In the spirit of Thanksgiving an the off-season, what aspect of the (mostly finished) Dallas Maverick off-season are you most thankful for?
Doyle: I’m most thankful for Rick Carlisle’s good mood and honesty on Zoom during the NBA Draft. Many of you haven’t had the chance to be in the same room with Carlisle. Those of us who cover the team are in his company a lot, or we were until the pandemic. Carlisle, by most accounts, is a nice guy, but he sometimes puts on airs when in front of the media. He can be curt and peddle in obfuscation at times. It’s frustrating. Other times, he’ll drop an incredibly insightful piece of knowledge on the room or tell a great anecdote about his playing days with the Boston Celtics. That’s when you know he’s in a good mood.
On draft night, he was chipper. He took jab at ESPN’s Tim MacMahon’s appearance and was very honest about the team’s needs coming into the draft. After the Mavericks selected Josh Green with the no. 18 pick, Carlisle was very open about Green’s role going forward.
“We wanted to draft a guy that had size, athletic ability, competitiveness, an NBA skill—which is his ability to shoot the ball with range—and we’re looking for a guy that can potentially be a rotation player for us,” Carlisle said.
Carlisle lays it all out. He doesn’t mince words, he doesn’t awkwardly fawn over Green’s floater game, he tells it how it is. Green’s role with the Mavericks will be working toward being a rotation player. He’s not penciling him in as a starter or sixth man. Green has to earn it. That might be disheartening news for the Green stans of the world, but it’s a refreshing statement to have from the head coach. And that’s what I’m thankful for. Nothing beats honest, happy Rick.
Jordan: It would be ungrateful, in this time of giving thanks, if I did not once again acknowledge the Mavericks’ efforts to acquire actual wings. I’ve been yelling about this for some time, confused why the team has just been fine trotting out multiple three-man lineups of sub 6’3 players. Have they made it work? Sort of. But a trip back to the playoffs most likely made blatant to the team that this is no longer a viable option if they want to be taken seriously.
Should we still scratch our heads that the four ball handlers not named Luka Doncic are all under 6’3 still? We could. But it’s a time to be grateful. So we’ll focus on a collection of usable wing players, and a projected starting lineup where no one is under 6’5. It’s a new age.
Josh: I’m thankful that the Mavericks understood their biggest weakness coming out of that playoff loss to the Clippers and aggressively attacked it. It was extremely obvious the Mavericks needed wing upgrades to help give Dorian Finney-Smith some help and while the Mavericks are a smart front office and they knew it too, that doesn’t always mean the fix comes like this. The Mavericks weren’t from one 3-and-D wing after the playoffs ended to now potentially six. Six! That’s so many! I’m very thankful I will not have to watch a 6’3 guard matched up against LeBron James this season. That makes me happy. Dallas has so many big perimeter players now. I’m smitten.
Kirk: I still can’t believe that the Dallas Mavericks not only used both picks they had heading into the draft, but that they acquired another one!
I’ve been writing at this site for eight years now and time after time we’d write all the words and posts on the draft and then come draft night, they’d either select a player we’d never considered or do something with the picks we really didn’t want.
This year, perhaps because our wishes were so aligned with what the team actually needed, things all came together. Like Jordan said above, it’s hilarious that a team with no real wings now has many. Really looking forward to what this means for the regular season.