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Behind enemy lines: a Pelicans perspective on the Mavericks

Some thoughts on the Mavericks from a Pelicans fan’s perspective.

New Orleans Pelicans v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Perspective is everything. And sometimes you get so locked into your point of view that you don’t see things clearly anymore. This is especially true in sports, and if you follow a team closely you might lose sight of the big picture. You start to love certain players more than you should, and hate other players more than is rational.

So I wanted to step outside of my Dallas Mavericks bubble and get the perspective of some people who cover other teams in the Southwest Division. Today I’m talking to friend and New Orleans Pelicans fan Joseph Craven.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

What would it take to swing a trade for Jose Alvarado? Besides Luka, of course.

Oh this one is easy, just put together a three team trade that lands Steph Curry in NOLA and you’re good to go. That’s the only equivalent deal I think we’re willing to consider.

In all seriousness, though, I’m incredibly pumped to see what Jose can bring in year two, so much so that I instinctively typed “pumped” in 2022 without any hint of irony. With the value of lockdown defenders at the level it’s at right now, I think the sky’s the limit for however long a career he wants. I mean, look at Patrick Beverly still getting a lot of love at age 34, and Jose is probably a better actual defender than Pat is or was, but he’s less of an irritant and nuisance.

Tell you what: the trade package is getting Beverly to retire and stop trying to injure players all the time. If you do that, you get Jose.

Luka isn’t playing, and the game is tied with five seconds left. Which current Mavericks player do you absolutely not want taking a game-winning shot?

Okay, this one is tricky, because while I like a lot of the Mavs players for who they are and the roles they play so well, it’s hard to think of anyone on the team having the clutch gene, which is far more important than actual shooting skill. That’s just science.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Davis Bertans would attempt seven 3-pointers in the final second of a game, but that doesn’t mean he would hit any of them. Spencer Dinwiddie seems like a logical candidate considering he seems to be one of those “intangibles” guys that commentators like to discuss as if it really means anything, but he’s not far removed from a season where he shot 28% from deep. And it would be easy to make a pun about Reggie Bull-LOCK-ing in from deep here, but I don’t have that in me.

Is it crazy to say the scariest threat might be a drive and kick out to Maxi Kleber? Am I insane? Or is this what it feels like to be Mark Cuban?

Which is more terrifying among mascots with soulless eyes—Mavs Man, King Cake Baby, or the original Pelicans mascot?

It doesn’t matter what the question is, the answer is always King Cake Baby. These days, I don’t even see other mascots. I have mascot blindness. I look at them, and all I see is King Cake Baby. I close my eyes to sleep, all I see is King Cake Baby. When I wake in the morning, my first thought is about King Cake Baby. Anything I do is for King Cake Baby. All hail King Cake Baby, long may he reign.

(P.S. I had actually blocked out of my memory the original thanks a lot)

The Pelicans win the Southwest division if...

Memphis is laid to waste.

The easy answer here is health. C.J. McCollum was such a great fit and an immediate impact in a short time last season, it makes for a lot of hype thinking about what he, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson can do with a full year together. The young guys like Herb Jones, Trey Murphy, and Jose Alvarado are reaching points in their early careers where it’s proving impossible to ignore the amount of impactful minutes they practically demand to be given. Willy Hernangomez just won the Euroleague or whatever it was, fully putting himself at the top of the Official Hernangomez Brothers Tier. And Jonas Valanciunas is always so underrated that even I forgot to mention him until now.

I know that the hot-button topic around the Pelicans is Zion and always will be. When he was on the court, though, he was an obvious gamechanger. At this point in his career the concerns still seem fairly overblown, but we can’t be surprised because people love to look for a bust wherever they can. How much was Joel Embiid written off early on when he was dealing with injuries and attitude issues? Do we even remember anymore? I can easily see a situation where in about five years we’ve forgotten everything about Zion’s early struggles.

But I can also see a situation where the entire roster breaks their legs and the team folds and moves to Seattle. That’s why being a fan is so much fun!

Who is one former Pelicans/Hornets player you’d like to see play with Luka Doncic?

Let me put a quick twist on this question: Flashback to 2008, replace Chris Paul with Luka, and tell me that team isn’t an immediate title favorite. You had a prime of his career version of Mavericks legend Tyson Chandler and the criminally underrated David West. That triumvirate would have caused an unreal amount of fits for defenders back then. The success they would have achieved could have started a brand new era of Triangle offense domination. Phil Jackson would be named king of basketball for his influence.

But out of all of that, if there was only one player I could choose, it would be Mavericks legend Peja Stojakovic, purely because I want to see what Peja could accomplish in the modern, 3-point loving NBA. Maybe he would be our king. I think I’d like that.