Are The Mavs On A 'Quixotic' Search?

The ESPN piece calls for the author to distinguish between offseason 'winners' and 'losers.' given the Mavs' summer of upgrades, the author rightly credits them as winners. Ah, but this is a place where 'winner' and 'Mavs' cannot be seen together in a sentence without an escort. So 'loser' and 'Quixotic' are inserted, which is where I must intercept the fake-deepness:

Leave it to ESPN's John Trollinger to almost concede that the Dallas Mavericks are "offseason winners'' before pulling his fake-deep rug out from under your feet.

Trollinger writes, "In the small picture, they were big winners: The Mavs got O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman and Delonte West on low-risk deals, picked up Elton Brand cheaply via an amnesty auction, and somehow parlayed Ian Mahinmi into Darren Collison. Fine moves. ...''

There is nothing wrong about this collection of assertions. The Mavs assembled talent that makes this team seem superior to last year's team. And in doing so, Dallas also arranged for the aforementioned players to be expirings at the end of this season, thus keeping alive "Plan Powder'' with Dirk Nowitzki as the centerpiece prepared to hand over responsibility to a hoped-for heir.

So ... "yay!'' Right?

Wrong. Remember which "unbiased and scientific analyst'' we're dealing with here.

Trollinger continues, "In the big picture, however, they lost: Williams and Nash spurned them, so the Mavs are again killing time -- and another season of Dirk Nowitzki's prime -- while trying to lure another star to play with him. It's a nice, deep team, but it's hard to call it a championship roster. Dallas took a rain-check on its title defense and opted to let Tyson Chandler go, partly because it thought it could do better by luring Howard or another star. So far the Mavs have come up empty ... in this quixotic pursuit ... they're burning up some of the last good seasons of the star they do have while they wait.''
There's a lotta horsespit in there. Let's take it wrong-headed assertion by wrong-headed assertion.

*"Killing time'' is brutally unfair. A season in which Dallas announced its intentions to give DoJo an 82-game tryout at point guard would be fairly characterized as "killing time.''

*"Took a rain-check'' is nauseatingly untrue. It is tied, of course, to Debate Immortal, the TY Question. And here's Trollinger's answer, posed by me in the form of a question:

Had the Mavs kept TY -- if TY was on this Dallas team this year -- would Trollinger favor this team to be better than Miami and OKC?

We already know the answer to this. You may think it would be a contender, that it would've topped OKC in Round 1 last spring. But we know Trollinger would not have bet on those outcomes. Therefore ... if keeping TY wouldn't mean a title (in John's assumed thinking) ... how is not keeping him a "rain-check''?

*"Quixotic'' isn't even close to the proper usage of the "tilting-at-windmills'' word. And this is where the anti-Mavs bias of the writer comes into play, for he has not used the same word to explain the pursuits of his two favorite teams, Portland and Atlanta.

What does "Quixotic'' mean?

Based, of course, on the Don Quixote character in Cervantes' iconic book, the word is now used to describe a person that does not distinguish between reality and fantasy.

So tell me: How is the Mavs' relationship with a championship, its pursuits, and the pursuits of more players who can achieve a championship, a "fantasy''?

This anti-Mavs mindset insists that the club is oddly chasing "dreams'' when in fact it is chasing the same dream as 29 other NBA clubs are (or should be). If Dallas' dream is "Quixotic,'' that means the Knicks' dream and the Cavs' dream and the Blazers' dream and the Hawks' dream is as well, right?

The Mavs are not tilting at windmills. They are gathering assets. "Asset Management,'' we call it. It is not a falling short of their "wildest dreams" to be better than they were last season, or to be in position to be better still in 2013. It is the point of competing. It is the essence of professional being.

Dirk was not a fantasy. He was and is real. Deron was not a fantasy. The Mavs finished second among his 30 suitors. Dwight is not a fantasy. The Mavs are among the best-positioned franchises to win his services.

Of course, if you are anti-Mavs, and you watch sometime in the future as Dallas is unable to acquire Dwight Howard, you will inevitably write that "the Mavs lost Dwight.'' Trollinger does so above, mentioning that the Mavs "lost'' free agents from other teams ... therefore Dallas someone "lost'' players it never had.

Using this logic: Howard is from Atlanta. So didn't the Hawks "lose'' him? Porland is a West Coast team that needed a point guard. So didn't the Blazers "lose'' Nash?

There is no "killing time" going on in Dallas. An "expert'' who says so is either ignorant or dishonest ... in Trollinger's case, I opt for the latter, which makes him a charlatan. Dallas has not been idle and Dallas has not been content. And Trollinger simply must be smart enough to see that. Yet he ignores it.

What, exactly, is within Dallas control that simply "should've'' gone better? Add a superstar? How many NBA teams this summer "added a superstar''?

By my count, depending on how you rank Steve Nash, the answer is "one'' or "none.''

Trollinger's error is the same made by many two years ago when the excitement over the potential of The DUST Chip left some disappointed. "But you promised us LeBron!'' wailed some Mavs fans. "And all we got was ...''
A championship. All we got was a championship.

This is reality, not fantasy: The Mavs have swiftly moved out an aging roster and become two years younger, have morphed from a team with few tradeable assets to one with a cupboard full, outh, and have remained fluid enough to flow in any number of "Asset Management'' directions.

Oh. And the roster is better. Which, short of signing Sammy Superstar, must always be the point.

All of that is real. None of that is "fantasy.'' And it leaves the unintelligent critic, or the purposely contrarian critic, looking like the one who is "Quixotic'' in the sense that his expertise is as fake as a windmill dragon.

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