Mavs Donuts: Semi-Live Bullets Over Memphis

Seven days separate us from the beginning of the Mavs' 2014-2015 NBA season and the quest to return to the land of fifty wins. The next time we see the Dallas at the AAC, live bullets will be flying. Monday against Memphis? Those were semi-live, and we fire some of our own in Mavs Donuts:

DONUT 1: The Big Lead

Friday night was the first run the starting five that we will see on October 28th got together. It went exceedingly well in Cleveland; 25+ minutes for all five amigos plus Devin Harris was the tally after the numbers were crunched. Following Carlisle pulling a Pop in Indy on Saturday night and playing absolutely nobody that has a jersey hanging in the fan shop (the Pacers owner didn’t offer a vague gift to the fans like the Suns owner did this weekend after getting Poped by Pop), Monday for the Dallas Mavericks was Take 2. ... Mavs 108, Memphis 103.

Rick's summation:

"We're moving in the right direction,'' Rick said. ... and he's right.

DONUT 2: Vinsanity

Let’s start these Donuts off chronologically (that means in order of which they happened). With the Grizzlies coming to town that meant the return of one of the most socially important NBA players of the last 20 years, Nick Calathes.

You know I mean Vince Carter.

The author of one of the most epic Mavericks playoff moments ever was in the building and that prompted Rick Carlisle to throw out an opinion that I simply don’t agree with: The notion that Vince Carter would be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is not something I can get behind. With complete transparency I can tell you that there is no player in the history of basketball that I have a more fickle relationship with than Vince Carter (we’ll get to more of that in a moment). I respect Rick Carlisle and his opinions more than I do anybody not named Criss Angel but the idea that Vinsanity should be alongside Kareem, Charles, Bird, Wilt, MJ, Dr. J, Magic, Moses, Oscar, Stockton, Hakeem and The Logo as a first-ballot HOF'er is a big fat “Nah, bro”. If you even dare to bring up the eight All-Star appearances I’ll slap that flat-billed hat right off your head.

DONUT 3: A top 100

Is Vince a top 100-player of all-time? I think yes. Top 50? I’m not sure. He’s currently 25th on the all-time scoring list while taking the 20th most field goals in NBA history. As a point of reference, Dirk is 10th on the list while taking the 14th most shots. The first-ballot nod should be reserved for those dudes that were no doubt the best at their position for their era (I’m just now realizing that this topic should probably get the respect of a full article and that’ll probably happen in January when he comes back through ... and I realize has addressed this idea in the super-affirmative. Fish allows arguing, which is generous of the old man).

Vince Carter alongside Larry Bird and Shaq were some of the most important basketball influences in my life. That 2000 Dunk Contest blew my mind like I’d just listened to The White Album for the first time while crushing Gummy Worms. How much of my falling out of love with Vince Carter hinged on him quitting on the Raptors and becoming one of the first “overpaid” martyrs of the league that got shipped from outpost to outpost due to his criminal ambition to get paid the most amount of money for doing a job extremely well? I don’t know that I’ll ever have an answer for you. His dunks were more important than the majority of his moments in playoff basketball games and that’s where the schism begins. I enjoyed many Vince moments while he was here (and cursed nearly the same amount) and really enjoyed talking to him but Vince Carter is not a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Back to that action, Boss...


There is a clear emphasis on getting Tyson Chandler involved in the offense and that’s pretty obvious when you check the boxscore and see that he lead the team in scoring while taking the second most field-goal attempts. When you draw up the roadmap back to 50 wins, the offensive side looked elite thanks to Dirk-Ellis-Parsons and the guard rotation. Tyson Chandler was such an afterthought that it didn’t register with me that he could be a real weapon. He wasn’t at his offensive best while in New York and that was probably their scheme but it did make the long-distance perception of him a little skewed.

With his newly-renewed confidence in the elbow jumper (they ran a pindown screen to get him the first shot of the game like they used to in 2011) opposing teams are going to have a real problem finding a player that can rebound with Tyson and is also willing to defend out to 15+ feet. Those guys don’t really exist. Dudes that can body Tyson and match his intensity (i.e. Zach Randolph on Monday) don’t like to defend at that distance.

Here's our Video Visit with Chandler in which he talks about that jumper and clowns around with Jameer, too ...

Another thing that’s stood out to me is TY's screens. They MEAN something. With Sam Dalembert last year it just seemed like getting to the spot was such a chore. The roll to the basket was almost a forgotten next step in the process. Not this year.

Said TY: “We’re still learning, we’re still trying to figure out each other. But it can definitely be explosive offensively.”

DONUT 5: Thanks to our pals!

Here's ... with us since 1995! Give "the finest dentists in the land'' a click and a call!

Thanks to Red Rock Bar & Grill, our north Dallas hangout for live music and sports!

Meet LS Wealth Strategies, with Woody and Bill helping to guide my family and available to do the same for you!

And Dee Lincoln's, the famous DFW restauranteur now with a new location near Park and Preston!

