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Know Thy Enemy: Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks

Last Season:50-32 (.610, 3rd in the Southwest Division, 6th in the Western Conference)

Key Additions: Traded for Shawn Marion and Kris Humphries, signedDrew Gooden, Tim Thomas and Quinton Ross, drafted Rodrigue Beubois
Key Losses: Brandon Bass, Jerry Stackhouse, Ryan Hollings, Antoine Wright, Devean GeorgeDirk

Generally speaking, folks who do this sort of thing for a living have tabbed three teams as primary threats to the Lakers in the Western Conference: Portland, San Antonio, and Denver (quibble about the order amongst yourselves, that's how I'd arrange them at least in terms of wins). If there's a fourth team capable of crashing the party, it's likely the Mavs. It's a big if. Capital I, capital F. (There would be more, but it's a short word.) Dallas will be good, but for them to crash the party at the top of the conference, a lot has to go right. But it's not beyond imagination.

The addition of Marion to the core of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and Josh Howard gives Rick Carlisle and Co. heaps of offensive versatility and a wide variety of dynamic players to help push the squad. There are plenty of questions. Marion's presence necessitates a bit of a lineup shuffle. They don't have much going on in the post after Erick Dampier, and he's not all that much himself. Gooden will play some center, but he's undersized there for sure. Plus, to say the Mavs are a veteran bunch would be an understatement. Some would call them old.

To help get some insight into the happenings in Big D, I hit up Philip Baggett over at with some questions. Click below for the answers, but only if you want the truth, and feel you can handle it.

1) The Mavs seem now to have a jam packed frontcourt with the addition of Shawn Marion. How do you see him fitting in? What has to be adjusted for Dallas to get the most out of that trade?

Shawn Marion adds several dimensions to this team that have been missing for quite awhile. First of all Shawn is a very good defensive player on the perimeter. For the past several years what has killed the Mavericks are perimeter players being able to get to the basket late in the shot clock. By adding Marion they now have a guy who can force their opponent into a forced jump shot. Secondly even though he is not quite the player he once was, he is still plays above the rim. His jump shot as ugly as it may look, is still very effective and must be accounted for. Shawn has already begun to fit in very nicely with his teammates. The only adjustments needed, will simply be, he and his teammates getting know each other and begin to trust that each will be in the right position.

2) Depth was a huge problem for the Mavs last season. They lost Brandon Bass and missed out on Marcin Gortat but were still pretty active. Overall, is it still an issue?

If Drew Gooden can continue to play the way he has so far in the pre-season, and Roddy B (Beubois)can continue to develop, depth is not going to be an issue. However if Gooden struggles and Roddy B cannot become consistent with what he does, depth could again be a factor. I mean, lets be honest: I can promise you at some point this season Josh Howard will get hurt again, and, well, Dampier is just not very good. So those two guys are going to have to be ready to fill the voids.

3) Everyone focuses on the age of Boston's Big Three, but the Mavs have some questions there as well. How concerned are you about the relatively advanced years of this bunch? Have you pre-written any AARP jokes?

To me age alone should never be an issue, only the abilities of the player. Does age affect a player’s play? Of course it does, but I think sometimes people make entirely too much about how old someone is. Great players are great because they learn how to change their game as they get older and a step slower, just because that player can no longer make the “plays of the day” on ESPN does not mean that you no longer have to account for where they are on the floor. I am perfectly fine with the age of this team, and as a matter of fact I think it can be a good thing for them. Younger is not always better. The core group on this team has been through a lot in their time in Dallas, and those experiences can help them in many ways.

I have not written any jokes, mainly because I do not think I am that funny, but also because I myself am getting old and do not think its all that funny.

4)    On paper, there's a lot of talent here. What are the team's biggest assets, where are the biggest weaknesses?

This has been and will continue to be a very potent offensive team. All of the moves made in the off-season strengthened that side. While this team has always been a very good running team, with the moves made in the off-season I believe they have become even better. They now have players that can finish and finish with authority. They also have gotten much better on the defensive end. The team's goal is to become a legitimate top 10 defensive unit, and with the players on this team now that is actually possible. The weaknesses on this team have been and are still low post play, and another person who can score in crunch time besides Dirk. Jason Terry has done a exceptional job coming off the bench but this team desperately needs someone to step up and be willing to take the big shot at the end of games.

