Friday Mavs Donuts: 'Salve' Or 'Savior'?
DONUT 1: No slingshot, no shot ...
With seven minutes left in Wednesday's blowout loss at Chicago, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle wasn't yet ready to pull the empty-the-bench trigger. Jared Cunningham would enter the game at 3:33, after another trigger was tugged.
Carlisle's move: Down 88-66 to a Bulls team that has now been defensively dominant in four straight Dallas-Chicago games, Rick put all five starters back into the game.
Punishment? Teaching tool? Live in-game practice?
A revelation regarding Dallas' $39-million Davids playing in a league of Goliaths ... and doing so without Slingshot Dirk Nowitzki? This must-read on this topic from David Lord comes to Premium Mavs Fans this weekend.
DONUT 2: Let's throw: Sffffffffffffft. ...
You could throw a dart wrong-handed at the Mavs rotation and pick a culprit on that particular night.
Let's throw: Sffffffffffffft.
In his first 12 minutes of the game in Chicago, Chris failed to secure a rebound. For his total 21 minutes, the 6-11 center grabbed four rebounds.
A one-night fluke, you say? No sir. Coming into that game, Kaman is at the lowest-rebounds-per-minutes point of his professional life.
So, enter Derek Fisher?!
DONUT 3: A salve, not a savior ...
DB.com tends to be rather exhaustive on these matters, so when it comes to Derek Fisher, you will see every angle covered ... here with our Top 10 Takes on the deal and here with the initial reaction of D-Fish as DC was out with a finger. Oh, and the required transaction as Troy Murphy gets the boot.
In this space, let's kick around the common comparison of Derek Fisher to Jason Kidd.
In a sense, the reasoning for this is completely obvious, and not a stretch. They are both tough, strong-willed veterans that have slowed a step and have a wealth of intangibles to offer ... and have the ability to hit an open spot-up jumper, though Fisher dipped in this area last season with the Lakers and Thunder (hitting only 32.1 percent of his 3-pointers on the season).
When it comes to one of Carlisle's key words, disposition, they may share a great deal.
However, there are key differences.
DONUT 4: The Triangle of Trust - extended ...
On his best days, Fisher wasn't near the passer that Kidd is today. Where Kidd can still find a place in an uptempo offense, even if less than ideal, thanks to his incredible level of foresight that allows him to forgo a reliance on his legs with passing that appears clairvoyant at times, Fisher may prove to be much less adaptable to this style of play ... a style that better suites the rest of the Mavs young group of guards.
However, like Kidd, Fisher may prove to be much more capable than anyone else on this roster of getting the ball into Kaman (where, if he's not going to be a consistent rebounder he can at least pick up some easy baskets) ... and eventually Dirk Nowitzki ... on a consistent basis. In other words, D-Fish may help direct the offense to those guys and then simply get out of the way, waiting at the arc. That's not a bad thing, and could immediately improve the halfcourt offense.
Fisher certainly has some qualities to offer that may improve this team, though he could also prove to be a hinderance to the team's ultimate ceiling based on the one trait Carlisle may feel he must give almost immediately: trust.
Why could this be a bad thing? Read on ...
DONUT 5: Holiday party time at Frisco Party Station! ...
The gang at Frisco Party Station is the neighborhood HQ for all your holiday party needs! Go check 'em out and say hi to Robert and his family, long-time Mavs lovers just like you!
DONUT 6: Playing better vs. better player ...
Darren Collison, regardless of what you feel for him in this moment, has the ability to be a much better player on a given night than Derek Fisher.
As we noted yesterday, Fisher may roll into town this weekend and play better ... but that won't make him a better player than DC.
DONUT 7: Don't leap ...
There are a trio of emotional leaps we must resist.
*Are you prepared to overcome your intense dislike for Derek Fisher - or at least the Derek Fisher who, when you picture him in your mind, is either in a labor-dispute suit of clothing or, even more heinous, in Lakers purple?
*Should we stop bemoaning Delonte's inability to keep his dollar dissatisfaction to himself?
*Does it really do any good to mention Deron Williams anymore?
DONUT 8: Follow Fish and the Mavs on Twitter ...
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: Fisher as a closer ...
Close, close, close. In Rick's first three years here, his Mavs' record in games decided by five or fewer points: 55-22. It slipped last year to 10-13. This year? 1-3 in close games.
Close, close, close.
Without dispute, there will be a temptation to put Fisher on the floor in the closing moments. He's made that big shot. He's made that little entry pass. He can help you close.
DONUT 11: So how does Derek Fisher hurt you? ...
If Carlisle instantly trusts Fisher, who do you think is in down the stretch in the fourth quarter of a close game?
Fisher may bring specific characteristics that allow him to earn any trust placed in him, but it's undeniable that his ceiling is significantly lower than Collison's, in particular ... which means the team's ceiling is significantly lower with Fisher on the court in the place of Collison.
We want to see Collison given the chance to grow. Unlike Roddy Beaubois in year four, we want to know what the Mavs have in Collison now. If Fisher is given those precious game moments in place of Collison, he's also stealing those opportunities for growth from the young player, removing the trial and error that seems a must for almost all improvement. There is only so much to learn from film and words and descriptions. True lessons are learned on the court.
This isn't a team in "win now" mode. (That is to say, "win championship now'' mode. Try as they should.) Even with a healthy Dirk, this is unlikely to be a true contender as is. If Derek Fisher joins this team and quickly becomes treated like Jason Kidd part two, it will only hurt their long term, and likely their short-term, chances to get better.
Fisher as a 10-15 minute guy off the bench to calm down the offense, to lend a teacher's voice, to act as a true backup ... that sounds good.
Fisher as a guy that averages 20-30 minutes and is on the court by default in the game's biggest moments? There is so little to be gained there, we can argue that it isn't worth what could be lost.
At what point is the reward so small that the risk is rendered unwarranted?
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Questionable decisions at PG are costing this team the chance to win winnable games. That doesn't mean the guys at that position are alone in their responsibility. (See Kaman, above.) Nor does it mean lack of effort.
Check out this past week's PG starter, DoJo. Effort? You bet. Weird lack of production? Check it out: Going into Chicago (where he fared fine as a 4-of-9 shooter), DoJo this year had made just 44 percent of his shots at the rim. The NBA average at the rim is 64 percent. Dirk on shots from 16-to-23 feet is, since 2007, has always been better than 46 percent.
That means a Dirk jumper is more likely to go in than a DoJo drive. Crazy.
That's not blame. That's just fact. That's not effort. That's just production. Fisher is coming here not as a savior but as a salve ... as a way to make things a little less crazy at the PG position.
That's not an endorsement. It's just a fact.