Week of December 31st – January 5th (Includes games vs. Tulsa – 1/1, vs. New Mexico – 1/2)
Change was the theme of the week for the Texas Legends. The injury bug bit the Dallas Mavericks hard this week, and reverberations from those injuries were felt all the way up Dallas North Tollway on into Frisco. With Caron Butler undergoing season-ending knee surgery, the Mavs called Dominique Jones back up to the big leagues as he joined the team in Cleveland after his game with the Legends against Tulsa. That's the life of a D-League team though, as one of your best players can be gone in an instant. Despite the adversity, the games don't stop.
Perhaps the Legends were bothered by the change as they lost both games this week to the Tulsa 66ers (94-99) and the New Mexico Thunderbirds (105-114) respectively. Their play was plagued by blowing big leads and terrible turnover differential, as the Legends were -24 collectively. Despite it being solid at times, the defense needs to rediscover the consistency it had last week. Additionally, the NBA can now start signing D-League players to 10-day contracts, so even more doubt hangs over the current roster. You can bet NBA GM's have their eyes on guys like Joe Alexander and Sean Williams. Though, some moves have already been made.
DoJo is gone, but the Farm grows on.
While the "DoJo-PG Project" has concluded in Frisco (for now), there is still plenty to focus on in this week's Down On The Farm Report … from Joe Alexander to the rest … On to the Legends' player evaluations! As always, these stats are weekly averages.
Joe Alexander, F, 23
MPG-44, FG-46%, FT-75%, 3FG- 0-2, PPG-23.0, RPG-14.0, APG-3.0, SPG-0.5, BPG-3.0, Total TO-14:
Joe Alexander became the hottest name on the Legend's roster in regards to NBA call-ups once the Mavs called upon DoJo. He's been on the GATORADE Call-Up list all season, but it is even more of a possibility now that NBA teams are eligible to sign players to 10-day contracts.
The biggest compliment we can give Joe is the same thing we have been saying all year. His decision making of whether to be aggressive to the basket or to make a move for an outside shot has vastly improved. Joe could have been described as a player who "wants to drive and dunk it every time," but those days are over. His now diverse offensive game keeps defenders off balance and makes it possible for him to be focal point of a D-League level team. He had too many turnovers this week for our liking, but that hasn't been the case overall this season. Joe's situation should be even more interesting to local readers, as a certain NBA team a few miles south of Frisco is suddenly in need of a SF/PF type. Obviously this is just our thinking out loud and in no way reflects the thoughts of anyone associated with the Mavs, but the pieces certainly do fit.
The only question left to answer about Joe is whether or not the headband that he recently started wearing gives him extra powers? Discuss amongst yourselves.
Well, there is one other question: With Dallas releasing end-of-bencher Steve Novak before the Jan. 10 deadline that would've made his contract guaranteed, the Mavs have an open spot. Hmmm.
Dominique Jones, G, 15
MPG-46, FG-50%, FT-100%, 3FG- 1-3, PPG-20.0, RPG-6.0, APG-9.0, SPG-1.0, BPG-1.0, Total TO-3:
Dominique played only one game with the Legends this week before he was called back to help the Mavs. He played confidently against the Tulsa 66ers on the 1st and carried that over against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 2nd. Against Tulsa, Tweety Carter and Jerome Dyson absolutely could not stay with Dominique as he displayed his aggressiveness to the basket and improved ability to help run a team in full force. He showed tremendous growth in his approach to the game while he was in Frisco, and it will serve him well while he's with those veterans in Dallas. Mavs fans everywhere can thank Nancy Lieberman and her coaching staff for the hard work they put in with DoJo in order for him to progress adequately. Although it would be nice to see him play up close a few more times in Frisco, we hope he stays gone because that presumably means he is playing well. Great job rookie, and good luck.
Sean Williams, F/C, 12
MPG-45, FG-72%, FT-60%, 3FG- N/A, PPG-21.0, RPG-9.0, APG-2.5, SPG-0.0, BPG-3.5, Total TO-8:
Sean had a nice challenge this week against Tulsa, as he had an NBA-level matchup at center with Cole Aldrich. As expected (by us), Sean decidedly won with 16 and 7 vs. Aldrich's 6 and 8. His developing midrange shot, though not yet a legit weapon, is an underrated part of his game. It may be tough to transfer over to the NBA, but he is definitely creating some offense for himself rather than just getting hustle points. His energy and defensive plays remind us of (I apologize profusely for this) Chris "Birdman" Andersen in Denver. To be clear, he reminds us of the good things that Birdman does, not the cuckoo, irritating, tattooed-up-to-the-neck things.
