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Friday Morning Stuff

David Moore writes about Devin Harris.

Name a young athlete who doesn't put himself ahead of the team on occasion.

Name a high draft pick, nearly three years deep into his career, unconcerned with the impact being shuttled in and out of the starting lineup could have on his next contract.

The intent here is not to portray Devin Harris as some sort of selfless icon. There are other players on the Mavericks roster who have sacrificed their statistics for the sake of this 56-11 record and a chance at the championship.

But the team already has one small guard (Jason Terry) under contract through the 2010-2011 season and a coach in Avery Johnson with an aversion to going small. If you were Harris, 24 years old and eager to show the NBA how good you can be, wouldn't that make you wonder about your future with the Mavericks?

"No," Harris said. "It's all about right now.

"We know what this team is capable of doing. We definitely don't want to waste this window of opportunity."
I'm glad Moore wrote this article because echoes some things that I feel as well. I think that if Devin Harris were playing for a team like the Celtics or Bobcats right now he could easily be averaging between 15 and 18 points a game, yet he'll go an entire game for Dallas without a FGA. Shooting more than ten times a game isn't what he needs to be doing to help this team, so he doesn't.

He's been yanked between starter and 6th man throughout the season, losing his starting job for reasons other than his performance. The veterans on this team get a lot of credit for "accepting roles", why can't the young guys too?


What is Avery learning in his second full season as head coach?
"I trust my point guards more than I did last year. I've let [assistant] Joe Prunty run two practices this year. He ran none last year. You get a little bit more of a comfort zone for what works.

"More than anything, you start finding out what doesn't work," Johnson said. "I try to eliminate things. We as coaches, we get these great ideas in the afternoon about these really good plays that will work. Then when you try them, they stink.

"I try to keep it really simple."

Art Garcia gives the Mavs magic numbers.
The franchise owns only one outright division title in its history, having won the Midwest in 1986-87. (The Mavs and Spurs tied for first in the Midwest in 2002-03, but San Antonio won the tiebreaker.)

The Mavs' magic number to clinch their second outright division title is seven with 15 games to play. As for securing the Western Conference's No. 1 seed, the Mavs need any combination of wins and Phoenix losses totaling 11.
Garcia also discovered that if the Mavs lost their next 15 games, got swept in the playoffs, and then went 0-82 next season, Avery Johnson would still be a .500 coach.


And Randy Galloway predicts that Dirk's comments after the Phoenix game will come back to haunt him at some point.
"Anyone who says they don't get tense is lying," Dirk said.

This question, however, I heard asked this week more than once:

Is your star player supposed to be admitting that?

I don't know.

It's refreshing to hear, and certainly not an indictment.

The problem, however, is that quote was filed away in computer storage by sports media all over the country.

Come playoff time, if there is another collapse such as last June, then "tense" will become headline material coast-to-coast, even though Nowitzki followed up that comment with, "I love to have the ball at the end of games. That's what it's all about."