Become a Fanatic! Register Here or Already a fanatic? Sign in Here


Mavs Reloaded: Championship Resemblance?

by Michael Lark on July 31, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Mavs2011

The Dallas Mavericks are wrapping up what looks to be their best offseason since hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2011. We all remember how that offseason began; the Mavs utilized the well-known DUST (Dampier’s Ultimate Sign Trade) Chip for Tyson Chandler. The Mavs were hoping to somehow flip the DUST Chip for cap space in order to sign then free agent, Lebron “I’m Coming Home” James, but instead ended up with the often injured Chandler who was better known for his alley-oop dunks with Chris Paul then his defensive fortitude. Without a big name free agent the Mavs were forced to build with role players around Dirk Nowitzki.

The 2011 edition of the Dallas Mavericks were one of the most unique teams in NBA history. They weren’t a team comprised of individuals, but rather a group of individuals (See: Heat, Miami) working together as a team. All 15 players on the roster had a role; and while some roles were bigger than others, each person played a valuable role in the collective goal of the team - win a championship.

Three seasons later, the Mavs offseason looks eerily similar. Lebron chose to take his talents and ego elsewhere while the Mavs utilize their Euro Chip, Jose Calderon, to bring Chandler back to Dallas. While fans are excited about the move, it doesn’t thrust the Mavs into the discussion for a title and they still didn’t land a big fish. Instead, they still have Nowitzki and have added key role players around him following the same blueprint from 2011.

So how do the players on this team fit into their roles compared to the 2011 Championship team? Let’s take a look.

 

The Leader

2011 Rick Carlisle vs. 2014 Rick Carlisle

Four years later, Carlisle is still around and remains highly regarded as one of the top coaches in the NBA. He’s a smart coach who has made a name for himself as a coach that can get the most out of any player. Carlisle has continued to get better each year and remains the number one strength, aside from Mark Cuban, of the Mavs organization.

 

 

The Superstar

2011 Dirk Nowitzki  vs. 2014 Dirk Nowitzki

Now 36, Dirk is four years older and a half step slower. His season averages have dropped slightly from 2011 (23.0 ppg, 7.0 rebs, 2.6 asts) to his 2013 numbers (21.7 ppg, 6.2 rebs, 2.7 asts). After an injury riddled 2012-13 campaign, Dirk came back to his usual form and earned a trip to the NBA All-Star Game in 2014. Since 2001, when trailing by 3 points or less in the final 30 seconds of a game, Dirk has the highest field goal percentage of any player in the NBA at 45.2% (19 of 42) when shooting for a tie or a lead according to Basketball-Reference.com.

 

The Sidekick

2011 Jason Terry vs. 2014 Monta Ellis

Last year, Monta Ellis stepped into the role of Dirk’s sidekick. He proved many critics wrong who labeled him an inefficient, volume shooter by utilizing the “Dirk Effect” to get open opportunities and improve his shot selection. The Dirk and JET two-man game was resurrected and ultimately proved to be an enormous success. On paper, Monta’s 2013 numbers (19.0 ppg, 3.6 rebs, 5.7 asts) demonstrate that he can easily fill the role of 2011 Jason Terry (15.8 ppg, 1.9 rebs, 4.1 asts). However, it’s JET’s intangibles as a leader and clutch shooter that may have Monta falling short.

 

Tuff Juice

2011 Caron Butler vs. 2014 Chandler Parsons

Caron Butler was the forgotten Maverick on the 2011 Championship team. During the regular season before a torn patella tendon ended his season, he averaged 15.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists. He was a reliable option every night that could provide a little bit of everything. In 2014, the Mavs struck gold with Chandler Parsons (16.6 ppg, 5.5 rebs, 4.0 asts) who they hope can be the reliable second or third scoring option this season, playing the role of Caron Butler.

 

The Defensive Anchor

2011 Tyson Chandler vs. 2014 Tyson Chandler

Chandler is perhaps the most valuable piece of the puzzle. Just as in 2011, (10.1 ppg, 9.4 rebs, 1.1 blks) he’s in a contract year. His season averages have dipped (8.7 ppgs, 9.6 rebs, 1.1 blks) and the tag “always injured” still haunts him. After a down year in 2013, the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year believes he can be even better than he was in 2011.

 

Ole Reliable

2011 Jason Kidd vs. 2014 Jameer Nelson

In 2011, 37 year-old Jason Kidd (7.9 ppg, 4.4 rebs, 8.2 asts) was “Ole Reliable” in the Mavs backcourt. He provided the Mavs with a backcourt leader who could facilitate and consistently knock down open three-point shots (35%). At 32, Jameer Nelson looks poised to do the same as a facilitator (7.0 assists per game in 2013) and three-point shooter (35%). Though, he lacks the size on the defensive end that made Jason Kidd so unique, who was even able to guard Lebron James in the Finals at times. But hey, it’s ok because we started from the bottom now Jameer.

 

The Defensive Stopper

2011 Shawn Marion vs. 2014 Jae Crowder/Al Farouq-Aminu

Shawn Marion was the Mavs most versatile player in 2011. He was the team’s defensive stopper, often guarding the opponent’s top players while boasting solid numbers on the offensive end (12.5 ppg, 6.9 rebs, 1.4 asts). This year the Mavs fall overwhelmingly short of the 2011 Matrix. In 2014, The Matrix Reloaded presents a double feature of players with solid defensive abilities in Jae Crowder (4.6 ppg, 2.5 rebs, 0.8 asts) and athletic sensation, Al Farqou-Aminu (7.2 ppg, 6.2 rebs, 1.4 asts). Both are just what you’d think: they’re comparable, but the original Matrix is better.

 

That’s Penetration Holmes

2011 J.J. Barea vs. 2014 Devin Harris

Mr. Drive and Kick at 5”8’ J.J. Barea (9.5 ppg, 2.0 rebs, 3.9 asts) supplied the 2011 Mavs with a player who could break down defenses, get to the basket and score or find the open man on the wing. The 2014 Mavs have a similar player in Devin Harris (7.9 ppg, 2.5 rebs, 4.5 asts), but this time with a lot more size. Now, the only question that remains is, can he stay healthy?

 

The Marksmen

2011 Peja Stojakovic vs. 2014 Richard Jefferson

In 2011, Stojakovic (8.6 ppg, 2.6 rebs, 3.9 asts) had one role and one role only: to make three-pointers. And that’s exactly what he did, shooting 41% from behind the arc while providing little else, finishing his career with the ninth most three-pointers made. Jefferson (10.1 ppg, 2.7 rebs, 1.6 asts) is 109th on that same list, is three years younger and has the athleticism to get to bucket and convert at the three.