DONUT 6: I'm a jerk

I’m really excited about what this year could mean for Tyson Chandler and the Mavs chances in the West and that’s why I feel like a jerk for bringing up this next topic but I can’t help myself:

Watching Marc Gasol pour in 17 points in 23 minutes made me wonder what it would take to make him a Maverick this summer.

I do realize you’d have to yet once again wave goodbye to Tyson Chandler after a one-and-done year but there’s not doubt in my mind it would be worth it. Gasol is a free agent this summer and will most likely demand $15M+ a year on the open market (but you never know with so many teams adjusting to what they think the new cap might be and saving money for when it expands). So, question is; would you rather have Tyson Chandler at ages 32-35 at $10M-$12M a year or Marc Gasol at ages 29-34 at $13M-$16M a year? I think you can answer that on your own. Tyson is one of the six or seven best centers in the league. Marc Gasol might be THE best. Gasol could be the superstar to anchor the Mavericks into the post Dirk era that’s on the horizon in three seasons.

I know. I'm a jerk. I'm sorry I brought it up.

DONUT 7: One click, all Mavs!

Keep it here on as we will keep you posted in a variety of ways from inside your team ... Here on the HOME page, and here on Boards ... Thanks for joining us as we launch our 15 season inside the Mavs!

Oh, and if you want to be a Mavs Insider with Premium coverage? Click here to take our free 7-day trial and then for 10 cents a day, you are among the most informed Mavs followers on the planet! Go Mavs and Go Premium!

Oh, and hook up on Twitter with Fish, Mike Marshall, Michael Dugat, Jonny Auping and David Lord.

DONUT 8: What happens in Vegas

I saw a guy wearing those Monta shooting sleeves on both arms on my plane ride to Vegas this weekend. That’s the whole story.

DONUT 9: This Little Piggy

Each game that passes we get more familiar with the tools that This Little Piggy Chandler Parsons has in his bag. He showed some excellent effort on the offensive boards keeping a few balls alive early and it’s going to take a few months before I get used to how in control he is of the entire court on the fastbreak. His preseason three-point shooting has been a point of concern and in the first he looked downright goofy shooting a wide-open corner three that clanked of the short side of the rim. Harp is convinced his 25-percent from three is just preseason legs and I’ll let it be for now seeing as these games don’t count and his conditioning isn’t where it is going to be.

At the six-minute mark, Devin Harris subbed into the game for Dirk leaving the good guys with a squad of Jameer-Ellis-Devin-Parsons-Tyson on court with Gasol and Randolph still out there. My instant reaction was “Oh, goody we get to see Parsons defend a real 4” and instantly the Grizz went right at Parsons getting to the basket and forcing Tyson to foul from his help-defense position.

As of right now that’s the story with Parsons' defense on power forwards. He’s willing to do it but it isn’t something that necessarily works. He fouls a lot (5.8 fouls per 48 minutes) and doesn’t really slow them down (18.1PER) according to the data from last season. Is this something we should still be pursuing or is it just a fun idea? Let’s give it some time. If he gets toasted by Jared Sullinger in the third game of the season then we’ll talk about it again.

DONUT 10: Quoteboard

“I think we can score with the best of them in this league." - Dirk Nowitzki.

And Jameer Nelson has much to say in his Video Visit ...

And you can see more Mavs-Grizzlies Quoteboard here.

DONUT 11: He's Superbald

I’m really digging what super bald Richard Jefferson is bringing. That’s something I thought I’d never say. That dude is a dead-eye shooter and has zero fear when attacking. He checked in at 5:45 left in the first for Jameer Nelson and it looked like he was creating the biggest mismatch on the court. He finished with 13 points in 13 minutes. Now, his preseason free-throw struggles are bizarre; 12-of 24-is where he sits now, but he’s never shot lower than 69 percent on a season. But outside of that?

DONUT 12: Backup bounce

If Jefferson can give the Mavs an offensive edge that Marion lacked and Al-Farouq Aminu can contribute energy defense, this team is going to be incredibly deep. Especially if Aminu can keep adding these little wrinkles like the corner three he knocked down here. He only shot 30 corner threes last season and he hit 10 of them. Not a terrible percentage. Rick has told him to pop the corner three if he’s open.

Aminu and Brandan Wright on the court at the same time is insanity. Both dudes just bounce for days. The difference is that Aminu’s bounce is used for rebounds as his defensive rebound percentage was 21.2 percent last season and Wright’s was just 15.1 percent. Maybe he can teach Brandan how to use those hops to fetch the basketball.

By the way, it's not just liking Aminu. There are, like, real voices chiming in.

Dirk: "He’s a great find. If you sign him for the minimum, that’s a hell of a find."

Rick: "What do I like? What don't I like! He's an important guy in this equation.''

DONUT 13: The Final Word

The Mavs "are a top three-team in the West, that’s the facts, they have more talent, they are hard as heck to guard, they have multiple combinations of players that can really score the basket at any time. They stretch you out all over the floor ... The team is one of the best teams in the West.” - Memphis coach David Joerger.

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