As A Mavs Fan, Must I Be A Pessimist? Donuts

Must I be a pessimist about the Mavs? About the Mavs at the Nets tonight? Can I be excited to see Our Fish and Ro Blackman and Bob-O and Mark Followill and have fun with my Saturday night? Can I?

DONUT 1: I checked my biographical data on Marv Albert. Ole Marv was the voice of the New York Knicks for decades. Born and raised in Brooklyn. Not a word about Chicago. Puzzling...because Thursday night I could have sworn I was listening to the home team's paid talent doing the television play-by-play on TNT for the Mavericks-Bulls game.


Uh, guys? That's a picture of Fat Albert. Sorry about the mistake, folks. Oh, and speaking of mistakes, I've just been informed that the TNT guy that night wasn't Marv at all, but Kevin Harlan. Sorry about that mistake, too!

DONUT 2: What surprised me more than Kevin's... uh ... "enthusiasm" is that I've seen no mention of it on Boards. If you want to tell me it wasn't eye-poppingly blatant, subscribe to for 10 cents a day and you can take me out to the Premium Wood Shed.

Be gentle.

DONUT 3: You don't have to look up anything about Reggie Miller. He's a jock. It's painfully obvious. Someone must have told him that "into the teeth of the defense" is a good descriptive phrase. He obediently flogged it to death whenever Derrick Rose had the basketball. I love me some Derrick Rose, but he ate at least three of his own shots. Rarely has an NBA television analyst had so little to say.

As we say in Texas, "Bless his heart."

DONUT 4: Last week I wept and assumed the fetal position in my pain over criticism that I put too much football stuff in these donuts.

OK, no, I didn't. I made two Donuts on the Jets/Patriots game. You know, the game that 40 TRILLION people watched! When it's big time stuff you don't ignore it.

More football donuts … WOO-HOO! Last week we learned that Rex Ryan implemented a game plan so radical that at least one veteran Jet admitted he'd never seen anything like it. I predicted a Patriots victory and was blissfully wrong. The best part of Rex Ryan having to follow his own act is that he's playing a Pittsburgh team that he has no way of beating. Not that defense. Not that quarterback. 50 TRILLION people will watch it.

And the Jets will win.


Um, that's a photo of ROB Ryan, not REX Ryan. I know they're twin brothers, but really, be more careful.

DONUT 5: November 30, 2007. Dallas Cowboys hosted the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre separated his shoulder in the second quarter. The 'Boys led 27-10. Didn't look good for the Packers. Fast-forward to 5:03 left in the game. Packers kick a field goal and suddenly they're only a touchdown away from tying the game.

What happened in between? Aaron Rogers happened. The Cowboys had no idea who he was. I remember it as one of those moments when adversity breeds opportunity. I've kept an eye on Rogers since then – if you are a football fan, you've probably used the same eye -- and he hasn't disappointed. He only played in five games until then, and from that point -- his third year in the league -- he averaged over 100 in the NFL's quarterback rating system.

Aaron Rogers is the new Drew Brees.


A photo of MISTER Rogers? C'mon, guys, it isn't funny! I'm trying to work, here.

DONUT 6: Back to basketball. Thursday night against the Bulls: 30-something seconds left and the Mavericks are throwing around dumb passes. Box score says the Mavericks committed 14 turnovers. It felt more like 114. Really sloppy play all night long. Jason Kidd turned it over six times.

"He can do that."

I've rarely watched such an exhibition of offensive futility. Take a look at the < A HREF=""> Mavs-Bulls Quoteboard. They are saying different things than I saw. What I saw was a Mavs team that did not take the game to the Bulls the way they took it to the Lakers. It was one ugly pig.

DONUT 7: You're at the race track. My horse is 2-1 to win the race. Fisher's is 5-1. Fisher's pony has a bigger payout so you bet $50 on it. If you're a pessimist, you also bet $50 on my pony (the favorite). You guarantee the loss of at least one of those bets. At worst you break even if either horse wins. You hedge your bets.

This happens on the Boards. It's nothing new. Proclamations of gloom and doom. Most people are pretty upbeat about their team. Only a small number of fans are habitually pessimistic, but it's an interesting phenomenon.

Let's see a few Dallas Mavericks hedges:

DONUT 8: "Jason Kidd is too old."

On March 23, Kidd will turn 38 years old. The consensus is that youth prevails, and a point guard who is over, say, 32 cannot compete effectively in the NBA. Never mind the fact that Kidd races downcourt with the ball after every rebound and everyone else has trouble keeping up with him. Never mind that he rarely if ever is injured and can play more than 30 effective minutes every game. Or that he will guard the other team's best player at crucial points in a game. Look at his intelligence, strength, stamina, defense. His hands are amazingly strong and it's difficult to overestimate the value of that. He still has so many assets that Kobe Bryant freely admits Kidd can play as long as he wants to. If you convince yourself Kidd shouldn't be playing, then no outcome will be a bad surprise.

DONUT 9: "Jason Terry is not a clutch free-throw shooter."

I don't hear this very often, but it's important if you dread a crucial free throw and Dirk is not shooting it. Jason Terry has always been a streaky shooter from the field. He's more consistent lately ... consistently off. When it comes to the free-throw line, however, Jet is a different story. I found a stat compiled from 2003-2006 that Terry shoots only 70% (down 13% from his overall average) in clutch situations. Caveat emptor! I refuse to use the first half of his career to judge the second half. Over the past few years I keep a close eye on Jet at the FT line and he's been remarkably reliable in clutch situations.

Did you notice? Dirk Nowitzki is not on the list. Shaquille O'Neal is way up #12 on that list, being 3% higher in clutch at an astronomical 50%. Oh, well...

DONUT 10: Time out. JJ Barea is not -- I repeat, IS NOT -- one of my pessimist Donuts. (Barea is a scapegoat...but that's a story for later.) Barea is respected by Mavericks opponents. He's smart and aggressive, he plays defense, he penetrates, he's a good passer, a creative scorer, and never takes plays off. (He can't afford to.)

Barea is always Plan B. Especially when he's in there as a first-team-level guy. There's no politically correct position on Plan B. Everyone knows something's wrong if you rely on Steve Blake. I mean, if you rely on Nate Robinson. No, I mean George Hill. Or was it Earl Watson? I've lost track.

DONUT 11: "Without a second player at the level of Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks cannot win a title."

The pessimist views a 24-5 record as overachievement, with inevitable failure on the horizon. He would be ecstatic with a Mavs title. But, by claiming it to be impossible under prevailing conditions, the pessimist invests emotionally in both outcomes. If the Mavericks don't win, the disappointment isn't so bad.


DONUT 12: "It's too late for Dirk to win a title with current management."

This is actually an add-on to the previous hedge. If the Mavs have no depth, the pessimist must guard against the possibility that Mavericks Brain Trust (MBT) will fail to add title-winning depth while Dirk is still effective. This is more of a long-term investment. By taking the early emotional loss in regular dividends, the highs are not too high, (like last December when the Mavericks were pounding the entire league) and the lows are not too low (ahem...last night).

DONUT 13: Is there anything wrong with being a pessimist? Must everything be anticipated to be an ugly pig? I don't know, but I have to wrap this up now. It's time to go home and brace myself … I get Fish, Ro and Ric Renner at 5:30 on FS Southwest and then Bob O and Mark Followill, too … and is there anything wrong with being a pessimist as what I'm bracing myself for is a Dallas Mavericks loss to the New Jersey Nets?

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