Mavs D-League Update: Fun In Frisco
More than ever, as I often note, the Dallas Mavericks have a useful big-brother/little-brother relationship with their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. But here's one area in which the clubs are not mirroring each other: While the Mavs have a packed schedule and are struggling along with a four-game losing streak the Legends have a packed schedule and coach Eddie Najera's club is thriving.
The Legends have had a three-week break between home games and have been on the road most of that time, including the most recent trip -- three games in three states over four days. ... Austin, Texas, followed by Westchester, New York, and the next day busing to Newark, Delaware. And they won all three.
There is a selflessness to the way the Legends play (that DOES mirror the big club) and there was a different leading scorer each night (more on that below). The sum total of all three wins was eight points. (Ah, clutch-time wins ... another Mavs-related theme.)
The afore-mentioned travel schedule isn't easy for anybody. The 22-year old kids get exhausted on that kind of stretch, let alone a 39-year old. But Mike James -- the former Mavs point guard who is reinventing himself in Frisco -- has proven over and over again that he's not your typical 39-year old ... and in the Legends' third game of the three he announced that again. Check him out:
James is in the D-League to show his athleticism isn't reflective of his age. We know he can still shoot, but putting up a triple-double in the third game of a three-games-in-three-states-in-four-days stretch? My sense is that NBA teams are starting to consider giving James that precious call-up to the league.
Is it OK to call Damion James that? He won't mind deferring to Mike here ... especially as he's getting NBA attention of his own. According to DB.com sources, James and his agent have heard from the Bulls, Pistons, Wizards, and most interestingly, the Clippers. I'd put my money on the latter of the four ... And if you want to see him work, I'd like to invite you to Frisco on Saturday, where I'll provide TV coverage of the game on KTXD Channel 47 and hang out with you at the Dr Pepper Center where we get you in for just $10 a ticket.
Weirdly, the Legends haven't made the playoffs since their first season as a team under Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman. There's no promise of playoffs, but ... the top two teams from each division in the D-League will make the playoffs in the new restructuring of the conferences. Positioned in the Southwest Division alongside the San Antonio Spurs' affiliate, the Oklahoma City Thunder affiliate, and the Houston Rockets affiliate, the Legends (15-10) sit at third in the division, exactly one game back right now.
Would I like to call some D-League playoff games alongside R.J. Choppy?
Yes, I would.
We stick to mostly the X's-and-O's type of talk around here but what the Legends are doing in Frisco is worth mentioning. Donnie Nelson's club has a number of programs in place to reach out to the community and highlight others who do the same. I've mentioned the special jerseys they wear every night honoring various charities and causes, and here's the latest there: coming up as Legends beneficiaries are The Salvation Army (Saturday), Black History Night (Feb. 4) and the National Breast Cancer Foundation (Feb. 7). Along with that, the Legends are building the "Dr Pepper DreamMaker''' program, best described as an entry-level wish-granting project.
We'll see you in Frisco on Saturday ... and then invite you to come hang out with us after the game at The Maverick Bar just down the street for some basketball talk and live music!
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