The Mavericks aren’t done, but is the NBA done with the Mavs?




I’m going to suggest something. It’s going to sound a little tinfoil hat-y. For the record, I would say in terms of NBA conspiracy theorists, I’m about at the midway point, between "David Stern froze the envelope" and "the NBA definitely did not have a habit of instructing its refs to tilt playoff games in favor of big market teams".

Come on. We all saw those Dallas, Phoenix, and Sacramento series. It’s a little bit weird how LA and Miami don’t have any of those to recall, isn’t it?

And while we’re at it, I’m not saying, I’m just saying that I’m glad every day that the Heat’s 33-18 free throw edge in Game 6 last year didn’t become a story.

But I’m delaying. Here’s what I’m suggesting: Nothing has made the NBA happier of late, other than not having to pay players for a few months, then getting the demands they wanted anyway, then ignoring then----than the Spurs crashing out of the playoffs last year, and the Mavs starting off this season slow.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying. The All-Star game, for example, is always a mix of the players people like the most and the players who are playing the best, and they're not always the same. If Yao Ming hadn’t retired, he could get elected to the All-Star game while dead.

However, the starters of the All-Star, inasmuch as they’re fan-voted in, aren’t a bad way to figure out who NBA fans dig. ‘And I don't imagine there's an exactly negative correlation between who the fans dig and who the NBA plays up.

You don't see Danny Granger, who's gone for 32, 36 and 26 so far this month, dunking over KIAs and you won't see him in Orlando. I am just saying.

Now, nobody much could argue with Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum and Kobe, with Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard in the East. Moreover, while Bynum, Kobe, Rose, Paul, Griffin and Carmelo play in the top three media markets in the country (So, 60% of the All-Star starters), Miami and Orlando are both pretty far down there.

But isn’t it a little funny that exactly two of those guys have ever won a championship (Bryant and Bynum)?

How did they get so popular, again?

In fact, isn’t it funny that of the league’s best players under 27, say LeBron, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Andrew Bynum and Rajon Rondo etc, and I know I’m forgetting someone but it’s not intentional….

Two of them have won championships (Rondo and Bynum)? And both of them needed at least one of the Ben-Gay All-Stars to do it?

Am I suggesting that something like this is behind the lack of respect generally shown a Mavericks team that is, one, the defending champions, two, third in the West despite stumbling out of the gate?

I am suggesting that.

Would it be so surprising if the League wasn't enjoy the fact that it's most popular and marketable stars (with the exception of Kobe, possibly the only 30+ guy in the league who can say this), haven't won much anything because the Spurs, Lakers, Mavs and Celtics have been hogging it?

Would it be so surprising if the League is ready to dump the old stars and get on with the new ones, ready to market the new stars and forget about the old?

I think not.

Do I have real evidence?

Not really.

I know I’m hearing the name Blake Griffin a lot more than I’m hearing Dirk Nowitzki. I know it’s the young kids in the commercial.

I know that you can, say, go to Bleacherreport.com right now and read you can go to Bleachereport.com right now, and you can read this article on " Dirk Nowitzki and Has-Beens Who Don’t Belong," in the All-Star game.

It’s quite possible, that this gentleman meant the list he was presenting would be an underperforming Dirk + Four Has-Beens Who Don’t Belong.

I know that you can go to Grantland right now and read this article and see quotes like: "Does anyone really think the Spurs will win a playoff series?"

Does anyone? Yes, I think I probably do.

"Perhaps one of the downsides of the Duncan era is that the Spurs haven't branded their team as a hot-spot destination that was only 'a piece away' from winning a title."

Upside, I guess, is four times NOT being a piece away from winning a title.

I'm not saying, I'm just saying.

I’m just saying that the front page of ESPN.com, as I’m writing this, has a main picture of Wade-Lebron-Bosh, smaller pictures of Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Jeremy Lin, and believe it or not Brandan Wright. The headlines are about Kyrie Irving, Shawne Willimas, Roy Hibbert, Jeremy Lin, Marc Gasol, and believe it or not Kris Humphries.

I’m just saying, since I’m here during the 4th quarter of the Spurs game, NBA.com does admit that the Spurs are going for their 12th in a row (and won’t get it, since they’re down 126-84 in the 4th), but besides that the pictures are LeBron, Deron and Amar’e, D-Wade, a sullen looking Lakers team (with the grade B-), Jrue Holiday and Carmelo Anthony. The articles are about…Kris Humphries? Really? Again? Am I on Reality TV right now?...Klay Thompson, Jeremy Lin and JaVale McGee.

I'm not saying. I am just saying.

You know? Despite a little hiccup against the Knicks last night, any list of the hottest teams in the NBA right now has to include the Mavs (7-1 over the last 8) and Spurs (11 in a row).

You know?

None of this really matters. Really, really.

It’s not that it doesn’t matter at all—sports is a made-up fantasy land anyway. There’s an ideological purity in only being into winning, and not caring about what people say, or think, or do. But you’re not a bad person if you’re also into Charle Barkley saying nice things about your team. Or Marc Stein putting you up on his Power Rankings. Or whatever.

And I AM just saying that if the powers-that-be in the NBA really are done with the Mavs, it makes it that much more delicious, to me, that the Mavs aren’t done at all.

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