5) As fans, how confident are you in Cuban? Do you believe he'll deliver you title caliber teams?

There is no other owner in the league that I would rather have. While Mark can rub people the wrong way sometimes and has been known to run his mouth when he probably should not, there is no doubting his love for this team. Mark will do everything in his power and use everything within his means to bring a championship to Dallas. As far as do I believe “he’ll deliver you title caliber teams?” I believe he has already done that. Year in year out the Mavericks are in the conversation. By the way had it not been for the multitude of phantom fouls against Mr. Wade in Miami we would already have one championship, and that could have drastically changed the direction of this team today. As long as Cuban is at the controls the Mavericks are in very good hands.

(Ed.Note: That wasn't a very well worded question. It's pretty obvious the guy will spend to build a winning roster. I was mostly interested in finding out if fans ever tire of the antics and the sideshow... something totally unmentioned in the question.)

Thanks again to Phillip for the insight.

When it's all said and done, the Mavs are an improved team, but not one with enough balance to crack the upper crust of the Western Conference. The lack of dependable interior play will hurt against the likes of Portland and San Antonio, and especially the Lakers. It'll make for an extremely interesting offseason, since the window on this team isn't open very wide. Does Mark Cuban stick with it, or make some serious moves to try and make a splash this summer?

Prediction: 52-30, 2nd in the Southwest Division, 6th in the Western Conference.

Local Coverage:

-Dallas Morning News

Blog Coverage:
-The Two Man Game(run by Rob Mahoney, who used to do the really great Upside and Motor blog)


Comments () | Archives (27)

The comments to this entry are closed.

ok, so I went to the LA Times website and was invited to click on a link to learn about Xenu... is... is DJ Mbenga, Xenu??? Man, that's a great cover! I never would have suspected but now... now I know da TOOTH!

Jackie MacMullan...who is the super-respected NBA writer, and author of the new Magic/Bird best selling book...talks {10/21/09} about new Laker Ron "Thriller" Artest :

"I truly believe Ron Artest will do them in...he is still incredibly combustible, and has NOT taken the necessary steps to keep his erratic personality under control."

Without a doubt Dallas is better than the Celtics but still don't see Dirk leading them anywhere. I mean look at that picture.

Okay, off-topic I know, but this headline was too funny to pass up - "Kwame Brown To Have X-Rays On Hand As Injuries Mount For Pistons Ahead Of Opener". Do they think x-rays will identify why he can't catch?

I don't know if this is old or not, but I just found it. Artest on TMZ:


I'm not sure why all the sportswriters are asleep at the switch on the Mavs. They added a lot more talent than the Spurs did, and they have a lot more experience than Portland. Denver basically did nothing in the off-season.

Dirk is the most consistent player in the NBA, and he now has a lot of help. Marion is the type of player who fits in perfectly, since he doesn't need plays called for him to score, and doesn't need the ball in his hands to be effective.

Depth? Dallas may have the best depth in the NBA now.

C: Drew Gooden, Erick Dampier
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Kris Humphries, Shawne Williams
SF: Marion, Josh Howard, Tim Thomas, James Singleton
SG: Quinton Ross, Jason Terry, Matt Carroll
PG: Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, Rodrigue Beaubois

Beaubois is a lot more NBA ready than people expected. Humphries was a lottery pick and is starting to show some talent. Ross is a lock-down defender. Thomas is still a shooter. Barea can light it up when he gets hot. Josh Howard was an All-Star, and may not even start. Jason Terry was the 6th man of the year, and is the best jump shooter in the NBA. Gooden and Dampier aren't great, but give Carlisle the flexibility to match up with anybody.

Laker's on NO STANDING on sidelines..

wait a minute, you have Devean George as a "key loss"? I bet Cuban lit up a Cuban the second that dude's contract expired.

