I guess I’m the newest face around here, pleased to meet everyone. Chris, Mike and I go way back so I hope I can do this justice.
Let’s get the full disclosure out of the way first. Fort Worth born and raised, pretty much a homer in all things sports. Only exception is the New Orleans Saints as the fave NFL team, but then again the Cows are #2 in that regard. TCU football is the number one allegiance. Politically, a bit left of center. I’d consider myself a conservative Democrat, pro-choice, pro-gay-rights, pro-legalize-mota, pro-gun-ownership, pro-bill-of-rights. You’ll come to know all the views at some point. Personally, newly-married, to a lovely young lady from Iran so I have a bit more sensitivity to Islamic-Christian relations and issues than the average Joe. Oh, and I love to debate a point. Any point.
Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, the real purpose of my post. I’m of course a huge Mavs fan, even back since the days of 10-72, and I have never been more frustrated with my team. Let’s not even consider Dirk’s ambiguous “lower leg injury”, this team was in the toilet before them. So of course all of us good clean fans need to figure out the best way to fix it, right? Here’s my plan: I call it the Texas 2-step (how original, right?)
Step one – tank the rest of the season. You heard me right. Don’t tell me that it’s unethical and people never do it and blah blah blah. When it comes to things like this, I have to think it’s so common that if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’. Besides, the way the Mavs are playing right now, who’d ever know?! Now, why do we tank the season? Well, according to my sources, the draft pick headed to the Nets in the Kidd deal is lottery-protected. The 2010 one is not, so forget that one. If you play it smart Nelson, Cuban and company, this season may be the closest you come to the lottery. Maybe – more on that later. So tank it. Pick up that theoretical 12th or 13th pick, and then roll the dice, cross your fingers and hope to God the balls are kind to you and you can get one, two or three. Way better than a first round exit as the 8th seed.
Now, onto part two. This is the one that Mavs fans may have a big issue with. This is hard because it involves taking a good solid, objective look at our beloved team. Some hard questions have to be asked. The central question to part two is, are you willing to spend the money, trade the chips and do any and everything necessary to assemble a championship team in the “Dirk Window”? When I talk about that time frame I don’t mean how long Dirk will be in the league. I’m not talking about having the team ready as his skills begin to decline. The Mavs need to estimate how much longer Dirk will be a legitimate superstar. If they believe they have the pieces to trade, and the luxury tax money to spend to put that group together (which includes nobody on this current team, unless you can get it together while Kidd is still serviceable) within the Dirk Window, then they should begin immediately, as in right after they finish the tanked regular season.
If they have any doubts about their will to accomplish this, then the answer is trade Dirk. You’d do him a favor anyway, but the main reason is this – you won’t get more for him than you would now. He’s the one person on this team that has such legitimate trade value that you can fleece someone who is needy. If you’re going to fiddlefart around (as my Dad would say), you’ll waste the Dirk Window with mediocrity and then where are you at?
Whether you believe you can get in under the Dirk Window or not, you need to have a fire sale. The only way the Dirk Decision affects this is whether you’re trading for maneuverability or for youth. One thing must happen – Josh Howard needs to go. Period. For any little bit of good he does you, a few straight points here during a stretch, a 13-rebound game there, he wastes disproportionately too many possessions each game. Five to ten times a game he will flip the switch. Mavs fans who watch with any critical eye know what I’m talking about. At some point he will get the ball and look at the basket. You can then hear the gears turning. He has made the decision that he will shoot. He waits a second or two, then tries to drive to the basket. If he can (rare), good. However, if not he will still shoot the jump shot, usually falling away. I know it’s coming. The defense knows it’s coming. Hell, everyone in the arena knows it’s coming. Part one of the fire sale. I’ll do another episode on that by itself.
In closing, you’ll note that I didn’t mention Avery at all. I can’t do anything but speculate as far as that’s concerned. I don’t know whether he’s lost the team, or the confidence of the owner. I’m not in the locker room or the front office. However, it’s entirely possible that Avery is a good coach in the wrong situation. If Avery has lost the team, if Cuban feels he can no longer work with the man (since Cuban will be here), if the perception of Avery’s offenses has become a hindrance, then that will fall under part two of the 2-step and he should go.
A bit wordy. Sorry. I’m just trying to hit the ground running.