We made it. The long dry desert known as "the offseason" is about to come to a close, and as has become tradition here at Mavs Moneyball, we've chosen a not-so-serious musical theme to lighten the all-too-serious prognostications in other corners of the internet.
Previous editions of musical Mavericks have discussed such pop culture fixtures as Taylor Swift, '90s hits, and Kanye West. This year we look at what boy band songs represent the 2015-16 Dallas Mavericks!
The slightly awkward part of using boy band songs as a theme is that almost all of these require you kinda ignore the obvious fact that these songs are all guys singing about girls. But, I've seen plenty a blogger swoon over a basketball player like Taylor Swift crying teardrops on her guitar, so it doesn't require THAT much of a mental leap.
Sorry (not sorry). With no further ado ...
Dirk Nowitzki - *NSYNC, "(God Must Have Spent) a Little More Time on You"
Your love is like a river, peaceful and deep
Your soul is like a secret that I never could keep
When I look into your eyes, I know that it's true
God must have spent a little more time on you, oh
A little more time, yes he did, babe
In all of creation, all things great and small
You are the one that surpasses them all
More precious than any diamond or pearl
They broke the mold when you came in this world
This one really doesn't require much extrapolation. Dirk is the definition of "breaking the mold," more so than almost any player in NBA history. A seven-foot European dude who can shoot so well that he's often mentioned among the best shooters ever, who has a goofy looking one-legged fadeaway jumper that players now try and copy, who can shoot a trailing 3-point shot that makes you swoon. If you don't believe me (and this is a Mavs blog, so I know I have a friendly crowd), take a look at the extent to which he's "surpassed them all" on that all-time NBA shooting list these past few years, why don't you?
Sure, his defense and rebounding skills have faded over time, but he really has been the most precious player in Mavericks history, and it's not even close. He also is one of the more genuinely nice superstars you'll see in sports, which I feel like has become all too rare these days. God really did spend a little more time on him. And we are the lucky beneficiaries of his wonderfulness.
Chandler Parsons - Evan and Jaron, "Crazy for this Girl"
She rolls the window down
Talks over the sound
Of the cars that pass us by
And I don't know why
But she's changed my mind
Would you look at her
She looks at me
She's got me thinking about her constantly
But she don't know how I feel
And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured it out
I'm crazy for this girl
This selection is a slight cheat, because Evan and Jaron (who?) are technically a duo rather than a band. I tried on a few Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees songs here as well, but none of them quiiiite worked. But this fun little one-hit wonder from the year 2000 is a good fit. If you've not looked at our staff predictions post, you'll see that quite a few of us have picked Parsons as the presumptive offensive MVP.
When Parsons signed that offer sheet in that nightclub, and then again when he served as lead recruiter for DeAndre Jordan, we've seen that he's ready to be the face of this franchise. Personally, I'm really excited about that. Even if he can't take that vaunted "next step", he has me thinking constantly about how wonderful it would be to have a player who can be the team leader, who can claim the reins from Dirk after what will likely be his last season next year.
In short: I wasn't totally sure about Parsons when he signed, but now I am, in fact, crazy for this guy. If you haven't gotten there yet, I think you will.
Wesley Matthews - Jackson 5, "I'll Be There"
You and I must make a pact, we must bring salvation back
Where there is love, I'll be there
I'll reach out my hand to you, I'll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I'll be there
And oh - I'll be there to comfort you,
Build my world of dreams around you, I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love that's strong
I'll be your strength, I'll keep holding on - yes I will, yes I will
I found it really telling that Mark Cuban gave Wes Matthews the chance to go back on their deal during the moratorium and he wouldn't. I knew I liked him in that moment. He chose the Mavericks because he wanted to be here, God bless him. (I was starting to get a little bit of a complex about the fact that free agents seem to not want to sign with Dallas, for reasons I've never quite been able to figure out other than the weather isn't great.)
"Just call my name and I'll be there" works on so many levels too. With the nickname "Iron Man," and with head trainer Casey Smith's voodoo magic, the Mavs have back a piece of their starting rotation much sooner than we anticipated we would. And, for all the talk about Parsons taking a step, and Deron Williams maybe being the best fit at point since Jason Kidd, I think that Wes Matthews is going to be the salvation, the missing piece this team has needed for a few years now.
