Previewing the Dallas Mavericks’ 2012-13 Season, Part 1

I think I’ve made it clear in this corner of the internet and beyond that the only sport I truly love is basketball, and, furthermore, that my preferred brand of the game is of the NBA variety, and, further still, that I live and die by the Dallas Mavericks. So, naturally, I am quite excited by the impending return of basketball and the NBA and the Dallas Mavericks. After the jump, I have some thoughts about the new faces on the squad. Before we get there, note that one of our regular contributors, David Hopkins, will also be a regularly contributing to the ESPN-affiliated Mavs blog The Two Man Game; his first piece is here. OK, let’s hit it.

Rating the Mavericks’ New Additions

Elton Brand: Once an All-Star, Brand is now at the point of his career where the Mavs were able to pick him up relatively cheaply, after he was cut loose by Philadelphia. He’s not cracking an All-Star roster again, unless there is an outbreak of some weird virus that takes away every player in the league’s ability to run and jump, forcing the game back into its peach-basket beginnings, and, even then, he’d only have a puncher’s chance. (He would also have a chance in the following scenarios: 1) World War III breaks out and most of the younger players are drafted, 2) he makes roughly 5 million copies of the ballot and votes for himself, or 3) rap skills and IMDb credits are factored in.) But, Brand is solid. Good post defender. Decent mid-range shot. Can rebound. Isn’t being asked to do much. And if that means the Mavs end up featuring heavily in Just Wright 2: A Knight’s Tale, so be it. Rating: Tom Berenger in Inception

Chris Kaman: See some of what I just said. Former All-Star, not at that level anymore, not really being asked to carry the offense or defense, but for sure being counted on to shore up any hunting trips the team has planned. Played with Dirk Nowitzki on the German national team. Potentially terrifying looking. Probably the most offensively skilled center the Mavericks have had since James Donaldson, which I don’t mean as damning with faint praise, but if I did mean it that way, that praise would indeed be the faintest, almost broken down to its trace elements. Easily the most active NBA hunter now that Brad Miller has retired. Not a bad pickup for the team; I’m not turning down, say, 12 points and 7 rebounds (maybe a stretch?) every night. He’s no one’s first choice, but definitely not bad to have around for certain occasions. Rating: a pair of camouflage cargo shorts

Darren Collison: After losing out on Deron Williams and then luckily losing out on Jason Kidd (I love him, but past tense), the Mavs sorely needed a point guard, and they sort of miraculously ended up with the speedy Collison, only giving up the leaving-anyway Ian Mahinmi. This is only Collison’s fourth season, so there is still a bit of potential here, even though he has regressed some from his strong rookie season, when he more than capably filled in for an injured Chris Paul. As I stated before, Collison is fast, can get to the rim with relative ease, and has a decent jumper he uses too infrequently. Rick Carlisle has proven he can max out a player’s talent, putting people in the right spot to succeed, so I’m interested to see what happens here. He could be the point guard of the future, and if he’s not, they didn’t risk much. Rating: Johnny Cash’s Rick Rubin-produced Unchained

O.J. Mayo: Ostensibly, Mayo will be filling the Jason Terry instant offense/deep threat role, now that JET is up in Boston getting sketchy tattoos. He has the potential to slot into that spot pretty well, since he’s familiar coming off the bench from his time in Memphis and, here, he won’t be abjectly terrified of the guy he’s backing up. Like Collison, he’s regressed a little from his rookie season, but the talent is there, and this could be another great low-cost, low-risk pickup for the Mavs if Carlisle can maximize his talent. Also: his name sounds like a terrible lunch, so there’s that. Also also: hello, ladies. Rating: the fan-made video for Mogwai’s “The Sun is Too Loud”

Dahntay Jones: More or less a throw-in with the Collison deal, he can be a good defender, or has been in the past, he’s unfortunately somewhat confident on offense, for no real reason, and to my dismay his name doesn’t really lend itself to “you suck” puns like Greg Buckner’s did. (Don’tay Jones, maybe?) Eh. Rating: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory

Rookies Jared Cunnigham, Jae Crowder, Bernard James: Cunningham has Russell Westbrook upside theoretically, Crowder is a hustle machine and sure-shot fan favorite, and James is a 27-year-old Air Force vet with a great story. There is potential here, but more than likely only one of them gets much run. Which one? I’d guess Crowder, but I’m a notoriously iffy guesser. Rating: the fake trailers from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse

5 comments on “Previewing the Dallas Mavericks’ 2012-13 Season, Part 1

  1. doesn’t look like I will ever be reading this web publication again since the author posts links to items that contain pornography without labeling them as such

  2. A little research would help lend credibility to this analysis.

    1) Mayo is penciled in as the starting 2 guard. Donnie Nelson stated this when he signed several months ago. Mayo has playing the role of the starting 2 throughout the preseason. 6th man likely goes to the aforementioned Brand; however, the way V.C. is playing he could be a candidate as well (Eddie Sefko with DMN actually covered the story of VC playing the role of 6th man yesterday).

    2) Dahntay Jones has confidence on offense because he shot 42.9% from the 3-pt line. That’s tied for 16th in the NBA for players who took more than 50 3pt attempts. It’s better than anyone the Mavs had last season, including Nowitzki and Terry. Seems to be a pretty good reason to have confidence to me. Also seems to be a player Carlisle will like, ala DeShawn Stevenson (good defender and 3pt specialist). A lot of “sports writers” referred to Stevenson as a throw-in in that deal, as well. In the end, he played more of a role in the Mavs’ championship than either Butler or Haywood.

    3) WW II already happened. We won.

  3. @soog:

    Pornography?

    1) Fair enough. But he’s been penciled in as a starting two guard before, and he ended up as sixth man. And the way Carlisle plays match-ups and so on (he changes his starting lineup more than anyone, usually for the better), I don’t think it’s going too far to say Mayo will be coming off the bench a bunch.

    2) You’re right about Stevenson, for sure. (Though I was someone who liked him before he got here.) I hope you’re right about Dahntay Jones. He does have nice percentages from the three-point line. That’s fine, if he just catches and shoots. But he dribbles too much, drives too much, turns it over too much, doesn’t pass enough, and can’t really shoot if he’s inside the three-point line (John Hollinger’s stats have him at 31-for-117 between the basket and the 3-point line). It’d be great if he would accept the role of good defender and three-point specialist. But he never really has done that in his career thus far.

    3) Typo. Fixed.

  4. Thanks for the mention! My column will post every Tuesday, 10:30 AM or so. I look forward to defending my own sports opinions on a weekly basis.

    Re: soog (if that is your real name), read the post more carefully.

    1) Zac wrote, “Mayo will be filling the Jason Terry instant offense/deep threat role.” He’s not talking about sixth man; he’s talking about Terry’s/Mayo’s role as the #2 scoring threat. If you double team Dirk, a pass out to Terry/Mayo becomes equally damaging. And it is true. Carlisle has said on many occasions that he sees Mayo filling in Terry’s role. Carlisle may have used Terry off-the-bench, but Terry played starter-level minutes.

    2) Dahntay. He’s a good defender, but he doesn’t take nearly enough 3-pointers to be called a “specialist” (50+ could be barely one per game). He takes the shot when it’s open–more a la Brian Cardinal than Stevenson in that regard. What makes someone a “specialist” is when they can shoot 40% and half of the shots are with a defender’s hand in their face.

    3) We’re talking about WW III. You know, the one with zombies and samurai warriors. It’s coming.

  5. Hmm. I posted my response without refreshing the comments–during that time, Zac already aptly defended himself and updated his post. WWII or WIII. Oh well.