 

The Back Up Big

2011 Brendan Haywood vs. 2014 Greg Smith

As much flack as Haywood got as a member of the Mavs, he was actually one of the top backup centers in the league in 2011 (4.4 ppg, 5.2 rebs) who embraced his role as the lace clogging big man. This year’s Mavs feature a little known center, Greg Smith (3.5 ppg, 2.5 rebs), who comes to the team with little experience and a history of injuries.

 

Hey Youngster!

2011 Roddy Beaubois vs. 2014 Gal Mekel

Roddy B was last seen in the 2014 Vegas Summer League. In 2011, Beaubois’ roll was virtually non-existent.  Expect Mekel role to be the same.

 

“Hey Lebron! How’s my Dirk taste?”

2011 DeShawn Stevenson vs. 2014 Raymond Felton

DeShawn Stevenson (5.3 ppg, 1.5 rebs, 1.1 asts) was a significant, multipurpose role player for the Mavs in 2011, capable of hitting big time three-point shots and guarding players like his good buddy Lebron James. While Raymond Felton had a down year in New York (9.7 ppg, 3.0 rebs, 5.6 asts) last year, he at least appears to be working on his shooting, albeit illegally.

 

Born Ready

2011 Corey Brewer vs. 2014 Brandan Wright

With one of the deepest benches in the league in 2011, the Mavs didn’t always have enough playing time to go around.  When his name was called, Corey Brewer was ready to go and even helped saved the Mavs  in a pivotal game against the Lakers in the playoffs.   The 2014 Corey Brewer will be Brandan Wright, who may be not play a significant role for several games at a time, but when his name is called he’ll be ready to provide the energy the Mavs need with his length and athleticism.

 

The Custodian

2011 Brian Cardinal vs. 2014 Eric Griffin/Ivan Johnson

The Custodian was there to clean up the mess.  Brian Cardinal was Dirk’s best friend, capable of knocking down big shots, setting picks and providing all-around toughness.  Newly acquired forwards Eric Griffin and Ivan Johnson are just as capable of stepping into that role, while providing much more skill and athleticism on the offensive end.

 

The Replica Fadeway

2011 Ian Mahinmi vs. 2014 Bernard James

Third string center Ian Mahimi is most remember for his replica one-legged fadeaway in the closing second of the third quarter in the 2011NBA Finals (http://youtu.be/Z657Q1NcNF8) despite being regulated to the teams 14th man.  In 2014, Bernard James, who is expected to re-sign with the Mavs, will provide the same role as a practice body and bench leader.

 

The Future

2011 Dominque Jones vs .2014 Ricky Ledo

DoJo was supposed to be the next starting point guard for the Mavs, but his development never really materialized and he was last seen playing for the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball League (30.6 ppg, 5.8 rebs, 6.5 asts).  The Mavs are hoping Ricky Ledo, the #6 prospect on Rivals 150 for 2012, will and should have more potential the Jones.

If things come together as they did back in 2011, this Mavericks squad will be one to reckon with even in the ultra competitive Western Conference.

Why Not Us?

Credit: Basket4us.com (DeShawn Photo); ProSportsBlogging.com (Marion Photo); TotalProSports.com (Dirk Photo); CBSSports.com (Tyson Photo)

 

Back to Top

Back to Top

Dirk’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game Recap: Fun, Fans and Bad Baseball

by Michael Lark on June 22, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Heroes

Last night, Dirk Nowitzki hosted his 3rd Annual Celebrity Baseball Game at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. In front of a sellout crowd of nearly 9,200, Dirk’s White Soxs prevailed over the Blues Sox 17-16.

The night was filled with several big name celebrities and athletes; including Tony Romo, Michael Young, Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett, Terrell Owens, Terrance Williams, Vernon Wells, Tyler Seguin, Josh Henderson and Pudge Rodriguez.

The Dallas Mavericks were represented well in the game with Rick Carlisle, Donnie Nelson, Eddie Najera, Michael Finley, Shane Larkin, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Bernard James and former 2011 Mavs Champion Brian Cardinal. Even Mavs fan favorite Jason “JET” Terry was spotted signing autographs before the game, but didn’t play.

Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete with the Mavs Maniacs, Dancers and Drumline on hand as well.

The evening provided an up close and personal opportunity for fans to see their Mavs relax and just have fun. And they showed just why they are professional basketball, not baseball, players.

While Dirk will be known by the end of his career as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he will unavoidably be known as perhaps one of the worse baseball players of all time. By the end of the night Dirk, who played first base, was able to crank out one single and a run scored while leading his team to victory.

 

Devin Harris showed off his athletic ability playing respectably well at second base and Monta Ellis showed he should stick to playing on the hardwood, and I think we’re all okay with that.

Mavs Champion, Brian Cardinal was Co-MVP for the night with the Big German after getting the game-winning hit in the seventh inning. For those concerned Mavs fans, the most important news of the night was that the game ended without any injuries to any of the players.

The unsung hero of the night had to be Michael Finley who spent the majority of the night signing autographs and interacting with fans. Harris and Michael Young provided lots of lucky fans with autographed memorabilia. Dirk Nowitzki, according the Ben Rogers, was one of the last players in the park, signing autographs for fans even after the lights turned off.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 2.55.33 PM

 

Make no mistake with all the fun and action during the Celebrity Baseball Game the real stars weren’t actually in the big game at all. They were those that got to play a game on the field before the game, youth with physical and intellectual disabilities.

The game provided them an unforgettable experience filled with excitement, courage and inspiration – not to mention huge applause from the crowd as they left the field. Their smiles coming off the field to the cheers of the crowd were the true highlight of the night.

I’d say the Heroes Foundation achieved its goal.

Click here to see more photos in our Facebook Gallery!

Back to Top

Back to Top

Should Mavericks Take Chance On Stephenson?

by MavsFanatic on June 6, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Stevenson

When the Eastern Conference Finals tipped off a couple of weeks ago, Lance Stephenson took it upon himself to try and become the kryptonite to the super hero, LeBron James. He would relentlessly harass James throughout the series, and even go so far as to blow in his ear. While his plan ultimately fell short when the Heat eliminated the Pacers in six games, his actions may have also had an impact on Stephenson’s value heading into free agency, which leads us to the question: Should the Mavericks take a chance on Stephenson? Staff writers Michael Lark, and Terrence Huie dive into the difficult question and give their thoughts. As the world watch the Eastern Conference Finals this year, all eyes were glued feud between Lance Stephenson and Lebron James.

