What is a "spacer''? It's Andy Richter on "Conan'' once the guests show up: Occupy a spot on the couch. Spread things out. Make the room look full over yonder while clearing a path for the star to do his thing.
Dirk Nowitzki is Conan – but with a sprained knee. So DeShawn Stevenson – normally a Richter at best – is suddenly being asked to score 18 points in a game.
"And that's without them calling any plays for me,'' DeShawn tells DB.com with a laugh. "Usually, we're calling plays for the 3 because it's (Caron). And then usually it's Dirk, too. But we're having to find ways to be a little more creative now.''
I asked DeShawn whether part of the problem with the offense going forward – even when Nowitzki does return, tonight for the home game with the Thunder or whenever – is that the starting lineup might feature too many guys who have made their offensive bacon by being weakside spot-up 3-point shooters.
"You mean having me and Kidd on the floor together? Yeah, that's a little different,'' Stevenson conceded. "There are other advantages to it, like on defense. But on offense, yeah, it means Kidd's got to be more aggressive as a shooter, which I think you can see. And if I'm at the 3, especially, it means I can't just be a facilitator and a spacer. Sometimes, I'm going to actually have to do something with the ball.''
Coach Rick Carlisle says Stevenson has been impressive when he puts the ball on the floor. We already knew he was a defensive ace, and we already knew he was a low turnover guy. This year we've discovered his one-of-the-best-in-the-NBA 3-point skills.
And now? He's not a Conan. But he's no longer a Richter, either.
The Mavs aren't protesting, exactly, when pushed on the idea that they will eventually make a trade to fortify themselves after the loss of Caron Butler to season-ending knee injury.
And how can they? In two of the last three Februarys, Dallas has engineered a blockbuster that garnered headlines … and that was designed to overcome the Spurs in the Southwest and the Lakers in the West.
More of the same? Here, we detail some other thoughts along with Dallas' available assets.
Additionally, coming up in Mavs Premium Insider, our David Lord will break down some additional matches that make sense.
Many of these thoughts originate from the Dallas front office itself … and in the case of somebody like Stephen Jackson, the mutual interest goes all the way back to two summers ago, when Nellie (who had tired of Capt. Jack's act in Golden State) whispered to The 75-Member Staff about his desire to move him to Dallas … And heck, the Mavs and Jackson himself pondered the same possibility.
DONUT 3: One caution here, though, now that the emotionally erratic Jackson has apparently worn out his welcome in yet another city, this time Charlotte: His skills are a Mavs fit, a tough-guy defender with length who is also explosive offensive.
But he is also "explosive'' as a personality.
Mavs followers joke about this team of good guys needing to "thug it up.'' Somebody like Capt. Jack would surely do that. He would bring an "enforcer'' mentality to the floor … so Dirk would have himself a bodyguard.
I think Stevenson, though, might already fill that particular need – while also being a part of Dallas' "Chemistry Vibe.''
Remember what Carlisle said the other day about Stevenson:
"All our guys love him,'' the coach said. "And he stands for what we need to be about right now.''
Remember what Carlisle's said since camp:
"This is the best group of guys we've every had in terms of the locker room.''
You be careful there, tinkerers.
DONUT 4: Thank you for spending the time you do with DallasBasketball.com. Your loyalty and faith in what we do is appreciated. We are inviting you to try out the Mavs Premium Insider package , which you can sample for a short time, or sign on for a year for just $3.33 monthy ... We hope you'll support what we've done here since 1999, and that you'll support the site with your contributions there, where you will get 24-hour-a-day inside coverage and analysis of your Mavs ... But know, too, that we appreciate your readership here at whatever level you choose ... and I personally thank you for the trust you've placed in me and the fun times we've had -- and will continue to have -- on DallasBasketball.com!
DONUT 5: Did I not make a big-enough deal of Cuban calling Phil Jackson a "boy toy''?
I guess not, now that it's on all the TV stations and all.
To re-set: Mavs owner Mark Cuban returned serve on Phil Jackson's innocuous comments on how much Dallas would miss Caron by referring to the Lakers
coach as Jeannie Buss' "Boy Toy.''
"I love that Jeanie Buss' boy toy had something to say about us,'' Cuban said before the Mavs' 84-81 win over Portland on Tuesday. "I don't know if it was his thought or Jeanie's thought, but it's nice to know she lets him speak in public about other teams.''
Jeanie Buss is the daughter of Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss and is a member of the Lakers staff. She dates Jackson.
What did Jackson originally say?
"He just leaves a vacuum that's going to be very hard for them to fill," Jackson told the Los Angeles Times in reference to Butler, who is now out for the season following knee surgery.
Maybe I've just heard it all. Because I don't remember overreacting a few weeks ago when Cuban jokingly called the Nets owner a "p----,'' either.
DONUT 6: In fact, now that I think of it … Cuban called Phil Jackson a "bucket boy'' a few years ago, sending all us middle-aged white reporters to our Urban Dictionary to discover that "bucket boy'' either means some sort of wayward street lad or someone involved in a con.
Why, why, why, Mark?
Because the Lakers play at Dallas on Jan. 19, Fish!
DONUT 7: Trade note: D-Lord is crunching the DB.com numbers and – once he gets done dreaming about ‘Melo and the like – he keeps coming up with much, much smaller ideas … ideas that fit into the TE-sized hole.
To which I say this: A little piece here and a little piece there can be helpful. Hey, Eddie Najera late last year was a little piece, and what minor successes Dallas had against San Antonio in the playoffs, "El Rayo'' was a part of those.
However … Dallas' roster is already full of little pieces. Good. But little.
DONUT 8: Hey, can't the leadership skills of KIDDIRK offset any level of knuckleheadedness that might infiltrate the locker room?
a) That's an awful lot of burden to load on those fellas' shoulders. Aren't they carrying a big enough load already?
b) Didn't KIDDIRK already try and fail to keep Josh Howard in line?
I mean, they are leaders of a basketball team. They ain't Patton.
DONUT 9: I'm officially calling B.S. on the Rockets continuing suggestions that they are not shopping Kevin Martin and others.
Houston planned to be a 50-win team. The Rockets are 16-19.
They can make the semantic argument, if they wish, that they are not "shopping.'' Fine. They are not visiting the grocery store while rolling a cart. They ARE the grocery store, simply standing behind the cash register.
Either way. Same thing. And that goes for Kevin Martin and the rest of the fellas.
DONUT 10: No matter how much I might like Omri Casspi of the Kings – and no matter if the Mavs even like him a little bit – none of us are
every going to like Omri Casspi as much as Steiny-Mo likes Omri Casspi!
DONUT 11:Three great ways to stay in touch with what the heck is going on around here: DB.com Boards, DB.com Mavs coverage on Twitter, and Friending Fish on Facebook. Come say hi. I seem nice.
DONUT 12: Thanks, Knicks. Thanks, Celtics. Thanks, Spurs defense, for allowing 55-percent shooting and 61-percent shooting on back-to-back nights!