Last night was bad. Much like last Friday was bad. The Knicks are not good this season — they’d be thrilled to win 30 games in the Eastern Conference — but for whatever reason they’re good enough against these Dallas Mavericks.
I’m not here to tell you the Mavericks are in great shape and will look like world beaters soon. This is not a fluff piece. But it’s not the opposite either. I’m here to tell you to temper your expectations. This team was never going to win 50 games.
Dallas is 6-5 in the early going this season; a 44 win pace. I think everyone reading this would’ve been thrilled to get seven wins through the first 10 games of the season. They only got six. The horror.
I saw several shouts of “Fire Carlisle!” and “We need a trade!” on Twitter last night. Stop that. Stop it, you dummies.
Listen, we criticize Carlisle plenty around here, and he is obviously not without fault. The starting lineups and game-to-game rotations have been far too “fluid” for this team to establish an identity or get into any sort of regular rhythm. This team is continually getting clobbered in the first few minutes of games, and some of that has to be laid at the feet of the coaching staff. But we are nowhere near fire the coach territory. We know what Carlisle can do. He’s a tinkerer; he’s going to tinker. But do you really want to fire a guy for going 6-5 with a team that basically returned one starter from the season before? Calm down, dorks. What, do you think Mark Cuban should go out and hire Mark fucking Jackson?
As for the possibility of a trade: sure, whatever, the front office loves to trade. But be realistic. Moves may be made on the fringes, but this team is not one trade away from contention. There is no home run swing to take this year. They won’t be able to send out Tim Hardaway Jr. and bring back Victor Oladipo. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this roster remain essentially static this entire season.
Even after two dreadful losses to the Knicks in the last week, the team is second in offensive rating — even while ranking 18th in the league in three point shooting percentage. If the shooting improves, and I think it likely will, this team could have a truly elite offense. That’s an offense, mind you, that is run by a 20-year-old and a surgically-repaired Zydrunas Ilgauskas-sizealike who’s only played 10 games in the last 20 months. Give them a minute.
The Mavericks are fine. They’re going to disgust fans several more times in the coming months, but it isn’t about this season anyway. That’s not to say this team won’t make the playoffs. They very well could. But if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s fine. Enjoy watching a second-year player play at an MVP level and be happy they’re past the days of scrounging through the G-League to bring in players to start at point guard.