12 Fake-Smart Mavs Prediction Donuts
DONUT 1: How will Al Jefferson fit in to the Dallas Mavericks?
When: Last June, Early July-ish
Explanation: One of the first smoke-fire trade rumors that sprang up around The DUST Chip was swinging Damp to Minnesota for C/F Al Jefferson. Despite his defensive shortcomings that would've caused massive issues when paired with Dirk, it was impossible not to think about how an elite low post scoring option would've complemented the Maverick offense. Instead, the Mavs decided they didn't want to take on his killer contract that would've doubled in cost with the team being over the luxury tax line and swung Damp for Tyson Chandler from the Charlotte Bobcats instead. You know how that story ends.
DONUT 2: Roddy B and Caron Butler will have big roles this year if this team is going to make a serious run at a championship.
When: All summer and all season basically up until Peja was signed and showed high value
Explanation: After his legendary-at-the-time performance in the elimination game against the Spurs in the 2010 playoffs (how long ago does that feel?), Roddy B seemed like he was going to turn into the second option that Dirk needed and the Mavs had to capitalize on that. I liked what I saw with Caron, but I thought he needed to find more efficiency in his game in order to fully fit next to Dirk. Those were the plans. Then Roddy broke his foot and lost confidence after his return, and his sophomore year went to waste. Then Caron went up for a rebound, grabbed his knee, and before you knew it his season was over. And the Mavs' season ended with them right? Well, Sort of. The season did eventually end, just with a championship trophy in June.
Result: I couldn't have been more wrong. JJ stepped up into the role we expected Roddy to take, Jet shut us all up with his playoff performances, and Peja F'ing Stojakovic became an important player for this team down the stretch up until the finals. Shame on me for not seeing that coming…
DONUT 3: No one is going to beat the Lakers.
When: Beginning of the year when the Lakers came out like World-beaters and when they started 15-1 after the All Star Break
Explanation: In my defense, there were times this year when the Lakers did look unbeatable and you're lying if you disagree. Andrew Bynum looked like an MVP at times during the regular season, especially against the Mavs. Even by preparing with the length of Chandler, Brendan Haywood, and Dirk, the matchup never looked promising, uh, especially after this.
Result: The Lakers were definitely vulnerable after stumbling into the postseason and through the first round, but no one expected the Mavs to absolutely destroy the 2-time defending champs with a 4-0 sweep. That's exactly what happened though and I have no complaints. Call it "Peja's Revenge."
DONUT 4: It's ridiculous how many good people play, work for, and cover the Mavericks.
When: All day every day
Explanation: This was my first year working for Fish covering the Mavericks and it literally could not have gone any better. Not even mentioning that my favorite team won its' first championship, I met all of the players, coaches, writers, and employees that make up the organization and there wasn't a bummer among them. I couldn't be more grateful to Fish and Mavs PR first lady Sarah Melton for the experience. MDug is okay, too I guess. Great times with even better people. I've gotten so much out of this, and that's not even counting the fact that I have a secret key that gets me swag from the Mavs DB.com Store!
DONUT 5: The Heat will eventually gel, but not this year.
When: The beginning of the year up through their 9-8 start
Explanation: One personal scary thought that I have for the rest of the league is that the Heat exceeded the expectations I had. The moves they made were obviously amazing if you're a fan of them, but I thought it would take more time for them to gel together and reach their full potential.
Result: To make a long story short, it didn't matter. They never fully gelled, but I underestimated all of that talent. With hardly an ounce of teamwork, they brought their talents all the way to the finals. If they avoid the mistake of breaking up the big three they signed last summer and let them build some real continuity, the sum of all NBA fears may be realized… soon.
Result: Talent means everything until it runs into a team that knows how to use it against you.
DONUT 6: Man, I can't believe Kobe made that three against the Kings. The Mavs needed the Hornets in the first round and home court advantage against the Lakers.
When: On the last day of the season when the Kings and Lakers met with seeding up for grabs
Explanation: I thought the Mavs would beat the Blazers, but at that point the Hornets were the team everyone wanted to see in the first round of the Western Conference (Just ahead of the Mavericks, it would seem). Also, if you're planning on meeting the defending champs in the playoffs, you always want every advantage you can get. Kobe had other plans as he hit a three at the end of the game to send it to overtime where the Lakers pulled away. From that moment on, you could argue that just about everything went the Mavericks way.
