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Grading the Mavs' Season: Rick Carlisle

After looking at our last poll, most of MMB gave Brendan Haywood 7’s. Adding Butler’s grade to the mix, this is what we have so far:

Dirk – 9/10 (too close to call either way)

Kidd – 8

Marion – 6

JET – 5/6

Butler – 7

Haywood - 7

The last person on our report card is going to be Coach Rick Carlisle.

In his short 2 seasons in Dallas, Carlisle’s tenure has been rocky to say the least. Although he has had his moments, such as getting into the second round in 2008 and finishing with the 2nd best record in the West the past season, he’s been known far more for his faults. Although he sometimes does not get as much credit as he should considering he had walked into a team with an aging and declining roster, the fact of the matter remains that he has made some truly questionable decisions which have indirectly led to some losses for his team. But I’ll leave it to you all as the fans to decide his grade.

Good: Say what you want about Carlisle, but the relaxed atmosphere he has brought to the Mavs has really helped this team throughout the last two years. This is in sharp contrast to the atmosphere around the team when Avery Johnson was coach as Johnson's demeanor wore on the team at the end of his tenure. Another key aspect that Carlisle has brought to the Mavs is experience from the head coaching level: he has been the coach of several teams in Indiana and Detroit that went far in the playoffs and learned from one of the most respected coaches in NBA history in Chuck Daly.

Negative: As many as there are, lets just name a few.
  1. Roddy B in Game 6/Season – If anyone needs that to be explained at all, you might need to have your MFFL card revoked.
  2. Not Playing Caron Butler in Game 3- Sitting Butler for part of the second half is one thing, but when you sit one of your best scorers for the entire second half, it is an absolutely questionable coaching decision.
  3. Overplaying Jason Kidd – Granted, this team would probably not have won the division if Kidd had played lower minutes, but at the same time, Kidd was very ineffective in the playoffs, which, despite rumors of a sickness, probably had to do with fatigue.
  4. JJ Barea – Let me be honest for a second, I think JJ Barea can be a solid back-up point guard when played in the right situation. However, that situation does not involve playing 20 minutes a game! Carlisle’s insistence of playing Barea clearly was one of the reasons to the Mavs’ downfall.

Feel free to list any more negatives you know about Carlisle.

My Grade: 4. Bleah. Look, the guy has shown that he can coach in his stops. But the fact of the matter is that he made some questionable decisions this past season which really hindered this team (especially in the playoffs). I’m sure the rest of you will have somewhat similar grades (if not lower)!

Outlook: Three words: make or break. This is probably the biggest season for Carlisle since he has become coach of the Mavs. If this team struggles and flames out in the playoffs again, he’ll likely be gone, but if this team does end up succeeding, I think its safe to say we’ll see him another year at the very least.