Yes, Bring Stephenson to Big D

Terence Huie, Staff Writer

A “MFFL” might say, “Well, Lance Stephenson isn’t a guy we would want in Dallas because of his immaturity on and off the court”. But let’s reflect back to the 2011 Finals of a fellow Maverick who feuded with LeBron James. That man is DeShawn Stevenson. That Stevenson-Lebron James rivalry dated back to almost 2008. It all started during the Eastern Conference First Round series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. DeShawn StevensonNo DeShawn didn’t blow air in Lebron’s face, instead he created a “diss track” about James. In the 2011 Finals, took quite a few jabs at Lebron via talking to the media. One in particular relates to Stevenson telling the press that Lebron “checked out” in Game 4 of the Finals. But eventually, Lebron would get the last laugh now as he currently sits at being a two-time NBA champion. Lance Stephenson has undoubtedly made some noise in the 2013-2014 season. The 6’5” Pacers shooting guarding averaged 13.8 points per game off 49% shooting, 4.6 assists per game, and 7.2 rebounds per game (all career highs). Stephenson will be 25 years-old and is heading into his fifth NBA season, which is impressive given that he is performing at such a high level. Indiana Pacers GM and Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird will make re-signing Stephenson a priority. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away”, quoted Bird. Larry Bird is absolutely right. It’s not often that you find a special gifted player like Lance Stephenson, who is the regular season league leader in triple-doubles. Shot ChartIf we dig deeper and look at the stats, Lance Stephenson’s behavioral stunts overshadow how well he performs on the court. Looking at the shot chart for Stephenson in the regular season, majority of his points come from scoring in the paint. With his speed and athleticism, he’s easily unguardable when it comes to scoring in the paint similar to Monta Ellis. His double-double total of 20 is ranked first at the shooting guard position. On the defensive side, Stephenson is a big reason why the Pacers were arguably the best defensive team in the NBA this season. Looking at the shooting guard position alone, the Pacers held shooting guards to just 19.57 points per game (best in the league). Also the Indiana led the league in opponent field goal percentage amongst shooting guards with 39%. So we know that Lance Stephenson is a great player offensively and defensively; but how would he fit in with the Dallas Mavericks organization? At his height of 6’5, it is uncertain if he could possibly start at the small forward position. What we do know is that he can guard some of the tall 6’7-6’8 guys in the league. As for his crazy trash-talking and on-court frolics are concerned, Coach Carlisle and his staff can take care of that. We’ve seen players who have played under Carlisle and displayed great progression during a season. Monta Ellis is a perfect example of this. If it hasn’t happened already, at some point Stephenson will look back at the Eastern Conference Finals series as a learning experience. He’ll realize the way he behaved during that series, it was ultimately a detriment to the Pacers’ journey to the NBA Finals. Once he comes to that realization, Lance Stephenson will become an elite basketball player.

The Mavericks Should Pass On Stephenson and His Antics

Staff Writer Michael Lark

Haven’t we seen this type of player before? Oh yes, that’s right he was the artist formally known as Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) as a member of the Indiana Pacers. They are eerily identical players – young, rugged and talented, born in New York, full of athleticism, versatility and the potential to be NBA All-Stars. They can shoot the three just as well as they can play the role of defensive stopper against the NBA’s elite. So, let’s recall how “Mr. World Peace” overstayed his welcome for the Indiana Pacers. Ron ArtestIt was November 19, 2004, with less than one minute left in a game between the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers, Artest fouls Piston’s center Ben Wallace hard in a play that results in a shoving match between the two players. In the heat of the moment, both benches spilled onto the court into a physical confrontation between the teams that seemed to come to a quick resolution.  Then, as Artest lay on his back on the scorer’s table, a Detroit fan throws a cup at Artest’s chest. Artest immediately gets up and runs into the stands and complete insanity ensues, erupting into one of the most embarrassing, scariest moments in the history of the NBA known as the Malice in the Palace. This little incident seemingly derailed the promising, young career of Artest, who never appeared to quite reach the potential many believed he would. And today, at the age of 34, Artest isn’t even worth a roster spot for the lowly 37-win New York Knicks (or any team for that matter) and now finds himself out of the NBA.  Stephenson seems to be headed down the same path. While Stephenson isn’t quite the same guy, there are some obviously alarming similarities. Only four years into the league, Stephenson has already created a reputation for himself as a bad locker room guy. Before first round of the playoffs this year, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported that Stephenson and fellow teammate Evan Turner had to be separated after being involved in a physical altercation in the Pacers locker room. Before that, on March 31, David Aldridge of NBA.com quoted Pacer’s center Roy Hibbert as saying, there are “some selfish dudes” in the team’s locker room, a statement many believed to be targeted at the polarizing shooting guard. Apparently, Hibbert is so upset that after falling just two games short of the NBA Finals he is “open to a trade” from Pacer’s Nation. Then there’s the Pacer’s star forward, Paul George. “I mean, I don’t know,” is what George said following Indiana’s season-ending loss to Miami in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, when asked about whether he felt that the unrestricted free agent should return next season. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for a guy who supposedly has played a pivotal role in the success of the Pacers this past season. Apparently, his play on the court hasn’t been good enough to encourage George to publicly declare his support for the enigmatic Brooklyn native. So, what makes Stephenson such a polarizing player that has owners and general managers around the league reluctant to sign him this offseason? D StevensonStephenson seems to be more concerned with making headlines and drawing personal attention rather than focusing on playing basketball. Before the beginning of the ECF, Stephenson made headlines for saying he hoped to run Dwyane Wade to the point his balky knees flared up.  Before Game 4 of the ECF, he told reporters that LeBron James’ response to his trash talking was “a sign of weakness.” While he did go on to play well, averaging 14 points, 5 assists and 5.8 rebounds against the Miami Heat, his performance was overshadowed by the stats that truly mattered: two fines for flopping, one special blow into the ear of Lebron James, a flagrant foul on Norris Cole, and the continuous foolish and outrageous antics done in an attempt to take Lebron out of his game. Lebron averaged 22.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.5 assists and shot 56% from the field. Sorry, Lance but I don’t think the “buffoonery,” as Ray Allen of the Heat called it, worked There is no mistaking Stephenson’s talent, but it’s the actions and bizarre behavior that has created the head case known as “Bad Lance” that is just not a fit for the Mavericks. With Shawn Marion set to hit the free agent market, the Mavs will be on the hunt for a new defensive stopper. At 23 years-old, Stephenson ranked 14th in the league in defensive efficiency, which will most certainly peak the interest of the Mavericks’ front office for a team that clearly needs to improve defensively. Perhaps, the Mavs decide to ignore the immaturity of Stephenson and decide his talent alone is worth the risk, and that he could benefit from being in an organization with a better culture just like Monta Ellis. While the Ellis case study may provide reasons for fans to think that the Mavs organization could rehabilitate his erratic behavior as a bad locker room guy, there has to be a willingness on his part to buy into what the Mavs and Mark Cuban are selling. Remember Lamar Odom, Delonte West and Josh Howard? Those situations didn’t exactly end well despite the opportunities the Mavs organization provided. Thankfully, the Mavs weren’t locked into long-term contracts with any of those players, so there was little risk on their part. However, locking up Stephenson in a long-term contract could spell complete disaster for the Mavs in the final years of Dirk’s career. Sometimes players just do not mature over time, despite being given a good opportunity to succeed. Even seven years later after the Malice in the Palace, World Peace was the same classless player he has always been, but this time as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. With 24.4 seconds left in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals in 2011 against the Dallas Mavericks, for no apparent reason, Artest decided to clothesline Mavs point guard J.J. Barea in a play that resulted in a one-game suspension. What a poor representation of yourself and the organization. It has already been reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com, that the Mavs front office “doesn’t see Stephenson as a fit, particularly since they’d probably have to offer near max contract.”  Stephenson is not a fit simply based on finances alone – plus, the Mavs already have a great starting two-guard in Ellis and have plenty of other positions that are of higher priority. While Stephenson has the potential to become a mature, All-Star several years down the road, the Mavs are still looking to maximize the career of Dirk and the “win now” motto should suffice to say thanks but no thanks to Lance Stephenson.