Result: I'm glad Kobe got it out of his system, because it was the exact same shot that he missed at the end of Game 1 against the Mavericks. For Dallas, the first round opponent was irrelevant and any form of the Lakers definitely didn't matter.
DONUT 7: Dude, LeBron James is a jerk.
When: From the infamous Decision probably until forever
Explanation: When LeBron played was on the Cavs I had no reason to dislike him and actually enjoyed seeing him succeed in Cleveland, an underrated sports town. I didn't even blame him for taking his time to decide where he would go during his free agency. Sure, he made it dramatic, but it's a big choice that was to greatly affect his life. Then he announced he would make his ‘decision' during a live 1-hour television special and I became skeptical. Then, LeBron rang Cleveland's doorbell and left a flaming bag of dog crap on the doorstep that the Cavs stomped out with their boots. He was free to go wherever he wanted, but the process in which he did it was wrong and effectively turned me against him.
Result: Even though he'll eventually get his, it was more than satisfying to see our Mavs make such a fool out of him. The bad guys lost and the good guys won. The end.
DONUT 8: Jason Terry will call out LeBron James in the national media during the NBA Finals and then proceed to dominate the matchup.
Explanation: In my wildest dreams, there is not a chance in hell I would have predicted this. Result: Jet did exactly that. Time after time, Jet took it to the rack and made big shots during crunch time while James guarded him. Jet is a talker, but his mouth wrote its' biggest check during the finals and cashed it at the most crucial time. Oh, and he took the money out of LeBron James' bank account.
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DONUT 10: Caron Butler's injury is devastating, but it will be much easier to replace him than any other starter.
When: After I fought off tears when Caron went down
Explanation: Considering Jet as the starting shooting guard due to his heavy minutes, an injury to him, Jason Kidd, Dirk, or Tyson would have altered the season even more than Caron. There was no chance their backup could have replaced the production they provided, but Shawn Marion had the best chance to do that at small forward.
Result: Hey, I got one right for once. Although, I didn't predict Marion would do such an unbelievable job. He was a post up scorer, defensive ace, and slasher while playing two positions. Even though it was due to injury, without the increase in minutes for Marion, this year might have ended differently.
DONUT 11: What did Dirk add to his repertoire this offseason?
When: The beginning of every year
Explanation: Even though he's now well into his 30's, it's well documented that Dirk still adds to his offensive tool chest every offseason. With the now famous Holger in tow, Dirk makes it his duty to add something each year.
Result: The lefty hook. He debuted it one time during the preseason and made it. I may be mistaken, but I don't remember seeing it any other times during the regular season. So when should Dirk rely on his new shot? Down the stretch in Game 3 against LA while taking the Lakers' best shot, obviously. After driving to the post and running out of options, Dirk dropped in a beautiful left handed hook shot over Pau Gasol to help seal the game and effectively the series. The German never fails to disappoint those who watch for his continued development.
DONUT 12: Saying that I cover the Dallas Mavericks for Fox Sports and DB.com should be an awesome pickup line.
When: After Fish got me my media pass
Explanation: Ladies notice stuff like that, right?
DONUT 13: The Mavs are seriously gonna win this championship.
When: Baseline jumpshot by Dirk to put the Mavs up 10 with 2:27 left in Game 6 in Miami. Explanation: Even as someone who is always confident in the Mavs (maybe irrationally at times over the years), I just refused to believe it until it was a done deal. I broke my own rule, though. Despite the time left, after that Dirk jumper over Bosh and I saw everyone's face, for me, it was over.
Result: It got pretty dusty for a minute in my living room and the 2011 Dallas Mavericks delivered the first championship to the DFW area in over 12 years. Whether it matters or not, Dirk cemented his legacy to all who ever questioned him and the Mavs have something that can never be taken away from them.
I sure am wrong about a lot of things, but if I'm only right about this one Donut, I'm cool with it.
Take. Dat. Wit. Chew.