Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Columnists, bloggers, etc. are unified by one fact: we gotta have a lot of opinions. Some of us a few times a week, some of us every day.
When that happens, there are going to be times when you're spectacularly wrong. There are anyway, of course, but less public.
So, for example, before last night's game I wrote a column for SBN Dallas in which I argued that though the offensive production was borne on the back of entirely unsustainable percentages, the offense was going to be fine because, to paraphrase myself, it wasn't Chris Kaman shooting the threes or OJ Mayo making post moves. The guys who are putting up insane numbers are putting them up at things they're good at anyway. There will be a correction but not an explosion.
For two games, at least, I was wrong, and I'm probably mostly wrong on that one until Dirk comes back, for a somewhat obvious reason, which is this:
I guess an offense with Memphis' sixth man and Indiana's backup PG at the helm isn't the greatest offense of all time after all?
Or: I guess an offense by a guy willing to sign a 4.5 million dollar, one-year deal at the helm (even if there were higher ones out there), and a guy you could trade Ian Mahimni before aren't going to score 20 and 30 every night?
The Mavericks offense has two problems. The first is that their offense struggles mightily when the threes are falling. I understand that problem completely, we have it in our own pickup basketball games---it's what happens when no one can create their own shot, something I haven't done myself since 1998.
The other is that they cannot get rebounds. They can't.
The silver lining, I guess, is that Deron Williams also can't rebound.
On the note of opinions, it's been weird to me to see how angry people are at Troy Murphy. It is weird and annoying that he played so many minutes last night, and he certainly hasn't been great, but he does have the third best rebounding rate on the team, behind Marion and Bernard James, so really, the best among players who get reasonable minutes.
I agree it's not great, but I think we're going to feel bad about this one. The last time Murphy got appreciable minutes was in January of 2011. Didn't rebound too well, but still averaged 39% from three. When the Mavericks picked him up, he said he hadn't been playing or practicing, but he'd been running at Bally Fitness.
I don't think it's a surprise that a guy who the Mavs plucked out of Bally Fitness needs a few games to get up to speed and call me crazy but, once the Mavericks get their two best players back and Murphy's minutes go down to a reasonable level, I don't think you're going to mind having a 40% three-point shooter who can rebound a bit.
But I digress.
I still think things are going to be basically fine. Saying that the Mavericks' own short-handedness doesn't matter because the Wolves were just as short-handed doesn't make sense to me. You're still comparing non-existent quantities, two teams that aren't close to what they're going to be.
The Mavericks are missing by far their best offensive player and by far their best defensive player. They've had some overachievement from Mayo and Collison, but also underachievement from Brand and a couple of the rooks. The real secret, hiding behind everybody's love of Jae Crowder is that he actually has not been particularly good. He's scoring 7 points a game, grabbing 2.4 rebounds, has a single digit PER and is shooting 44%. He has room to go up, a lot. Sarge might too.
And that's today's opinion. Yes the Mavericks looked good, now they look bad. Yes the things they were doing on offense were not only unstable they were, like one-time attorney general Janet Reno, powerfully seductive, driving the Mavericks farther from what they should be doing, from working the offense.
But before we get our pitchforks and head to the castle, remember: This is not the Mavericks team you will be rooting for by January.
That is good news.