Back to Top

Back to Top

Historic Title Run: A Look Back

by Greg Higgins on June 1, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

2011FI

The 2014 NBA Finals are all set with the San Antonio Spurs facing off against the Miami Heat. This time of year is a little bitter-sweet for me as a Mavericks’ fan. It’s bitter because I want Dallas to be competing for a championship and they’re not. It’s sweet, though, cause it’ll always reminds me of the 2011 NBA Finals.

As a Mavs fan, who could ever forget that epic title run by the Mavericks. Dallas finished the postseason 16-5 that year. Over the next few week, we are going to bring back the memory of the six games with the Heat.

It started in the first round when they played the Portland Trail Blazers and defeated them 4-2. Dallas fans everywhere didn’t expect this at all. Even though the Mavs were the higher seed (No. 3 seed. They finished tied with the Lakers but the Lakers held the tie-breaker), everyone thought LaMarcus Aldridge and company would take care of the Mavericks.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 3.33.47 PM

The Mavericks hadn’t won a playoff series in a long time. After going 67-15 in the 2006-2007 season, the Mavericks were knocked out of the first round by Golden State. Why would this year be any different than the previous four or five?

The Mavs even blew a 23-point lead in game 4 after having a 2-1 series lead. After that game, everyone felt like the same Mavericks were back. This team for whatever reason couldn’t win a big game when they needed to. That changed in the next two games as the Mavericks closed out the Blazers and moved on to the semifinals.

Round two was going to be tougher, though. I couldn’t imagine a possibility of how the Mavericks would get by the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant was on a mission to show the world why he was the best player on the planet. The Lakers had been to three straight NBA Finals, winning the last two. I didn’t think they could do it.

Something happened in that series, though, that would define the Mavericks for the rest of the playoffs. The Mavericks, who fell behind in game 1 against the Lakers in the fourth quarter, came back to win the game. Dallas would use that trick to win six games from here on out.

Dallas took the next game at Staples Center before returning home to finish the sweep. The most impressive part of the sweep was Game 4, in which they blew out the mighty Lakers on Mother’s Day. It was the first time Phil Jackson had ever been swept in his coaching career.

After sweeping the Lakers, the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder was next up. The only hiccup for the Mavericks in that series came in Game 2 when the Thunder stole a game in Dallas. Dallas won that series in five games. The Mavericks had finally returned to a place that had haunted them for five years.

Dallas, who blew a 2-0 series lead to the Heat in 2006, would finally get a rematch with Miami. This time, though, it would be more than Dwyane Wade they would be facing as LeBron James and Chris Bosh had joined forces. That didn’t matter for now. The Mavericks were in the Finals and that was something spectacular in and of itself.

Photo credit to StreetBall.com, DeviantArt.

 

Back to Top

Back to Top

Dallas’ Role in the Carmelo Drama

by Michael Lark on May 22, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

MeloToDallas

Madison Square Garden – it’s February 24, 2014 and the Dallas Mavericks are tied at 108 with the New York Knicks, with only 10.6 seconds left in the game. Vince Carter inbounds the ball from the left sideline to Jose Calderon, who quickly feeds the ball to Dirk Nowizki at the top of the key. Only seconds left, Dirk awkwardly makes his move (in only a way that only Dirk can), and just before the buzzer sounds he heaves a shot at the rim.

The Mavs win.

Carmelo Anthony’s face following that memorable shot says it all. He had one of the best offensive performances of his career, finishing the game with 44 points. But the end of the night, it was his lackluster defense that told the story.

MeloDirk

Now, I’ve never claimed to be any sort of expert when it comes to telling people how to play defense, but I’ll have to bet that putting your hands behind your back as the 10th ranked scorer in NBA history goes up for the game-winning shot is probably not the way to play defense.

Clearly, the Knicks superstar forward still has some room for improvement.

This summer “Melo” will arguably be the biggest name in free agency (Hint: Lebron James is not opting out). The 11-year veteran is known around the league as an offensive juggernaut who essentially considers defense optional.

Anthony is a 7-time NBA All-Star, 2-time All-NBA second team and 4-time All-NBA third team player. He’s the 2013 NBA scoring champion.

Nevertheless, it’s reasons like Carmelo’s lackluster performance in the final 10.6 seconds on February 24 that have many fans questioning the idea of adding him to the Mavs roster this summer.

I’m here to give you a big wakeup call.

Whether you like it or not, the Mavs will be going after Mr. Anthony when free agency commences July 1. Here’s one thing you should know about the NBA, when talent is available, teams will go after it – and there’s no question the Syracuse product is one of most talented players in the league.

But, is the feeling mutual?

Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports the Mavs are quietly optimistic they will be on the short list of teams that will be granted a face-to-face visit with the Knicks’ small forward. While the Mavs only have about $27 million locked up in guaranteed money next season, they also have a ton of holes to fill.

Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com reports the Mavs will only be interested in adding Carmelo if they are able to sign him at a deal that pays him less than the $22 million annually he’s able to get on the open market.

Convincing a superstar athlete in his prime to leave millions of dollars on the table sounds difficult enough, so let’s take a look at what the Mavs can arm themselves with in their potential face-to-face meeting.

The Monta Ellis Case Study

 

Monta Ellis was a disgruntled Milwaukee Bucks employee in the prime of his career. According to Steve von Horn of SB Nation, Ellis was free to sign anywhere he wanted or accept a three-year contract extension worth $36 million. Ellis left money on the table and chose to sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

Why?

“For me it was more important to be in an environment of winning, and to be on a team with a great group of guys,” Ellis said.

Speaking of winning, that also might entice the 29-year-old Anthony to come to Dallas. After all, he’s playing with a New York Knicks franchise that has 10 losing seasons since 1999 which just happens to be the last time the Mavs actually had a losing season of their own – and they’ve had nothing but a winning culture since.

Let’s also not forget the Larry O’Brien Trophy lassoed in 2011 by having the best owner in sports and one of the smartest front offices in the NBA.

In his 11 NBA seasons, Carmelo has never played with a star anywhere close to Nowitzki’s caliber. Melo is often criticized publicly for being an inefficient, volume shooter.

Sound familiar? That’s because the same label that was given to Monta Ellis before he came to Dallas. That’s now a long forgotten characteristic for Ellis.

So what changed? Two words – Dirk Nowitzki.

For the first time in his career, Monta had the opportunity to play with a respected NBA All-Star and future Hall of Famer who opened up opportunities for him. In a March 2014 article, Grantland detailed the evolution of Monta Ellis’ shooting production with and without Nowitzki. [Also see 'The Evolution of Monta Ellis' by Howard Beck]

The graphic above provides an incredible representation of Ellis’ improved efficiency just by playing alongside the “Tall Baller from the G.” That’s a lot of red and orange! Simply put, the “Dirk effect” allowed Ellis to get open opportunities, which improved his efficiency because defenses were paying so much attention to Dirk.

Imagine how this scenario could work with Carmelo in the fold. Teams around the league would be scrambling to defend the new “Big 3 in Big D” of Carmelo, Dirk and Monta.

The Melo Concerns

 

The Melo to Dallas scenario, however, doesn’t come without major concerns.

While convincing him to take less money is an already particularly difficult proposition in itself, there will be several other viable teams including the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers that will be providing plenty of tough competition for his services.

Secondly, on the defensive end for the Mavericks, Nowitzki and Anthony would be a nightmare for head coach Rick Carlisle. Neither player is particularly known for their defensive prowess and there’s definitely a good reason for it.

While this may be an immediate red flag for the Mavs, it’s also important to note that the probability remains high that there will be several defensive centers that will be available this summer, including Larry Sanders, Anderson Varejao, Tyson Chandler and Marcin Gortat that could help.

NOTE: Shawn Marion, the Mavs best defensive player and starting small forward, is a free agent.

Then, there’s Carmelo Anthony’s wife, Alani Vasquez Anthony or simply “La La” as she more commonly known in Hollywood circles. La La and Dallas Mavericks fans have a history of bad blood dating back to Anthony’s days with the Denver Nuggets.

In May 2009, during the Western Conference Semifinals, while attending a game in Dallas, La La was alledgedly the subject of racial slurs and threats by a couple of Mavs fans sitting behind her in the stands that evening, according to her issued statement.  

It is unclear how she feels about Mavericks fans today and whether or not this 2009 incident could sway Carmelo away from Dallas. Either way, I say it’s time to put that situation behind us and move on. Rumors say the “reality TV star” (if there’s such a thing) has a desire to stay in New York to pursue her career in…whatever it is she does.

Despite several contending issues, the fact remains the Mavericks should have a legitimate shot at landing Anthony this summer. In 2011, it was reported that Mavs attempted to trade for Carmelo Anthony’s services before he was ultimately traded to the Knicks because of the Mavericks refusal to include the “untouchable,” (gasp) Roddy Beaubois in a trade.

Unlike the mess that was Dwight Howard last summer, this time around, the Mavs will be dealing with a mature, NBA veteran who is hopefully focused on winning titles and not watching cartoons. So if the Mavs are able to put the pieces together to swing a signing of Anthony, you can bet I’ll be first in line to say, “Get the parade route ready!”

On second thought, never mind, we’ll just use the same parade route we used in 2011.

_____________________

Mandatory photo credit to Colorado Sports Desk; Yahoo! Sports/Screencap via @Jose3030

Back to Top

Back to Top

Just A Thought: Dallas’ Case for Kevin Love

by Greg Higgins on May 20, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

KevinLoveFI

Kevin Love – a name synonymous around the NBA with rebounding. Love, who has averaged 12.2 rebounds for his career and had three years with at least 13 rebounds per game is much more than just a rebounder though. Love has averaged 19.2 points per game over his six-year career.

Let’s forget about the career numbers, though, and let’s look at his performance this past season. Love averaged 26.1 points per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Only Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James averaged more points this season.

His 12.5 rebounds per game were only surpassed by DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond. Did I mention he’s only 25 years old as well? That’s right; the great Kevin Love hasn’t even entered the prime of his NBA career.

Why all the attention on Love, you ask?

Reports have surfaced in which Love has informed the T’wolves he isn’t happy with all the losing. He wants to contend; therefore he has informed the team that he will not be resigning with them after his contract ends in 2015.

This ultimately forces Minnesota’s hand into listening to offers and eventually shopping the 6’10” power forward before next season’s trade deadline or they risk the thought of losing him with no compensation.

Sources told ESPN that Love finds the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls very desirable and he would be open to joining either organization. However, if they are looking to deal the big man, they’re going to do what’s best for the team and not for Love.

That being said, would Love be a good fit for the Dallas Mavericks?

The Mavs still have Dirk Nowtizki and as he showed this year, is still their number one option. At 36, though, it’s hard to keep Nowitzki in that burdensome position for the next couple of years. Love and Dirk are very similar except Love is a better rebounder and defender.

Could Love become the heir apparent to Dirk in Dallas?

With Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson calling the shots, I wouldn’t put anything past them. As they do each year, you know they will be going after the big-name free agents and top players available in trade.

There’s no telling who tops the Mavericks priority list of offseason targets. You can bet, though, if there’s a chance they could add Love to the rotation of Dirk, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon they will.