Too bad about Gortat, he would have been a legit Center, now they're still stuck with Dampier who = Kwame plus... not much and Gooden? as a Center? good luck with that, might as well bring in some Euro guy...

This Mavericks guy BK interviewed seems like a tool without any sense of humor.

I just have this to say about the Mavs prospects this season: When you're crossing your fingers that Drew Gooden will be your answer to having a low post threat, your championship hopes are dim.

Does Dirk look like a mountain goat to anyone else?

"Earless - you misplaced your F"

Posted by: stillhavethoseballoons? | October 23, 2009 at 11:27 AM

ROTFLMAO! I don't have a witty comeback 'cause I'm currently on the floor, in stitches!!!

Gotta' give credit where credit is due, even if a little Leprechaun said it.


I think they meant that he was holding X-rays in his hand, and that's why he couldn't catch anything. I wonder if the Lakers checked that?

"I truly believe Ron Artest will do them in...he is still incredibly combustible, and has NOT taken the necessary steps to keep his erratic personality under control."

Wow, a sportwriter from Boston thinks the Lakers made a wrong move.

Shocking! Shocking I say!

LA Lakers 2009 NBA Champions

Bill Simmons. I hate him, but I really respect him. Whattatool.

Thriller is awesome.

Now the we've got out own man-dog-brick, nothing can stop us.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


I meant...

"Thriller is awesome.

Now the we've got OUR OWN man-dog-brick, nothing can stop us."

I'm still confused why Bill Simmons thought the TMZ thing was such a big deal.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


Jackie MacMullan...who is the super-respected NBA writer, and author of the new Magic/Bird best selling book...talks {10/21/09} about new Laker Ron "Thriller" Artest :

"I truly believe Ron Artest will do them in...he is still incredibly combustible, and has NOT taken the necessary steps to keep his erratic personality under control."

Posted by: RED`S LOVE CHILD | October 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Yea another hopeful Bostonian that has the tool-sheep like thinking that Ron's a bad guy. Do these people know him? Maybe she should read this blog and learn about the "steps to keep his erratic personality under control" he has taken. Then I guess that means Rasheed will do Boston in right? I think they both only add to their teams, except Rasheed is way past his prime. You might as well have quoted Bill Simmons.

The writers in Boston are still sniffin glue as is this Simmons guy,but i know they will come up with some excuse is not at full strength or something, my celtic friends are already polishing their " see you next year speech" but it will be a long year for anyone not on this Lakers ride! GO BYNUM, GO LAKERS!!

don't need x rays to look at kwames hands. need a microscope.

hey, i'm trying to pack here. I'm trying to catch up on the blog and the whole comments section is everybody trying to out witty insult the Celtics. I get it. these guys aren't celtic fans, they’re out of work stand up comedians from the valley.

Also I’m wondering how a guy who never gets up before noon gets included in the ‘morning crue.’ Nah, tip o the hat to ya, mamba. Yer brilliant, mate. Cheers.

Sorry, got too many people talking about the ‘septics’ from new England, I start to think I’m in some west end bar in London. Then again, maybe it's just the drunk irish guys getting kicked in the shamrocks.

Ah well, like I said, I’m packing up and moving this weekend and I probably won’t be around much until hopefully game time in, you know, the real season. No institutionalization this time, either, but maybe I’ll have a song by tues. Maybe I’ll do one on the Celtics to the tune of beck’s ‘loser.’ I’d do something clever, but then they wouldn’t be able to follow along. Heck, they have trouble with anything that isn’t sung by a purple dinosaur.

Don’t get too carried away talking to these yahoos. We don’t need to be clever, we only need two words, which frankly probably exceeds the average vocabulary of greater Boston by about a word and a half. Anybody want to guess what those words are? Hint, it’s about the championship trophy, and nobody but the Lakers can say them.

Love, yadda.

Luke not only got slower but its obvious he didn't work on his wide open jumper either... Both times he launched it from downtown were just brick city special or in the words of the late chick "didn't even draw iron". And the one time he tried to force it over a smaller ty lawson, the birdman saw it coming from a mile away and sent it back volleyball spike off the backboard airmail special. What the hell did he do all summer? If I was his coach I'd make him run wide open shooting drills all day with defenders at least 10 feet away from him everytime

and yes I'm down to impeach stern the antichrist... its all about the $$$$$ baby. The nba where corruption happens.

