“It’s only the 5th game of the season. It’s only the 5th game of the season.”
This is what I kept telling myself last night as the Mavericks were once again overwhelmed by those pesky Thunder(s)?? The pesky Thunder? Whatever. Stupid mascot name anyway.
Last night’s game was actually pretty tightly contested throughout until the end. Every chance the Mavs had to make a comeback was quickly extinguished with a brutal turnover or a missed layup. It happens I guess.
But I have a major issue in the way some national media and even local Dallas media is dismissing this team as some dysfunctional team of spare parts that doesn’t stand a chance in the West. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I strongly believe that this Mavs team can compete with any team in the NBA. Here’s why……
Our Dallas Mavericks have NEVER had a point guard like Monta Ellis. He’s the second best PG the team has ever had (behind Jason Kidd of course). And I put Ellis ahead of Nash because he wasn’t quite in his prime yet while in Dallas. Monta has the ability to penetrate to the paint if the opportunity presents itself, or he can pull up for a jump shot. His quickness and shot making ability open the floor for others to have open shots; Dirk, Calderon, Vince Carter, Crowder. Monta is the type of player that Dirk has never had before. It’s a shame that it’s come in the twilight of Dirk’s career. But it’s here now and this team will take advantage of it. Ellis has also shown his defensive capabilities in terms of stealing the basketball and intercepting passes. Jason Kidd was a great defender as well, but didn’t have the explosiveness that Monta has after making a steal. But Monta has to cut down on turnovers. Last night showed that he can rush the lane with reckless abandon and throw a pass to the 4th row or off the thighs of a defender. I’m hoping that as the season progresses, he’ll see the court better and find his new teammates in a better position to score. Jose Calderon has had a tough start offensively but has really impressed me with his court vision. He’s made some great passes to open shooters and slashers. He’s showed some great shot making ability too in his last 2 games. With Monta driving, Dirk at the Elbow, and Calderon setting up at the 3 point line; this could wreak havoc on opponents.
Dallas’ rebound potential was a question mark for me heading into the season and so far, its exceeded expectations. Sure, Mavs have been out-rebounded in 3 of the first 5 games but not by much. Not enough to call it a legitimate concern. Samuel Dalembert has grabbed a lot of boards just due to his size and Shawn Marion has done his regular cleaning of the glass as he does year after year.
But then there’s Dejuan Blair who’s been a great addition to the Mavs down low. It’s obvious that he has something to prove this season and has played with a passion and aggression that this Mavs team hasn’t seen since Brandon Bass. Although Blair is undersized, he’s always around the ball to grab an offensive/defensive rebound. He also has really quick hands to grab the 50/50 balls that the Mavericks have struggled with for most of their existence. I can’t wait to see how a bulked up Brandan Wright will help the rebounding cause as well.
Some might be concerned about the Mavs defense. It’s honestly too early to make an assessment of the defense just yet. Last night’s defensive effort in OKC wasn’t anything to write home about. But obviously, that’s the Thunder. Westbrook and Durant are going to get buckets against any defense. The Mavericks have surrendered 100 plus points in 4 out of 5 games. But the Hawks and Lakers got their points in trash time. I see the Mavs creating turnovers and blocking shots in this young season so I’d like to see a larger sample of games before I start with the slander of the defense.
Earlier I mentioned that Monta was the 2nd best PG this team has had. I’d like for you to think about how some other current Mavs stack up, in my opinion of course. Dalembert is the 2nd best Center we’ve ever had (next to Chandler). Calderon is the 3rd best SG that we’ve had in the last 15 years (Jason Terry). Marion is the best SF that we’ve had in the last 20 years. Dirk is Dirk. Vince Carter is the best 6th man we’ve had since Jason Terry (Even Jamison). Brandan Wright is the best backup Center/Forward that we’ve ever had. Not to mention, this team also has a deep bench with Mekel, Harris (when healthy), Blair, and Crowder. There’s a ton of potential here, people.
There’s a lot to be excited about with this year’s Mavericks. If you’re not at least on that bandwagon then you haven’t been paying attention. In my opinion, this could be one of the better teams in Mavs history considering we stay healthy. This team has a lot of scoring options, good mixture of young and veteran players, good three point shooting, speed, and great coaching. Naturally, there’s some still out there that think this team will be lucky to squeak in the playoffs at the 8 seed. If that’s your philosophy, I’d suggest you stop getting your basketball news from ESPN and watch the games yourself. Be smarter than that. The 2013/2014 Dallas Mavericks are a top team in the NBA and should be taken seriously.