Check out this piece by Mike Fisher and David Lord on the various paths the Mavs could take towards a Kevin Love trade, with financial insight of both pre and post July transactions:

The asking price will be high for a player like Love. I can imagine you’d have to put together a package that would include a mixture of valuable players and several future draft picks.

I’m not sure the Mavs will have a chance to work out something with the T’wolves, but it’s a guarantee they will try and this is one fan who hopes they do so successfully.

Transitioning from Dirk to Love would be fun to watch. Perhaps we’ll get that chance or maybe we’ll have to watch him try and succeed in another uniform.

Either way, let the Kevin Love sweepstakes begin.

Mandatory photo credit to AP Photo/Eric Gay

Back to Top

Back to Top

Could Gortat Be Marcin From Washington to Dallas?

by Michael Lark on May 19, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Gortat

Spurned by Otis.

Otis Smith that is; a name that will live in infamy among the Mavs faithful for his role as the then General Manager for the Orlando Magic who helped ruined the Mavericks’ free agency plans to sign coveted free agent big man Marcin Gortat. Smith shocked Mavs Nation in the summer of 2009 by matching the Mavs five-year, $34 million dollar offer sheet to the restricted free agent.

Fast forward five years.

It’s the summer of 2014 and the Mavs once again have the financial flexibility to go after some of the biggest names in free agency, including Carmelo Anthony and Luol Deng. If the Mavs strike out on their top targets, unrestricted free agent center Marcin Gortat of the Washington Wizards may once again be high on their list.

So, what’s there not to like about the 30-year-old Gortat?

At 6’11”, 240 pounds, the “Polish Hammer” can clog up the lane on the defensive end of the floor for a Dallas Mavericks team that ranked 20th in the NBA in points allowed (102.4) last year. Meanwhile, the Wizards ranked 9th in the NBA in points allowed (99.4), with Gortat at the defensive helm.

This would have been a valuable asset in the first round of the playoffs earlier this month against those hated San Antonio Floppers, who seemingly got to the basket at will.

Now that’s a real foul.

The Mavericks front office has made it no secret they’d like to boost their defensive efficiency this summer for a team that continually juggled match ups at the center position with Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair and Brandan Wright in an effort to rectify their defensive woes.

Offensively over the past four seasons, Gortat has been an effective force in the middle. He’s averaged 13.2 points per game and remained efficient by shooting nearly 55%. He’s a quality mid-range shooter who can play with his back to the basket and run an effective pick and roll with excellent agility for his size.

Gortat’s also an improved free throw shooter which is a rare commodity among centers these days (see: Howard, Dwight). And, as an added bonus, he shot 100% from the three point line last year too – albeit only on one attempt.

Without a question, Gortat (32.8 mins, 13.2 pts, 9.5 rebs in 2014) would be an instant upgrade over Dalembert (20.2 mins, 6.6 pts, 6.8 rebs).

While on paper it’s easy to argue Gortat helps upgrade the Mavs roster, it creates as many questions as it does answer. Will upgrading the center ultimately fix the defensive shortcomings of this team? What would happen to Dalembert, Blair and Wright if Gortat came to Dallas?

But, most importantly, the biggest hurdle in the Gortat sweepstakes will be luring him away from Washington while keeping his wallet happy. After signing his extension with the Magic in 2009, Gortat has struggled to solidify his role on an NBA roster.

In December 2010, he was traded to the Phoenix suns in a deal that included Vince Carter for a 2011 first-round draft pick. Then in October 2013, Gortat was traded to the Washington Wizards where he started all but one of the 81 games he played in; recording a career high in minutes played.

The Wizards were eliminated from the playoffs a week ago, but the future in Washington is bright with young, emerging stars in John Wall and Bradley Beal. Gortat has seemed to finally have found a place where he fits. Gortat could likely command an annual salary of $10-13 million, a price that may be too steep even for a Mavericks team that has historically overpaid centers.

 

The main goal for the Mavs in free agency this summer remains the same: to bring in a “superstar” who could help provide Dirk Nowitzki with the Robin he needs. Monta Ellis’ signing last summer became a blessing, but Dallas still wants that player who could eventually become Batman and take over the reins as the main man in Gotham as Dirk rides into the Hall of Fame sunset.

If that doesn’t happen, the Mavs front office will again be scrambling to put the remaining free agent puzzle pieces together to maximize their cap space and bring in players that fit with Dirk, utilizing the blue print that helped bring the Mavs a 2011 championship.

Look, the Mavs don’t want to have a Ben Affleck situation here in Dallas. It gets awkward. We’ll just have to see how free agency pans out. Timing is everything when it comes to free agency; so while Gortat would look great in a Mavs uniform, his decision to cash in on a well deserved pay day and lure him away from Washington could have the Mavericks on the outside looking in.

Photos courtesy of Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports; Rob Carr/Getty Images North America

Back to Top

Back to Top

Position Grades – Center

by Terence Huie on May 13, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

report

While the NBA postseason continues, the Dallas Mavericks will be spending majority of the offseason making transactions to make Dirk and company a title-contending team. Looking at the roster, the center position needs improvement for the 2014-2015 season.

The first stat that pops out instantly to me is that Dallas ranks second in the league in field goal percentage at 58%, behind only the L.A. Clippers. Also, the Mavs’ big men placed third in the league for averaging 5.5 offensive rebounds. Samuel Dalembert, Brandan Wright, and Bernard James also managed to rank 6th in both offensive and defensive efficiency in the league. But the main concern for the centers this season was defensive rebounding. Dallas grabbed a total of 787 rebounds a game, which ranked them 16th in the NBA. In comparison, the division-rival Spurs and Rockets recorded over 900 total rebounds this season.

So let’s go more in-depth and analyze how the Mavs’ big men performed this season.

______________________________

Samuel Dalmebert:

The main goal on Mark Cuban’s agenda during the 2013 NBA Free Agency Period was to lure Dwight Howard to Dallas. But unfortunately, Dwight Howard decided to “take his talents to Houston” to play alongside James Harden. Putting all the energy and effort into signing Howard backfired and left Cuban with very few options left at the Center position. With slim market pickings, Cuban had to decide between Dalembert and Andrew Bynum.  I personally felt like Bynum was a risk to this team, so Dalembert was the more logical decision.

The moment Dalembert joined the team, I was quite skeptical of how he would matchup against the likes of Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and Deandre Jordan in the Western Conference.

Dalembert had a roller coaster season. The dark days of Sam surfaced around November where Carlisle temporarily removed him from the starting lineup for missing gameday shootarounds on multiple accounts this season.

