Monday Morning Mavs Camp Donuts
DONUT 1: Brand for three? ...
Elton Brand's impressive arsenal of post moves has been well-documented by followers in the NBA. But after huddling with Rick Carlisle about the ways to maximize his game and help the Dallas Mavericks, Brand is working on another part of his game that he hasn't used in a long time. The head coach wants to see Brand take advantage of the corner three.
"(Carlisle)'s seen me a lot in pickup the past few weeks and now he wants me to incorporate the corner three shot that I haven't taken much in my career,'' Brand says.
And how's it looking in practice now, EB?
"Some days it's looking really good, other days it's not,'' the new Mavs big man says. "So I'm working on it."
DONUT 2: Delonte West has a secret. ...
And only DB.com readers are going to know about it. The secret concerns his friends "Brother Redd Bush,'' "Mustafa'' and "Charlee Redz.'' All three of them are coming to DB.com this week. Stay tuned for some odd fun with Delonte!
DONUT 3: A Happy Wife is a Happy Life ...
Dirk's been known to start the season off with a shaved head and let the hair grow as the season goes on. Not this season. Things changed after you take your vows and since the buzz cut isn't Mrs. Nowitzki's favorite look, Dirk won't be sporting it to start the season.
"Now you got to do what the wifey says, right?" says Nowitzki. "We all know how that works. I'm going to cut it a little bit, but not shave it. That's not my best look, I guess."
DONUT 4: B-Wright's hurting ...
Brandan Wright arrived in Dallas a year ago and the first thing we all noted is how remarkable thin he was. One year later, B-Wright seems to have added just a bit of bulk -- just a bit, I say -- but meanwhile, he's also come down with a bit of a calf injury that has him listed as day-to-day. Nevertheless, overall, Carlisle is pleased with Wright's look.
"He's worked on his strength," Carlisle says. "He had a terrific individual year (last year) ... One area (of needed improvement) was his strength, so he's worked on it.''
DONUT 5: Rick's "We-Play-For-Championships'' mindset. ...
Success certainly isn't a given, but it hasn't been proven to be impossible either, which raises another question for this team: what exactly would be considered success for this group?
"You have to think that way," says Carlisle of his "We-Play-For-Championships'' mindset. "If you're setting yourself for 'Most Improved,' that's kind of demeaning way to approach it from a fan perspective."
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 ... Plus Mavs Media Day, the first weekend of camp, projected roles for every player ... It's good stuff, and exclusive stuff ... dig through the Archives for the gold!
DONUT 7: Kaman's back...
Chris Kaman has missed an average of 30.4 games per season over his last five NBA seasons. So when the new Mavs center exited Saturday morning's very first training camp workout with what the club is terming a 'sprained back' ... well, it merited some concern.
Kaman did participate in Sunday's practice on a limited basis and reports "progress'' with the back.
"He's doing better," Carlisle says. "I don't have an exact timetable for when he's going to be back practicing, but he's moving around and making progress."
DONUT 8: Odom apology -- ignored ...
Lamar Odom apparently told ESPN that he'd "like to apologize to Mark Cuban and Mavs fans for not being himself. Felt it was beyond his power.''
The apology is merited. Is it accepted? It might shock the self-centered Odom to learn that, well, nobody cares.
The Mavs acquired Odom from the Lakers last December, and he was an immediate flop. He averaged career lows of 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds with the Mavs and was eventually sent him -- viewed as being a detriment to the club by his sheer presence.
Dallas gave him away to the Clips this summer in a four-team trade this offseason, and nobody at the AAC has bothered talking about him since.
I had two opportunities this weekend to visit with Mark Cuban, two opportunities to ask him about the Odom apology. Both times, I pretty much forgot that this issue was on my list of questions. Why? I guess it's because I don't care about "accepted apologies.'' Dealing with Odom in any manner at this point, for the Mavs, simply feeds a negative beast.
DONUT 9: Who needs tickets? ...
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DONUT 10: A doctor in the house ...
The Mavericks announced they have extended the contract of team physician Dr. T.O. Souryal. Souryal, in his 20th season with the Mavericks, signed a five-year extension with team.
"I am grateful to Mark Cuban and the entire Mavericks organization for giving me this opportunity to work with such an elite organization," Souryal says. "The cutting edge technology that we use with the Mavericks players is a benefit to all my patients."
DONUT 11: Dirk learns a lesson ...
Last summer, it was love and travel and celebration and the labor dispute and in the end, Dirk reporting to the late camp in less-than-primo shape.
"For me, actually, it was a great lesson to learn," Nowitzki says. "I can't just shut it down all the way to zero anymore and expect to be in shape in four weeks. You can do that when you're in your 20s, but not after 14 years in the league. So even though it was a tough year for me last year, I think it was a good learning experience for me.''
So this summer, in addition to the weddings on four or five continents?
"And this year, in the summer, even though I didn't touch a ball for three and a half months, I was basically in the gym in June and July, lifting, keeping my legs strong, running,'' he says. "Even on all my trips, I always tried to lift and run and keep my conditioning up so that when I started basketball four weeks ago, the start-up was a lot easier than last year."
Nowitzki jokes self-effacingly, "Last year, I couldn't even touch the bottom of the backboard. This year, I could touch it a little bit."
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
So what does it all add up to after the first weekend of camp -- for Dirk and maybe for his team?
"I feel good," Nowitzki says. "And that's already a big chunk. If I feel good, we're going to be OK."