Strengths And Weaknesses In Mavs Backcourt
DONUT 1: All these guards ...
Earlier this week, our Jonathan Auping helped us address individually the Mavs' depth in the backcourt and how those minutes might get distributed. There is a rookie in Cunningham and we all want to see him. There are two new starters in and only the most cynical Mavs fans isn't intrigued by the promise of Collison and Mayo. There is the decorated vet in Delonte, a fan-and-coaching-staff fave. There is what I can characterize as a "still-promising guy'' in Roddy B, if only because Carlisle says it is so.
How do all these guards get playing time? Again check out the link above while we plow forward to the next issue:
How does this unit stack up in the collective-strengths-and-weaknesses department?
DONUT 2: OK, so what's the strength of the Mavs' backcourt? ...
Driving to the basket.
From that bundle of eight guards will almost certainly emerge a new Mavs trait: The ability to drive and finish.
Jason Kidd was a great point guard who helped the Mavericks win a championship, but he was not exactly willing to take the ball to the rack in his second stint in Dallas. Sometimes it felt like you could count on one hand the number of non-three point shots he took per month. ... ah, and when J-Kidd did try a layup, it fluttered toward the rim like a knuckleball. That should change with this group of guards.
Collison takes the ball to the basket consistently as a point guard, especially coming off of screens. Mayo has the athleticism to finish near the basket. Meanwhile, West and Beaubois both tend to get a step past their defender in the direction of the hoop. (Really, it's the one thing Roddy B does well: Turn the corner, something that requires pure athleticism and no instinct.)
DoJo gets to the rim (though maybe he doesn't finish). Carter is a human highlight reel (though certainly not at the same level of years ago). This is a group of guards that can make the 3 but shouldn't be allowed to settle for 3-point shots consistently.
DONUT 3: How about a Mavs backcourt weakness? ...
Passing. Or, more accurately, maintaining the Carlisle-desired rep of being "the best passing team in the league.'' Think about all the vignettes:
*The last few Dallas centers were asked to distribute the ball from the high post. (It's a Rick pet play, especially as early offense after a break.)
*Dirk Nowitzki now passes well over double-teams.
*Kidd rubbed off on everybody, and was the master here of the uncredited "hockey assist.''
*This team's guards knew all about locating The UberMan in his pet spots.
*Dirk and Jet's precision two-man game was among the NBA's toughest fourth-quarter weapons.
When you lose someone like Kidd you not only lose a player who can get the ball to Dirk exactly where he needs it, but you lose someone who can see a Shawn Marion cut to the basket before it even develops. That's more than a mentality, it's a skill.
None of these guys are classic "pass-first guards,'' though in my conversations with and about Darren Collison, the willingness is there. But DC is right to say he's not trying to "be Jason Kidd.'' That would do a disservice to his own skill set.
This is going to requite a keen understanding of the play sets that Carlisle wants to run. Constant ball movement by all five players on the court will help to compensate for the lack of a great classic passer at the point ... though it's worth noting that Mayo might an elite passer among NBA 2-guards when playing within Carlisle's framework.
DONUT 4: Mavstoberfest! ...
We told you about Mavstoberfest on Monday ... now circle the date!
The date will be Saturday, Oct. 13. The event -- an upgrading of Fan Jam and featuring live music, food and games -- will begin on the AT&T Plaza at 3, and then the AAC doors will open at 4 p.m. for fans to watch the Mavs practice!
DallasBasketball.com will see you there!
DONUT 5: Go say hello at Studio Movie Grill! ...
The gang at Studio Movie Grill is ready to show Mavs fans a good time! Go check 'em out and stay tuned for some fun projects DB.com is working on in coordination with Studio Movie Grill!
DONUT 6: In case you missed it ...
I've got DB.com Video Visits with Jae Crowder, Darren Collison, Elton Brand and O.J. Mayo here in DB.com Archives ... It's good stuff, and exclusive stuff ... dig through the Archives for the gold!
DONUT 7: Of Felix and Fairy Tales ...
Cuban is a meddler! Jerry is a meddler! (Weird how Nolan Ryan, sitting down there in the front row instead of up in the owners suite "where he belongs,'' is never categorized as a meddler.)
If you are a Cowboys guy, come inside this issue and inside Valley Ranch. Of Felix And Fairy Tales: 7 Cowboys Truths About Kick Returns And ‘Power Struggles.'
DONUT 8: Friday golf with the Mavs ...
I'll be hanging out with the fellas on Friday at the team's charity golf tournament. Hang around DB.com all day Friday and all weekend for quips and notes and photos and the rest!
DONUT 9: Who needs tickets? ...
Our guy Ryan at MavCowTickets knows the ins and outs of the Mavs, the Rangers, the Cowboys, the arenas, the opponents ... the works! For the most personal service in the business -- with no stupid add-on costs -- check him out and tell him The Fish sent you!
DONUT 10: Paying the piper ...
The LA Times addresses the financial issues the Lakers will eventually face due to the CBA. This story could've been authored by Cuban himself in the way it echoes his long-ago reading of the CBA ramifications. And I think it's right regarding the piper that will be paid: If their final payroll next year is $105 million (after re-upping Dwight), that would trigger a tax of $94.5 million. So the cost for the Lakers year would be $199.5 million — a 55.9-percent increase over the total for this season with essentially the same group of core players.
But tucked into this story is one other factoid: The Lakers have their new 25-year, $5-billion deal with Time Warner Cable. If your TV deal is worth $120 mil a year, and people are watching TV to see Kobe, Nash, Pau and Dwight ... do you care about the challenges of balacing a $199.5-mil payroll?
DONUT 11: Guards and "guarded'' ...
One more take on two issues of the day, Dallas' guard prospects and the way team management should talk in public about its issues:
Review what Rick tells us about Roddy B:
"Roddy is a kid that we all know has a lot of ability," Carlisle says. "He's done a lot of good things over a three or four-year period, and this is the year that he's gonna put it all together.''
So ... what is Rick? A BS'er? A liar? A wishful thinker? A pep-talker? A poor evaluator of talent? Or, maybe, right?
Which is he?
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Who is Josh Akognon? ...
Who is Josh Akognon? The 75-Member Staff digs in on the kid reportedly coming to Mavs camp.