Dalembert finished the season averaging 6.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds a game, and 2.1 blocks per game. He also had a career-high average field goal percentage (.585).

Sammy D isn’t a consistent double-double caliber center like he should be. He isn’t the most athletic guy anymore considering that he just turned 33 years old. Dalembert is a decent offensive big man, shooting 58% from the field and 74% at the line. But he has the tendency to drop easy passes in the paint which leads to turnovers.

With one partially guaranteed year left on his contract, the likelihood is Dalembert returns next season, but could be dealt in the right deal to improve the roster. If Sam is still on the team, the coaches need to work on conditioning and foot work this summer. Also, Sam needs to do a better job of boxing out on defense to prevent opposing teams grabbing offensive rebounds.

Grade: C+

______________________________

Brandan Wright:

Brandan Wright is arguably the most improved player on the Mavericks roster this season. I really didn’t see the potential that Wright was capable of until this year. At the beginning of the season, Wright suffered a shoulder injury which forced him to miss the first 23 games of the season. In Wright’s first game back against Milwaukee, he scored 19 points and grabbed 6 boards off the bench in 19 minutes.  From that point, Wright shined off the bench.

B-Wright averaged a career-high 9.2 points a game and 4.2 rebounds a game in 18.2 minutes this season, a high efficiency level that was second on the team only to Dirk Nowitzki. Wright also averaged a phenomenal 67% shooting from the field in 58 games played.

In my opinion, Wright is just one of those athletes that you NEED to have coming off the bench. He isn’t versatile in terms of scoring the basketball, but his 7-foot-5 wing span and 36 inch vertical leap makes him an effective finisher around the rim. The Wright-Devin Harris tandem on the court is lethal on offense. It seems like Harris always knows where Wright is on the court for some spectacular alley-oops.

The Mavs coaching staff should work with Wright to improve his defensive skill set, primarily his on-ball defense and crashing the boards.

Brandan still has one year left on his 2-year $10mil contract, so it’s great to know that we don’t have to worry about him possibly signing to another team this offseason.

Grade: A-

______________________________

Bernard James:

I’ve always been a fan of Bernard James since I live in Tallahassee, Florida and watched him play college basketball at Florida State University. When he was drafted in the second round in 2012, I felt that he would have the chance to make Dallas a better team defensively as a powerful shot blocker coming off the bench. Unfortunately, Coach Rick Carlisle didn’t see room for James in the regular rotation this season. Therefore, “Sarge” only averaged a measly 5 minutes a game this season. He averaged under a point and 2.8 boards a game.

James spent six years serving in the United States Air Force, becoming a Staff Sargeant. He is now 28 years-old, approaching his third season in the NBA. James’ rookie contract expires, therefore becoming a Restricted Free Agent this offseason. There won’t be any major bidding wars for the third string center and he’ll likely be at the end of the line in terms of Dallas’ free agent priority.

 

The more important issue is his age. James, already two years in the NBA is at the average age players hit their prime. Just to mention, Sarge had a 38 point and 18 rebound performance when he was sent to the D-League for a game this year. So he is capable of being a decent role player, but perhaps will receive that opportunity elsewhere.

Grade: C

______________________________

Projections:

The Mavericks will have to put into thought if Sam Dalembert should be dealt to free up cap or bring in some valuable assets. I think the best route is to ship Dalembert in return for a more consistent double-double type player to strengthen the front court. Also, with no first round pick in the 2014 draft, the prospects at the Center position is not that great. A couple of mock drafts only have one Center being selected out of the first round.

Here are my four key centers who will become free agents this summer:

  • Greg Monroe- Detriot Pistons
  • Marcin Gortat – Washington Wizards
  • Spencer Hawes- Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Channing Frye- Phoenix Suns

______________________________

______________________________

Photos courtesy of AP Photo/Ben Margot; AP LM Otero; Associated Press

Back to Top

Back to Top

Position Grades – Power Forward

by Damian Jackson on May 12, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

report

Power forward has been the Dallas Mavericks longstanding position of strength because of one man – Dirk Nowitzki. The NBA game at the position has been forever changed by Dirk and he continued to defy odds at age 35, turning in one of his most efficient seasons to date. The position was rather thin in terms of natural fit this year, but we’ll also take a closer look at DeJuan Blair, a five-year player from Pittsburgh.

Dirk Nowitzki:

A season ago Dirk labored through one of his toughest years in the NBA. The combination of knee surgery, missing 30 games and playing alongside an overload of one-year contracts snapped his 12-year run at playoff basketball.

Many questioned Dirk’s ability to return to star form. This only fueled the former league MVP who worked hard as ever to bounce back.

Let’s take a glance at Dirk’s 2013-2014 highlights:

- Averaged 21.7 points in 80 games played (10th player in NBA history to average over 20 points at age 35 or older)

- Returned to the All-Star Game for the 12th time

- Efficiency (23.68) ranked 12th in the NBA, shot 49.7% FG/39.8% 3PT/89.9% FT

- Became 10th on NBA All-Time Scoring List – passing legends such as Jerry West, John Havlicek and Oscar Robertson.

 

Dirk played a major role in earning a trip back to the postseason, only to play the rival San Antonio Spurs. Outside of Dallas, no teams knows the Mavs franchise player better than Gregg Popovich’s Spurs. It showed throughout the series as the Spurs took away much of what Dirk wanted to do and forced other Mavericks to be the difference makers.

The first four games saw Dirk fail to reach 20 points in such a stretch for the first time in his playoff career. Dirk had plenty of help in the series to push the league-best Spurs team to seven games in the 1 vs. 8 seed matchup.

Dirk would finished the final three games of the series averaging 23.3 points and 9.7 rebounds, but eventually lose the series battle in a lopsided Game 7 defeat.

Over the course of the season, Dirk showed he’s still an elite level player, especially at his age. Dirk doesn’t drive as much anymore which results in fewer trips to the free throw line, but his game as a whole exemplifies he can remain highly effective for several more years.

He played 32.9 minutes in the 80 regular season games and one should expect that to drop some going forward. While never a legit defensive player, Dirk has regressed to simply a very poor product on that end with opposing players scoring with ease when matched up with Nowitzki.

Now there were spots in the season where it seemed Dirk would disappear and it didn’t feel right. Whether the box score resembled it or not, we witnessed nights in which Dirk was a complete non-factor in both team wins and losses. Then again, it speaks loudly of how amazing his statistical end result on the year played out.

