Barroom Brawl: Decision Time For Carlisle

Earl K. Sneed of comes to this particular barroom brawl with a well-earned advantage: In the 24 hours before we bellied up to the bar, he'd conducted one-on-one interviews with Jason Terry, Dominique Jones and Rick Carlisle. With Mavs camp approaching, let's argue our way through a dozen personnel-related Friday Morning Mavs Donuts:

DONUT 1: My position is that, "ideally,'' Dallas would be able to roll out Brendan Haywood, Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler, Roddy Beaubois and Jason Kidd. A starting five!

That would put everything in a nice, neat package (and I like nice, neat packages) … but there are problems there … and there is nuance there, as EKS points out:

"Fish, I'm inclined to agree,'' Sneed says. "But The Matrix, Jet and Tyson Chandler might disagree.''

DONUT 2: So what are the chances of a set quintet?

One powerful voice isn't as ready as I am to etch something into stone.

"(Mavs coach Rick) Carlisle said in our interview earlier this week that he isn't sold on one starting lineup,'' Earl reports.

DONUT 3: One of the reasons I'm committed to the idea of Roddy Beaubois as a "difference-maker'' this season is that … well, he represents this year's rotation's greatest opportunity to be "different'' than last year's rotation.

Dallas was a 55-game winner a season ago and a second-seed in the West. Impressive enough … but as the Mavs aspire to more … who else but Roddy B?

DONUT 4: Earl, however, thinks I'm putting too much on the kid.

"Roddy played great alongside J-Kidd,'' EKS says, "but I think that may stunt his growth as a PG if he starts at the SG.''

Fine. But I can't be pulled away from the idea that Dallas needs scoring at the 2, needs backup help for Jason Kidd at the 1 (Earl and I agree that Carlisle wants to keep Jason's regular-season minutes in the 30 range) and needs development from Roddy B … now.

There will be other summers and other camps in which to experiment with Roddy B. I believe he should be primed to help these Mavs win now … and that next year, he can be re-primed to help those Mavs win then.

DONUT 5: In what I find to be a weird twist in the backcourt, some at Mavs HQ are continuing to preach patience with Roddy B while at the same time closing in on predicting that rookie Dominique Jones is ready … now. Th

is is Earl's position: Rick Carlisle is working with DoJo now … so he can be ready now. … and Carlisle seems confident about the plan.

"Carlisle is working with him every day, working on that shot … and DoJo can (already) get to the basket whenever he wants,'' Earl says. "He will be on the court.''

DONUT 6: A year ago, after a few days of training camp, I pronounced myself a Roddy B believer. I look forward to doing the same with DoJo.

But for now, this is my position:

I understand why the organization prefers to keep the Roddy B Bar of Expectations low; it'll be that much easier for him to clear the bar … and then it'll all be judged a success!

But I believe that the lowest bar should be reserved for a guy who, unlike Roddy B, has never played an NBA game. If DoJo is ready – if DoJo is a guy also in position to be that "difference-maker'' – fine by me. I don't care who it is. I'm encouraged by the news that Rick is "coaching ‘em up'' … but I saw how Carlisle hesitated to allow a rookie to unhand the clipboard last year (so frustratingly in that Spurs series) and until I see it with my own eyes, I'm going to assume that DoJo is being fitted for a clipboard, too.

Last word on this, though, goes to EKS: "Roddy B was a kid coming here from a league in France. DoJo was a three-year star at South Florida in the Big East. He led the team in scoring all three years. He is ready to play...NOW!

DONUT 7: Jason Terry's contractual situation was broken down by's David Lord months ago … yet it is somehow taking some in MavsLand by storm just today (pay attention in class, kids!) … So let's do this again:

If Jet plays fewer than 1,500 minutes this season, the final year of his contract (2011-12) slides from a guaranteed $11.4 million down to just a guaranteed of $5 million. It becomes "Stack Chip-‘'-like … easily trade-able, an attractive giveaway, beneficial to all. …

Except, of course, Jason Terry himself.

Those are the contractual facts. Now what shall we do with them?

DONUT 8: I'm not predicting sub-1,500 minutes. I'm not even advocating it. I'm just saying that Dallas created this contract years ago for a reason … and at age 33, maybe Terry's performance is starting to reveal that reason.

In any event, let's not pretend that it's not an issue.

DONUT 9: Earl vehemently disagrees – at least with the negative angle.

"He's working out every morning, 7 a.m.,''Earl says. "Jet is the No. 2 or No. 3 scorer on the team; he'll see BIG minutes. Jet is very motivated this year, and it's because of that contract.''

DONUT 10: We mention about the starting-five idea. I'm assuming our man Shawn Marion has a completely different idea of who should start. And good for him. At, we have in recent months made a great case for The Matrix as a key backup and even as Dirk's backup at the 4.

And Earl K. Sneed and I come together on this one.

"Shawn Marion, the best perimeter defender, should be on the court, and I think if Marion and Chandler are on the second unit then your bench will be strong defensively,'' says Earl.

DONUT 11: Earl believes Caron Butler will score 20 points per game this year and will be the team's second-leading scorer. Me? Show me. I saw the 35 and the 25 against San Antonio. But I also saw Carlisle dislike something enough to bench "Tuff Juice.''

Show me. … Or, infinitely more importantly, show Coach.

DONUT 12: As to the first-leading scorer? Earl K. Sneed and I didn't even debate that one. But we might have to get to this idea of Dirk Nowitzki playing fewer minutes and scoring fewer points … next time we belly up to the bar.

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