We could sit here and talk all day about the Mavs, I know. I’d rather not – it gives me tired-head. Besides, I’d rather focus my mental and emotional attention on the Metroplex sports team that is kicking @ss right now.
But I do feel that I have to say something – an epitaph if you will. As disappointing as it was to watch people like Josh and Stack, Kidd and even Dirk screw up, it was also revealing. Would anyone dispute the fact that this team was not playing to its potential? Now, I don’t know if its maximum potential as currently constructed is second-round, third-round or simply seven games against the Hornets. But the point is – the team underperformed.
The Mavs are in poor position as far as contracts and cap room vs. needs ifthe players on the team currently continue to play as they have recently. They seem to have a couple options, but one is not so great. Let’s liken it to a farm that is under-producing. Option one is to sell the farm for a few magic beans and hope to God that they sprout a wonderful beanstalk. I shudder to think about that one. Option two is to fire the farm’s agricultural manager and insert someone who will change the philosophy from the top-down.
And a few magic beans is about what they’d get right now if they tried the former. Can’t trade some of these guys like Damp who have ugly contracts and little trade value in general. Others who might be tradeable such as JET can generally be found around. It’s not as if a team’s going to pay a premium for a guy that isn’t thatgood. You wouldn’t get value. Josh is straight-up damaged goods right now, although I think you have to try to get rid of him and cut deadweight. But that’s only a couple of beans there. I wonder if you could get DJ Moosebenga for Dampier straight up? Probably not…
But there’s no need to mortgage the farm. We can argue up and down about whether the Mavs got lucky in ’06, whether they were ever even that good. But one thing’s for sure. They went to seven against a tough Spurs team, whether or not they were fortunate to win. That’s way better than ’07 or ’08. Devin Harris wasn’t that much of a difference. This team can do better overall. It just needs a plan.
The one area where they may be hamstrung is defense. That might be a personnel issue. After all, Avery Johnson is the “defensive coach”, and he’s gotten them just past atrocious. So if the defense is FUBARed, you’ve got to do something else. What about reviving this stagnant offense that killed us in long stretches against CP3&Co? If they had scored simply when the Hornets went cold for a bit, they would have had much more competitive games. I know one guy who’s going to be available very soon that might help you do that, and you know him too.
You bring in MD (he who shall not be named) and the offense may actually start to resemble something workable. The defense may slide, but hell, there’s not that far to slide anyway. Get a good defensive-minded assistant to help with that. Cut deadweight, change the philosophy. Oh, and one more thing…
Mark – Get up even more over the luxury tax. Cuban needs to be prepared to spend more of that stomach-wrenching, hard-to-justify dollar for dollar. I believe you can get Cory Maggette for example out there on the free agent market if he excercises his player option, though you may have to pay twice as much as a team under the cap – half to CM half to David Stern. Put him together with the new head man, a reinvigorated Dirk, a training-camp readied Kidd and a Josh Howard-less roster, and who knows? I know, easy for me to tell Mark how to spend his money. Fine, I’ll make a financial argument.
Mark, you’re in severe danger this year of being relegated in the Dallas Fan Nation League. You know that will affect your bottom line.
The worst-case scenario for the Mavs is shaping up in the very same building. A very-realistic possibility of a four-inch headline screaming: “STARS WIN THE CUP“. The notoriously fairweather average Dallas sports fan is hurt by the Mavs right now, and they may out of boredom or curiosity go ahead and transition over to the relatively-unfamiliar Stars’ run. That spells trouble, because most uninitiated who watch playoff hockey will find it extremely exciting, especially when the home team’s winning. Then they get promoted and you get relegated.
Laugh, will you? I ask you, Dallas sports fan, is it so silly? There was a time not that long ago that the Mavs were a laughingstock. There was a time in which they were fourth-division in the DFNL. You remember those days, don’t you? Days when the Rangers wore red and won divisions? Days when the Starts were fresh and new and had the attention, then won a cup in ’99? Days when the Cowboys were still the Cowboys, still sweeping up the confetti from recent Super Bowl parties?
What happened a decade later by the time 2006 rolled around? The Mavs were an easy second-division, and if they had won the title, they may have competed against the juggernaut Cows for the Premiership. It can happen, and if the Mavs don’t right the ship, it might again.