Dirk more than makes up for his defensive woes in other areas, but expect Mark Cuban and company to pursue a defensive anchor in the paint to pair with Dirk this summer. The Mavericks have plenty cap space and flexibility to explore options from a Tyson Chandler reunion, taking a chance on the Larry Sanders project or safe play with another veteran such as Marcin Gortat.

When it’s all said and done, Dirk’s year was one to remember for sure.

Grade: A

______________________________

DeJuan Blair:

After spending his first four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, DeJuan Blair chose to sign with the Dallas Mavericks who could only offer him the veteran minimum contract.

Most viewed it as a value signing at the time because Blair likely could have received more elsewhere, but down the line we’d understand why the ACL-less Pitt Panther product would choose the Mavs.

Blair was on the Spurs team that blew an opportunity to win the NBA championship last season. He wasn’t given the chance to be a difference, riding the bench behind Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter. This didn’t sit well with Blair who made it known he had all Spurs game marked down after signing with Dallas.

It’s not as if Blair completely blew up and shattered seasons past, he actually had better statistical years in his first three seasons as a Spur.

Blair’s lone Mavericks season was more a bounce back from his last year with the Spurs. In Dallas, Rick Carlisle utilized the physical forward in his rotation almost the entire season. Blair had some ups and downs with DNP-CD based on opponent match ups.

Dallas’ need for a hustling rebounder who played with reckless abandon was filled nicely by Blair. Blair more than makes up for his lack of height with effort and it showed throughout the year with his ability to keep possessions alive.

His impact was felt most in the first round series against his former club. The combination of motivation and determination ignited Blair’s play and made him one of Dallas’ most important pieces.

In four games of meaningful minutes, Blair posted 9.5 points and 9.3 rebounds with three steals in 18.5 minutes. Blair was suspended Game 5 for the kick to the head of Tiago Splitter. His energy was missed and it was evident how big an addition Blair truly was for Dallas this season.

Grade: B+

______________________________

Projections:

The question isn’t whether Dirk will be back next season, but rather at what cost. Dirk has joked he won’t get Kobe money (2 year/$48.5M), but would like something where he still feels respected for his time in Dallas while leaving room to hopefully bring in star free agent help.

Early into the offseason, it appears the Mavericks have no interest in Chris Bosh, but will pursue Knicks’ star forward Carmelo Anthony who is set to opt out his final year with New York.

As for DeJuan, he’s one of four key Dallas free agents whose return isn’t set in stone. Blair is only 25 which makes him more attractive to keep on board. It’s possible the Mavericks could use an exception on Blair, but several things will need to play out first before Dallas likely makes a decision of his future.

Images via Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty; Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports; AP Photo/Eric Gay; Video via Phenom Clips (YouTube); 

Back to Top

Back to Top

Position Grades – Shooting Guards

by Ryan Wilson on May 10, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

report

In our next segment of 2013-2014 Dallas Mavericks position grades, we will be taking a look at the shooting guard play throughout the year. The Mavericks three shooting guards were Ricky Ledo, Wayne Ellington, and Monta Ellis. While Ellington filled in from time to time off the bench, this position was held down by Ellis, who didn’t miss one game all year.

Ricky Ledo

dal_mavsts_15

While Ledo only appeared in 33 minutes of action this season, he really started to show some progress for the Mavericks D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. In the last 5 games of the season, he surpassed 20 points in 4 of them, shooting well over 50% from the field , while showing an ability to hit it from deep. The important thing for Ledo was to get his feet wet in a competitive environment, rather than sitting on the end of the bench for the Mavericks all season. Ledo is raw. He could work more on attacking the basket, as he only averaged 3 free throws a game with the Legends. He has an all-around game that just needs developing. If he can prove to knock down that jumper and help on both sides of the ball, he could find himself wearing that Mavericks jersey a lot more next season. He has a ton of potential, and if he can begin to show signs of that, he can be a big “home run” for the Mavericks in the future.

Grade: Incomplete

______________________________

Wayne Ellington:

Jeremy Lin, Wayne Ellington

The Mavericks brought in Ellington this season to provide some outside shooting, which is what he has been known for during his 5 year career. During the regular season, he found himself in some games where he provided a nice spark off the bench. He is a streaky shooter, but he doesn’t provide a whole lot else in his play. He struggled a bit finding his shot in some big games this season, so he really didn’t provide much for the team, but he only played 8 minutes a game in 41 total games, so he never really got a chance to get anything going. He is still under contract for one more season, but could be moved in some sort of off-season trade. If not, he will most likely find himself in a similar situation next season.

Grade: D

______________________________

 

Monta Ellis:

dal_g_monta4_cr_400x600

The Monta Ellis of old stayed in Milwaukee, and a new man was born once he arrived in Dallas. He had a coach and a superstar that would put him in the best position for him to succeed, which is exactly what he did. He was a more all-around team player this season, and had an uncanny ability to get to the basket, which is something the Mavericks have missed from their guards for many years. He averaged 19.0ppg, 5.7 apg, and almost 2 steals per game, while shooting 45% from the field. He was a threat each night in the pick and roll game with Nowitzki, and the two really fed off one another. Ellis most likely would’ve not even landed on the Mavericks during the summer had it not been for Devin Harris going down with an injury. That allowed the Mavericks to sneak in and snag him. Even the front office would most likely tell you that that they were more than pleased with his performance this season.

While his shooting did improve, his mid-range and 3-point shooting have to improve. In Round 1 against San Antonio, the Spurs repeatedly went underneath the screen, forcing Ellis to have to make that mid-range jumper. When he’s hitting it, he becomes so much more lethal, because opponents don’t know how to play him, because of his ability to attack and get to the rim. This remains Dirk’s team, but Ellis has proven that he is more than capable of being a formidable sidekick. The Mavericks signed him for three years, so he has two remaining. The Mavericks are impressed, but by no means do they think he has peaked.

“I just think Ellis is at a point in his career where he can still make some quantum leaps as a player.” – Rick Carlisle

 

“If he can make that midrange jump shot on a consistent basis, I don’t know how you guard him.” – Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson

He seems to really love the city of Dallas and this organization. He is happy to be in a place where he is comfortable, so I expect him to be more than ready to come guns blazin’ next season. Improving that jump shot will go a long ways in taking not only Ellis further, but the Mavericks as well.

Grade: A-

Projections:

The Mavericks have Monta Ellis going into his second season next season, and will most likely look to continue developing Ricky Ledo, until he is fully ready. The Mavericks will look to free agency, and could maybe bring in a veteran player to play at a low cost.

Back to Top

Back to Top

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube