It’s not time for panic in D-Town just because how the Mavs are playing right now might have literally nothing to do with how they’ll play in a couple of months. As long as they remain in playoffs range, things don’t matter all that much. You have to beat the best to win a championship and it doesn’t’ much matter if that starts at round one.
That being said, 15 games in, we’re almost a quarter done with the season and I have had it more than up to here with these three characters:
1) Dismal-Shooting Dirk. I can’t stand it, I really can’t. Dirk rising up to hit an open shot was more or less the one thing I counted on in this veil of tears. He’s not. Not even close. I can’t stand everything about it. If the Mavs had had a real training camp, if the owners hadn’t been so greedy for more gate receipts, this wouldn’t be happening but they were, and now I have to watch my favorite athlete of all time look like a worse Ryan Andersoni. He can’t trust his jumper, and I’ve got news for you folks: a Dirk who can’t shoot that well? That is not a good look.
Dirk is currently behind such power forwards as Al Jefferson, Bargnani, Aldirdge, Griffin, Millsap, Love—and oh yeah, Ryan Anderson—in PER. He’s scored over 20 points once in the last 8 games. It just can’t be like this. It’ll be the worst Mavs season ever.
I’m betting he’s injured in some way we don’t know enough about, but he might just be tired from too many games and not enough offseason or training camp. Either way, get him some steroids, sit him for a week, make him a hammock on the side of the court for when he’s not playing, or whatever the heck else, because this is the single biggest problem in the Mavericks future.
Anybody can have a bad stretch. But he hasn’t looked right, and I can’t take it. In a season when Kobe goes to Germany and gets some crazy knee surgery that makes him feel up to shooting 45 shots a game, and our Mavs are supposed to be defending their title, I can’t have our personal GOAT averaging less than 20.
2) Weird Rotations Rick:
Dear Rick Carlisle,
I know that apparently Roddy Beaubois taking dumb shots is apparently the worst thing that’s happened n this country since the Depression, but I also have news for YOU. Which is that if you’re a particular fan of needing two last minute Terry threes to get CLOSE to 90 against the 20th ranked defense in the NBA, you may want to consider whether the juice might just be worth a little more than the squeeze.
You’ll note also that as great as the Lakers defense IS, 5th in the league, their points allowed average is actually "89.4" not "70", as one might think from a few nights ago.
Playing young players is not the worst thing in the world. Both Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer are scoring over 8 points a game for the Denver Nuggets. A team, by the way , that is somehow 10 and 5 despite George Karl’s carelessness in allowing youth to be served. Roddy Beaubois is scoring 5.3. If we didn’t think he could do what they do, we probably should have gotten rid of him and kept them.
Instead, this might have something to do with the fact that he played 0 minutes against the Lakers, 6 against the Clippers, 9 against Boston, or 1 against OKC. If I were Roddy, I would be demanding a trade. A kid with his talent, who can’t get a minute in an important game in his third year? He must think you’re his father to need to please you so bad and not complain about never getting a chance. He's older than Kevin Durant, incidentally.
But if not him, what about Brandan Wright? Yes, 1-6 in his last outing, in a blowout against Sacto, but he did grab 4 rebounds in 8 minutes. He was 2-2 against Milwaukee. 4-5 against Detroit. 2-2 against New Orleans. 3-3 against San Antonio. In other words, in his 33 minutes before the Sacto game, he was 11-12, for 27 points, grabbed 10 boards and blocked 4 shots while committing exactly one foul.
What, for that matter, about poor Sean Williams, who did nothing more than make 5 of 7 shots and grab 6 rebounds in around 16 minutes of play? Basketball-reference.com says he only blocked one shot, but you and I know that’s not true.
What about even you relatively veteran guys, your Delonte Wests who scored 17 points in his TWENTY FIVE minutes tonight, got 18 minutes the night before, 22 the night before, and besides a 34 minute outing against Boston has topped 25 minutes exactly twice?
The players who played the most minutes for the Mavs against the Clips were Kidd-Terry-Marion-Dirk-Haywood. They scored 52 points. The fivesome of Mo Williams (MO WILLIAMS)-Billups-Butler-Griffin-Jordan scored 82 even with just 2 from Caron (great job Matrix). This is not some coincidence. The Mavs offense came in looking like something that you’d put in the litter-box and shovel over, and it left looking like something you’d put in the litter-box and shovel over.
Try the kids, Rick. Yeah, maybe the other guys will score more. But come on.
And by the way, if you give Roddy the chance to shoot HALF the number of bad shots that Barea did when he was here, I think he’ll really get the chance to show us what it’s going to be.
3) Last-Second Larrys
That’s three the Mavs have lost on a last-second shot. You’re all mathematicians enough to know that that’s the difference between 8-7 and 11-4 which would, incidentally, be second place in the West.
You know what’s an underreported factor in all three of those shots? In all three of them, the Mavs made a really improbable comeback to put themselves in a position to lose on a last second shot anyway.
In Oklahoma it was a Jason Terry three with 39 seconds left, followed by a missed Durant shot, TWO missed Ibaka free throws, and a Carter 3 with 1 second left to have the privilege of losing on a 30-footer.
Against the Lakers, it was literally three O-boards followed by a Mahinmni tip in to bring the deficit down to 3 points, Jason Kidd stealing the ball from and getting fouled by Matt Barnes and making one free throw, Kobe missing and Terry making a floater to tie it up with 9 seconds left, then Fisher’s shot.
Against the Clips, it was allowing a Griffin layup to push it to 5 with 1:29 left, making a three off a Shawn Marion steal with 36 seconds left , losing a tip to DeAndre Jordan but having a very close call on the sidelines give the ball back to the Mavs followed by another Terry three, to lose by that Billups shot.
It may not have made a difference in reality, but I just can’t help but feel that if all three of those teams hadn’t had reason to feel like they had the game one with a minute left, they might not have won it with a second left.
You know what that comes down to?
Having scored more than 83 points with 36 seconds left in the Clippers game. Having scored more than 68 with 1:12 left in the Lakers game. Does anyone think those things couldn’t happen if we did some things around here to maximize scoring?
As clutch as the Mavs are, and if anyone thinks those Terry threes, or that Carter three, or that Terry floater don’t remain clutch just because there was a shot that occurred after them, spotting the opponents leads with a minute to go is not a good way to win friends and influence people.
Friends, I’m a guy who writes things on the internet. No basketball team of any kind at any level has ever asked me to coach, GM, or even attend a game. I just watch the game and I love it. All I’m writing to suggest is this: the Mavs rotations so far seem to me to be motivated by what we EXPECT players to be doing. With 25% of the season near gone, and them not doing it, we might want to revise what we do—even if, as we all know, our success this season will ultimately depend on whether we can get the ones we expect to get it right by playoff time.
Just a man with a keyboard, saying a thing.
That thing is, find a way to score more points.
It's also: you're wasting one of the Mavs' greatest strengths, bench depth, if you're afraid to use it when games matter.
It's also FREE THE YOUNG GUYS, RICK.
Just a thing.