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Wednesday Links

Mark Followill has his first Followill Report online with a few of his impressions from the training at UNT. In particular, he points out that everyone came to camp in shape and the Diop looks far more comfortable on the offensive side of the floor so far.

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Eddie Sefko thinks Erick Dampier has opened up the battle for the starting center position. Avery had already said Diop would be the starter again this season, but it's sounding like he is open to change.

"Damp has been a monster in camp," Johnson said. "It's just one of those things where I had to start him."

Johnson said Dampier has been better than Diop, which is why he's moved ahead of Diop in the rotation - for the moment. When asked if the season began now, would Dampier be his starter, Johnson said:

"I wouldn't say that. I just know Damp, and I know what he's doing. And I love it. I love the effort and the intensity and the communication."
Sefko also reports that Devin Harris will be out seven to ten days with a tweaked hamstring.

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Mercedes Mayer has a four question interview with Devean George.

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Art Garcia writes about the position battles. The increased competition seems to be increasing performance.
Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop are competing for the starting spot at center and, as a result, are pushing each other in practice.

"They really have and that's one of the things I really like about where we are this year is the competition," Johnson said. "I like the competition that's been ensuing at point guard. [Anthony Johnson] wants to play, and I like it. I like what [Greg] Buckner and [Josh Howard] and Devean [George] have been doing."
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Over at ESPN.com, Marc Stein previews the Mavs and spends much of his time talking about the past. He focuses on the experience factor from last season and there are tons of great quotes to go along with it.
This being October, firm conclusions are risky. The obvious disclaimer here is that, even though visitors to the Mavericks' training camp have struggled to identify traces of a playoff hangover, it's still early. We won't really know how Terry and the rest of Dirk Nowitzki's Mavs respond to those four straight losses to Miami until playoffs start in the spring, which is ages away.

"I still go through it in my head," Nowitzki said. "One of my last nights in Germany [last month], I was trying to go to sleep, but I couldn't. I was thinking about the free throw I missed [late in Game 3], about different situations that happened in that series. I'll never forget it. It's going to stay in my mind until we win it all."
In an Insider only article, Marc Stein also reports from Denton that Erick Dampier and Devin Harris haven't change much and that Darrell Armstrong will be missed.
I know Erick Dampier put in the most devoted offseason of his career, and I know Devin Harris shot 600 jumpers a day in an attempt to give sagging defenses something to think about.

Yet from what I've seen and heard so far, after a couple of public scrimmages, I'm really not expecting much of a difference from these two. Dampier will still struggle to live up to his mammoth contract, and Harris will be at his best going to the bucket as opposed to draining J's or setting up teammates with his playmaking.
Little DA, dealt to Indiana in the trade for Johnson and Croshere, had a huge locker-room presence for the Mavs. Avery Johnson is the first to say so: "I wouldn't say we're tight, but Armstrong kept us loose."

It remains to be seen who can fill that void with this group. Looking at the roster, I struggle to see anyone with a DA-type personality.