Deron Williams - Backstreet Boys, "Shape of My Heart"
Baby, please try to forgive me
Stay here don't put out the glow
Hold me now don't bother if every minute it makes me weaker
You can save me from the man that I've become, oh yeah
Lookin' back on the things I've done
I was tryin' to be someone
I played my part, kept you in the dark
Now let me show you the shape of my heart
I wanted to give you guys "I Want It That Way" here. I really did. You see ... well ... time for a confession. I was a bit of a Backstreet Boys fanatic in my late teenage years. In fact, for the "Into the Millennium" tour, I used my newly acquired college pre-law skills to convince my parents to take me and my sister to see them in Las Vegas. It was amazing. And now you know more about me than you ever wanted to.
But, as I sorted through my photographic memory of BSB songs, I landed on this gem, the lead single off their third album, for Deron. "Looking back on the things I've done" is clearly a reflection of his time with the Nets and how wrong he was ("try to forgive me") for not choosing the Mavs back in the day. But the Mavs can save D-Will from the shell of his former Nets self and try to bring him back to at least part of his glory days with the Jazz that made him such a prize free agent in 2012. He just has to open himself up to Rick Carlisle's way of doing things and not do that coach-killer thing.
(Though let's be real, he'd be gone before Rick.)
(Also, have I mentioned Casey Smith has voodoo magic?)
John Jenkins - New Kids on the Block, "You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
I can see it in your walk
Tell 'em when you talk
See it in everything you do
Even in your thoughts
You got the right stuff, baby
Love the way you turn me on
Preseason MVP John Jenkins, y'all. Enough said.
Charlie Villanueva - Hanson, "Where's the Love?"
Where's the love, it's not enough
It makes the world go 'round and 'round and
Where's the love, just give it up
It makes the world go 'round and 'round and 'round
Dark clouds all around, lightning, rain pouring down
Waiting for the bright light to break through
Face down on the ground, pick us up at the lost and found
We've got to change our point of view if we want the sky blue
I've never had a conversation with Charlie V, but I do keep an eye on his blog, and I feel like he has to the most relentlessly positive and genuine person out there. Always doing cool things with his charity, always hustling to do the things he can do to help the team, always being just plain NICE.
Because of that, I'm actually happy he's earned himself a second season with the team, and might even have a bigger role this year! (Not sure if that in and of itself is a good thing, but good for him!) So, I also feel like this song is a really great reflection of his attitude and can-do spirit.
Come at me. #believeinCharlie
JaVale McGee - One Direction, "Perfect"
When I first saw you
From across the room
I could tell that you were curious, oh yeah
Girl, I hope you're sure
What you're looking for
'Cause I'm not good at making promises
But if you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms
And if you like having secret little rendezvous
If you like to do the things you know that we shouldn't do
Baby, I'm perfect
Baby, I'm perfect for you
I know a couple of One Direction songs, not a fact I'm super proud to admit but they show up in my aerobics classes here and there, and they're catchy. I hadn't heard this one before I started listening to songs for this piece. I was DETERMINED to find a perfect song for JaVale, and I heard this and smiled.
Go push play and sit back and listen while you play your favorite JaVale highlights and lowlights in your head. Perfect.
Devin Harris - All-4-One, "I Swear"
I see the questions in your eyes
I know what's weighing on your mind
You can be sure I know my part
'Cause I'll stand beside you through the years
You'll only cry those happy tears
And though I make mistakes I'll never break your heart
And I swear by the moon and the stars in the skies
I'll be there
I swear like a shadow that's by your side
I'll be there
I like Devin Harris. He is a nice guy, and a perfectly competent point guard who will make mistakes but never be so bad that you're going to hate him.
Also, those 2-for-1s will always be by your side, baby.
Tyson Chandler - 98 Degrees, "The Hardest Thing"
It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do
To look you in the eye, and tell you i don't love you
It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to lie
To show no emotion when you start to cry
I can't let you see what you mean to me
When my hands are tied and my hearts not free
We're not meant to be
It's the hardest thing I'll ever have to do
To turn around and walk away
Pretending I don't love you
I couldn't let you get away without a 98 Degrees song, could I now? So many boy band songs are about heartache and longing and leaving and now I'm crying in my room alone and andohmygodtysoncomebackplease.
I know some of you think Tyson left the Mavericks (and not the other way around) and you know, fine, but I am not one of those people. Maybe Tyson and the Mavs are just not meant to be, but he helped bring us a championship, and I think he'll always be beloved by the fans here, and don't know that I'll ever be able to root against him. (Unless it's the difference between him or the Mavs going to the playoffs, in which case of course go Mavs. But you get it.)