And last comment from last nights game... With artest on carmelo the nuggets got no chance.. I was paying particular close attention to that matchup and believe me carmelo could not find any rhythim all night and when he did score he was forced into some very bad low percentage shots. This is what I'm talkin about baby!! What a difference one player makes!! This just went from a tight nailbiting 4-3 series to possible sweep city

And pfunk... Good to have u back but pls don't be gone too long. It aint easy being a luke hater in this predominantly luke loving blog so we need all the help we can get.

Let's face it - pretty much everyone that hates the Lakers is hoping beyond hope that Artest does go scooters and sinks the team. If the team is healthy at the end of the year, and Artest is playing good D and hitting some shots it is going to be near impossible for someone to beat the Lakers. The Lakers have Kobe, arguably the best player in the league. Pau Gasol a top 3 PF/C combo player. Lamar Odom the best sixth man and match up nightmare extraordinaire. Ron Artest – former Defensive Player of the Year, tough guy that can play multiple positions that can take some pressure off of Kobe on both ends of the floor to make the Mamba more deadly in the fourth. Andrew Bynum, up and coming young big that will be a nice presence the Lakers have lacked in the Finals the past two years. D Fish may not be much as a player anymore however he can hit shots under pressure. I see his value being a leader and a good presence to keep the guys focused. Any improvement from Farmar and Sasha will be a bonus since neither did squat to help the Lakers last year. ShanWow should be better giving the Lakers even more of a boost. Other teams may think their bench or a player here or there is better than what the Lakers have – and in games of one on one that may be true. However it is a team game and the Lakers can go big, small, fast or slow – you name it. The Lakers have guys that can match up with anyone. There is no team in the league that has the versatility that a healthy Lakers squad possesses. All the talent on the floor doesn’t even tell the whole story. Phil Jackson is the best coach ever. Period. Throw in the best owner in pro sports and that my friends are why the Lakers are the team to beat and the team for all the haters out there to hate. So go ahead and hope Artest blows it up – we know it is only because you are scared the Lakers truly are THAT GOOD!


Danny Ainge is one great guy!!!

Former Laker Tyronn Lue called him...and said he wants a third championship ring.

So, Danny signed him today to back up Rondo!!!!


Look for Phil to give Luke a start tonight since it is his hometown and he wants to give Pfunk a heart attack. LOL. Anybody hear whether DRew is going to sit this one out like last night? Mbenga played great. You know that Drew and Pau have to be aggressive in practice if they don't want DJ to stuff those shots back down their throats. I was amazed that DJ didn't have his usual foul-a-minute moves going. Gotta be the best 3rd string center in the NBA.


yellofever- don't worry, a lot of more casual fans who know less about the game than us hard core guys who've been here all summer will be showing up during the regular season. they'll give you all the knee jerk 'Luke sucks! what is phil doing? Phil only plays him cause he's a white male!" commentary. They should get us back to our usual 95% anti-luke ratio. Although i do like to think of you as a fellow enlightened one and hope that some of them might even embarrass you with their lack of sophistication.

i'm actually looking forward to it, i haven't written my Luke based song parody yet, and the material should give me plenty to work with.

heck, maybe Luke will even suck this season and you can say you knew all along.

Red - read your comment about Lue. That is indeed charitable of Ainge.

"There is no other owner in the league I'd rather have." Hm, Cuban vs Buss, how many championships does each have again?

And the Mavs claim to "almost greatness" was during a period of weak competition. Let's face it, if your elite competitors includes the Suns and "no defense" d'Antoni, you're not that good. I don't think the '06 Mavs would have made it past the '09 Nuggets and the '09 Magic would have squashed them.

Anyways, their window has long past with the Lakers in championship form again, the strong Eastern teams, etc. At least they made the history books as a 67-win team who got booted in the first round, by the Warriors no less. Now there's a record that will be hard to beat!



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