Labor day weekend links

Not too much going on right now with the Mavs.  Everyone though pretty much has their roster more or less set to start the season with, so the predictions and pre-season power rankings are starting to flood in.  First up though, lets start with an outlook on our own Southwest Division.

Art Garcia and other team bloggers from their respective teams websites have completed a three part series of looking at the major moves, summer league, and a final outlook as to what to expect from each team in the SW.

The Mavs are looking to return to elite status in the Western Conference. Those who run the show believe the window for a championship is still open because of former MVP Dirk Nowitzki and fellow Olympian Jason Kidd.

The trick is getting consistent contributions from the supporting cast, namely Jason Terry, Josh Howard, Erick Dampier, Gana Diop, Jerry Stackhouse and Brandon Bass. Charged with the task of getting it back together is Rick Carlisle, a veteran coach with an even-handed approach who led playoff teams in Detroit and Indiana.

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SI.com has also broken down the SW division team by team, stating what went right and what went wrong this off season.  Suprisingly they say that keeping Howard this summer was something the Mavs did right, along with hiring Howard, and that the resigning of Diop about Kidd's age.

Grade: C

Clearly this team had tuned out Johnson. But will the hard-driving Carlisle have its ears for very long? Of course, he may not need very long with Kidd sliding toward the end of his career. For a team that boasted one of the youngest and talented cores only two years ago, the title window appears to be closing. It will be hard to keep it propped open with the more balanced Lakers and Hornets emerging as the dominant Western powers. If Carlisle can't get this club past the first round in the spring, a housecleaning could be next.

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ESPN makes some VERY conservative picks as to how the West will end up, with the Lakers only winning 55 games and Dallas coming in at 7th behind Phx and ahead of Portland and winning 45.

More links and news following the break....

Erick Blasco ranks the top 30 centers in the league heading into this next season, not much love for Diop and Damp.

16) DeSagana Diop—Dallas Mavericks

Diop is probably the best post defender in the league, thanks to his diligent work ethic, quick feet, and massive frame. He’ll even move his feet on switches., and uses angles well to hang with guards and wings for a beat or two before being outraced.

His screens are massive, but he has poor awareness offensively and no refined offensive skill to hang his hat on. He can’t pass, or shoot, and is turnover-prone.

27) Erick Dampier—Dallas Mavericks

The word “Dampier” in the dictionary is listed as a synonym for “foul trouble.” Sure Dampier is big, sure he’s strong, but he can never stay on the court, and isn’t as tough as he looks.

This can be proved by examining how Tyson Chandler pushed him around with ease during last year’s playoffs, forcing Dampier to reaffirm his toughness by shoving Chris Paul late in a blowout Game Three loss.

Dampier is consistently unreliable.

Probably an accurate description of both of these guys, but where he has them on his list seems to suggest both being a little underrated.  Especially when he has the likes of Kurt Thomas, Snaq, and Haslem all ahead of Diop.  Diop is VERY limited offensively, but his defense is one that could set the bar in the leauge for centers if he continues to develop.

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Tom Ziller is ranking the top 50 players in the league, starting from player number 50 and making his way down.  Josh falls in at number 48.

t's unclear whether he'll get past whatever blocked his path late last season. If so, Dallas should surprise and be a very good team again.

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Manu is going to need surgery on hls heel, will this be another injury for San Antonio that prevents them from contending again this year?

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Clarkpojo over at SLCDunk made a list of trades that he thinks should be made this season, one of them being the following...

3. Ben Gordon for Jason Terry and Eddie Jones- Gordon will basically force Chicago's hand on a trade.  It is now the Bulls' job to try to get something for him.  The Mavericks could use some new blood and a shooter and Chicago could get a truer shooting guard in Terry to salvage Gordon's loss.  Of course, it would have to be a sign and trade, but Gordon can't expect to sign for any more than $14 a year.

I like the two players going to Chicago, but not the one coming back.  Ben Gordon would leave us with the same problem Terry currently does, and undersized SG who does not have the ball handling skills to play the point.  Chicago has many pieces that Dallas would be interested in, but Gordon for Terry would not be one of them

 

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