Nowitzki is the man who emerges from the phone booth. Brandan Wright is the returning big man who provided a strong spark off the bench last season.

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

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Clearing Doubt

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 22, 2013 under Interviews | Be the First to Comment

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a surprise appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Galloway and Company show Monday afternoon to discuss a plethora of topics. The first one was the team’s hiring of Gersson Rosas from Houston to be the team’s new general manager. He discussed his comments a little more about how the team might be better off without Dwight Howard. He also discussed the biggest gripe he has about analysts who are downplaying the Mavs going into this coming season.

Here is the quoteboard from Cuban’s appearance on Galloway and Company.

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Under the Microscope

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 30, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

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This is it. This is the moment that everyone has been waiting for. As it was apparent that the Mavs weren’t going to make the first time in over a decade, everyone circled July 1st on their calendar. They waited to see if the Mavs could really make progress on improving their team.

Some are waiting to say “I told you so” and that dismantling the championship team was a mistake. Over the weekend, I’ve looked over that roster again and the results and I still stand by my belief that that captured lightning in a bottle and Dirk Nowitzki had one of the greatest playoff runs the league has ever seen. As the Miami Heat celebrate their second championship, Dirk and those Mavs will know that they “got ‘em.”

History may or may not remember the 2011 Mavs for what they did and mainly remember what the Heat didn’t do, but there’s no way to erase the fact that Nowitzki was the baddest man on a basketball court that summer.

Last season was a disappointing one as the Mavs wandered through the wilderness of mediocrity. Nowitzki’s injury derailed the season from the get-go. Despite that, the Mavs were able to find a way to stay playoff relevant until the final week of the season. That shows that Dirk and a cast of characters can be a playoff team, but the front office must now make their move and secure more reliable weapons for their star. “We’re trying to accumulate high quality, high character, high energy, high motor, skilled players to put around Dirk Nowitzki,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said after the draft. “He’s still one of the greatest players in the game and we’ve got to enhance his ability to do what he does.

“We’ve got to enhance the opportunity to keep him playing as long as possible because he loves to play and he’s great. To do that effectively, we’ve got to get the best guys possible around him. That’s a priority and it’ll continue to be one this summer.”

Now is the time. Let’s look at everything under the free agency microscope.

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Real Talk

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 28, 2013 under Interviews, News | Be the First to Comment

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In a surprising move, Dirk Nowitzki spoke prior to the draft on a variety of topics. Here is what he had to say.

Here is Dirk’s pre-draft Quoteboard.

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Rank Them: Small Forwards

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 26, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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With five 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.

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.

The small forward position represents the strong position for the Mavs in terms of depth. That said, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter and Jae Crowder could easily be moved in a perfect trade comes.

Let’s look at the free agents at the small forward position. Read more of this article »

Trade Takes

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

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With the draft one week away, the news and rumors will be flying around at a rapid rate. The first real bit of information in terms of speculation has popped up.

During his weekly chat on Wednesday, ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford was asked a question by a Mavs fan in Houston (man, that must be tough) in regards to what the Mavs might be thinking.

Jo Jo was the questioner. I wonder if they have a friend named K-Ci.

Anyway, Jo Jo asked: Who’s is in play for the Mavs pick (what are you hearing)? Pistons, Cavs, others? What is it going to cost besides taking on Marion?

Chad Ford replied: I’ve also heard the Knicks, Thunder and Cavs. Cost is either a 2014 first rounder or taking back Marion into room. By the way, some teams think that the Mavs may already have a deal as the trade talk has silenced in Dallas the past few days. The Mavs can’t officially announce anything until after they make their draft selection.

Let’s start breaking that bit of information down like a fraction.

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Outside the Box: Valley of the Sun

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on June 12, 2013 under Commentary | 2 Comments to Read

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This week, The Two Man Game will start looking at what the Mavs could do as another pivotal summer is upon them. Mark Cuban has said there are different ways or “permutations” to ensure the Mavs won’t have a failure of a summer if they are unable to land a big fish acquisition.

Dirk Nowitzki said Cuban is “all-in” on this summer, and committed to bringing the franchise back to where it belongs. There are traditional ways to do that but there are also outside the box ways of doing that. We’ll look at five potential angles the Mavs could work that would be considered outside the box.

The Phoenix Suns have not made the playoffs over the last three seasons. That includes last season where they had the worst record in the entire Western Conference. They’re presently a team without a star, that really doesn’t have a direction or vision on how to improve their situation. They’re a mess.

They do have two intriguing pieces in Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat that could be of some use to the Mavs. Dragic likely appears the less realistic due to his contract. Dallas already had hesitations about him as a point guard (which I still don’t exactly understand), so I’m guessing they wouldn’t want to bring him on under the deal that Phoenix signed him to. That leaves Marcin Gortat.

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