Justin Dentmon, G, 4
MPG-42, FG-54%, FT-62%, 3FG- 4-5, PPG-20.0, RPG-5.0, APG-3.5, SPG-1.0, BPG-0.0, Total TO-3:
In the past month, the Legends have seen Antonio Daniels, Rashad McCants, and Dominique Jones all come and go. That leaves Justin Dentmon as the most dynamic guard on the roster. Everyone knows he has quickness for days, which he displayed in his amazing week highlighted by consistent drives to the basket and hounding defense on "water bug" type guards. With his ability to get to any point on the floor whenever he wants, it's time for the DentMAN to take the next step in his development. If he can perfect his mid-range jumpshot that is set up by his dribble penetration, as well as become more of a facilitator, then Justin can become a useful player for NBA teams. Can he be the go-to guy in the final minutes? Can he learn the nuances of the game that include knowing when to score and when to pass? Time will tell because right now this is Justin's team to run and therefore, his time to step up.
Booker Woodfox, G, 11
MPG-25, FG-32%, FT-100%, 3FG- 3-11, PPG-12.0, RPG-0.5, APG-2.5, SPG-0.0, BPG-0.0, Total TO-5:
Booker is the ultimate spark off the bench… when he is making his threes. He struggles a bit when trying to be a playmaker, which amplifies his value to the team as a shot-maker. If he is shot-taking and not shot-making, then Coach Lieberman has a problem on her hands while he is in the game. The man can stop on a dime and has ridiculous hops, but he needs to get out of this recent shooting funk in order to better help the team. My money says he will soon and look out when he does.
Kelvin Lewis, G, 22
MPG-26, FG-50%, FT-50%, 3FG- 2-4, PPG-7.0, RPG-2.0, APG-1.5, SPG-0.5, BPG-0.0, Total TO-4:
With the number of guards on the roster diminishing, Kelvin saw an increased role this week. It showed as his averages in assists and rebounds were both up. Notably, he continued to mix up his game as he drove to the basket on a more consistent basis rather than being strictly a perimeter-based guard. It's good to see him aggressively trying to fix parts of his game that he knows needs work.
Pierce Caldwell, G, 17
MPG-10, FG-50%, FT-100%, 3FG- 1-3, PPG-3.5, RPG-1.5, APG-1.5, SPG-0.5, BPG-0.0, Total TO-1:
The former Heartland Conference great saw his most minutes as a Legend this week. It wasn't a tremendous workload, but Pierce has the speed to push the ball, and there's no doubt he has a quality shot. You can see his confidence increase with every minute he plays. He also seems to have a good rapport with Booker off the bench and gets him the ball in the spots Booker wants it.
Keith Clark, F, 33
MPG-11, FG-50%, FT-N/A, 3FG- N/A, PPG-3.0, RPG-4.5, APG-0.0, SPG-0.0, BPG-0.0, Total TO-0:
Not too much action for Keith, but it should be noted that this week marked the first time he played in a game since November 27th. It's great to see him back and healthy.
This week's MVP: In a change of pace, Justin Dentmon wins the Texas Legends MVP of the week and goes home with the hardware. The Committee had no problem voting unanimously in his favor after he averaged 20 points per game and shot 54% from the field. Congrats Justin and remember to take the reins of the Legends right now because it's your time. Go Legends and Go Mavs!
Texas Legends Quote of the Week:
"If Joe Alexander is going to make shots from outside like he did tonight, that's the only thing he's missing. If he gets to where he's making 15 to 20 foot shots on a reasonably consistent basis, then he's gone." – Del Harris, Texas Legends General Manager/Former NBA Everything/Overall Great Guy
Upcoming Texas Legends Games (Home Games in Bold):
Friday, Jan 7 vs. Springfield Armor – 7:00 pm CT
Saturday, Jan 8 vs. Tulsa 66ers – 7:00 pm CT
Monday, Jan 10 @ New Mexico Thunderbirds – 4:30 pm CT (South Padre Island Convention Centre, South Padre Island, TX)
Thursday, Jan 13 vs. Iowa Energy – 4:30 pm CT (South Padre Island Convention Centre, South Padre Island, TX)