DONUT 1: The Healthy One
We have spent a great deal of time focusing on the guys who can't play, who might play, who may never quite be what they were, or ... well, who knows?
But how about a moment on The Healthy One?
Dwight Powell on Wednesday continued to make the most of his autumn opportunities in a preseason loss to Phoenix (our rosy Rapid Fire coverage here), starting right away as he was very active on the boards in the first quarter for Dallas. He mentioned prior to the preseason beginning that rebounding was going to be an area of focus for him in the offseason … and it showed early on Wednesday. At the 2:31 mark in the second quarter, he had 7 points, 6 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Powell has battled through an elbow problem and is still trying to grow beyond being the guy who last year popped up to Frisco every once in awhile to dominate the D-League.
He was sort of an NBA tweener ... and the lack of health of some other guys may be giving him a chance to prove he's more than that this year.
DONUT 2: CBC
The Mavs’ center-by-committee picture appears to be a little clearer and it doesn’t appear Sam Dalembert is part of it any longer. Mejri started on Wednesday and produced on both ends of the floor. Pachulia also saw a large portion of minutes in the game, and as the presumptive starter for this season, that’s no surprise. What remains to be seen is how JaVale McGee will be worked into the rotation when cleared to play. Or if he will at all.
But McGee is making fun, positive noise as we move forward to tonight's preseason finale against the Bulls in Lincoln, Nebraska (7 p.m., no TV). The "fun noise'' includes his curious tweet ...
And meanwhile, Dalembert, hampered by a knee problem and maybe conditioning problems, too, isn't even making the trip. And we think that's a sign.
DONUT 3: Fan Favorite?
Jeremy Evans continues to blossom into a fan favorite in Dallas with not only his highlight-reel dunking ability, but also his tenacity on the boards and emerging 3-point shot. OK, so mainly it’s his incredible athleticism which was on full display in the first quarter Wednesday with an alleyoop slam and a thunderous throwdown late. And maybe the Mavs audience won't think anybody but Dirk is all that "favorite'' if the team gets off to a poor regular-season start. But Evans is definitely is an exciting second-unit role prospect. ... and at least a fan-fave prospect, too.
DONUT 4: Hotel Zaza
We mentioned Pachulia earlier, but it’s worth noting the big Georgian’s smooth shot. While his amazing first-quarter buzzer beater was vastly different from the silky jumpers he hits in warmups ...
... It still demonstrates what we’ve been saying all along; the man can shoot. And how about the arc on that shot? Definitely not what you’d normally see. And the bench/crowd loved it. That soft touch, combined with his bullish style, might make Zaza a fan fave, too, ... if.
DONUT 5: A Bus Driver?
We use the term in the NFL all the time, but maybe it applies here: Raymond Felton looked like a very capable bus driver for the second unit. With Devin Harris getting most of the first half off, Felton put on a solid display both creating opportunities by getting to the rim and setting up his teammates. He also tossed in a nice little floater in the lane and led Dallas in scoring in the first half with 15 points.
You might say he wants more minutes. ... and we wonder if, depending on Deron's availability, if he might not get a crack at bus-driving the first unit to start the season.
DONUT 6: Chippness
The Wednesday game took on more of a chippy tone in the third quarter. Markeiff Morris picked up a technical to go with one Alex Len got in the first half for elbowing Powell in the face. While Tyson Chandler emphasized pregame that he has no ill will towards the Mavericks in light of what happened in free agency this past summer, it’s clear that the two teams don’t like each other very much. We’ll have to wait a week to see if the same atmosphere carries over to the regular-season opener when the two teams meet again in Phoenix.
DONUT 7: Mejri Comparisons
Mejri looks to be well on his way to earning minutes in the center-by-committee approach with another solid game against the Suns. While the first-ever Tunisian to be drafted in the NBA looks incredibly slight for a 7’2 big, he clearly has made progress battling NBA-level centers … and his offensive game is coming along as the contusion on his forearm heals up. His length alone makes him an effective defender in the lane, though he’s not quite the rim protector Tyson Chandler was … yet.
OK, OK, let's not do the TY comparison. How about a Ryan Hollins comparison? Or an Alexis Ajinca comparison?
Mavs fans might remember both of those springy, slightly-built buys ... Mejri has some of that, plus a perimeter jumper.
DONUT 8: Stay in Touch!
DONUT 9: A Mavs (Legends) Transaction
The Mavericks say goodbye to Jarrid Famous and say hello to Tu Holloway. ... but not exactly.
The training camp roster of 20 players looks like this below ... and the transaction explanation is here.
No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate
1 Justin Anderson G/F 6-6 228 11/19/93
4 Brandon Ashley F 6-9 230 7/15/94
5 Jose Juan Barea G 6-0 185 6/26/84
24 Samuel Dalembert C 6-11 250 5/10/81
21 Jeremy Evans F 6-9 200 10/24/87
2 Raymond Felton G 6-1 205 6/26/84
34 Devin Harris G 6-3 185 2/27/83
52 Tu Holloway G 6-0 190 8/21/89
12 John Jenkins G 6-4 215 3/6/91
23 Wesley Matthews G 6-5 220 10/14/86
11 JaVale McGee C 7-0 270 1/19/88
50 Salah Mejri C 7-2 245 6/15/86
10 Maurice Ndour F 6-9 200 6/18/92
41 Dirk Nowitzki F 7-0 245 6/19/78
27 Zaza Pachulia C 6-11 275 2/10/84
25 Chandler Parsons F 6-10 230 10/25/88
7 Dwight Powell F/C 6-11 240 7/20/91
3 Charlie Villanueva F 6-11 238 8/24/84
8 Deron Williams G 6-3 200 6/26/84
13 Jamil Wilson F 6-7 230 11/21/90
DONUT 10: The Mavs' Big 3?
If Mark Cuban squints really hard, I imagine, he can visualize it.
Chandler Parsons, Wes Matthews and Deron Williams as one of the NBA’s top trios.
Parsons, Wes, Deron and Dirk and one of the NBA’s top quartets.
Zaza Pachulia and the centers combining to be one of the NBA’s top …
DONUT 11: Bye, TY
Seeing Tyson Chandler serve as the vocal leader on the bench for Phoenix on Wednesday couldn’t have been easy for Mavs fans to take with all the what-could-have-been scenarios had DeAndre Jordan not, you know … happened. Never mind Chandler’s athletic gifts, his leadership played a big role last year in the Mavs not completely folding the tent with regard to the rumored locker room chemistry issues. While Wesley Matthews figures to be a prime candidate to replace this quality, seeing Chandler do his thing with his new teammates was definitely an interestingly sad sight.
Having said that ... we're not going to whine about this all year, are we?
No. We are not.
DONUT 12: The Final Word
As the Mavs "find something to do in Nebraska'' ...
Here's coach Rick Carlisle, on CP, Wes, Deron and McGee having ramped up their work: “Our hope is to get some of these guys in some live action very soon. Possibly (tonight), but I’m not very sure. We’re behind the curve in terms of where we want to be with everything, but Mother Nature has things where they are, so we’ve got to do the right things at the right pace.”