DONUT 1: MY TOP 3 MAVS ACCOMPLISHMENTS
This wasn't a completely lost year. Yeah, the awful start triggered "Tank Talk'' earlier than its occurred around here in 25 years, and we needed Tony Romo to shoot layups to motivate the more casual MFFLs into action, and and 33-49 is pretty "lost.''
But Dallas gets credit for a trio of important accomplishments. Yup, only three.
DONUT 2: THE RUNNERS-UP
Seth Curry almost makes the list. He certainly came a long way from being plucked off the Kings scrapheap with visions of him playing the role of a pocket-sized Charlie V here ... and next thing you know, he's a starter. But he's not "The Next Jason Terry,'' not yet, anyway. I don't know what position he plays, I don't know how durable he is, I don't know how/what Dallas might pay him a year from now (nor do Mavs officials) and I don't know if he's a starter on a top-notch team.
I want to think he is. He's a high-quality guy and it'd be a heck of a story. But I don't know.
Same with Yogi Ferrell. You can't even get coach Rick Carlisle to concede that Yogi is an NBA-starting-caliber point guard, as much as Rick likes him.
And I don't mean to discount Nico or Dorian or the other guys ... but they're good stories, not needle-movers.
So here are the three:
DONUT 3: DIRK TO 30K
*Dirk to 30,000 points.
"It's still amazing for me to be in the 30K club with all those amazing names,'' Dirk Nowitzki said on Exit Interview Day. "That was my emotional highlight for the season."
DONUT 4: THE NOEL TRADE
*The Nerlens Noel trade.
You traded an Justin Anderson and an empty shoe box for a young center with star potential. Now you have to re-sign him, but ... so far, so good, in terms of getting the inside track on a building block.
DONUT 5: THE BARNES SIGNING
*The Harrison Barnes signing.
Oh, we figured at the time that it might work out that Barnes, even at those big dollars, might end up being a better investment than Chandler Parsons. And hey, what I said about those big dollars for HB I'd previously said about Chandsome's contract, and I'm prepared to say it this July 1 about Noel's, which is ...
"That's the price of doing business.''
DONUT 6: BARNES AS GO-TO CLUTCH?
No. We did not see HB so quickly developing into a top-notch go-to guy in the clutch. And in that sense, Barnes has actually lived up to every penny of his four-year, $94.4-mil deal.
Our buddy Bobby Karalla helps us illustrate the point by listing Harrison Barnes' 2016-17 clutch (defined by NBA Stats as "the final five minutes of regulation/OT when the score is within five points'') numbers:
29.0% usage rate
8.9% turnover rate
Mix in Barnes' immediate devotion to the organization (read about him joining Dirk as a True Believer here) and to the community (read about his Dinner With Destiny here), and you've finally got a worthy recipient of Dirk's passed baton.
“We have a great organization,'' said Barnes, at just 24 blossoming into an All-Star-caliber performer, in the clutch, at both ends, and beyond. "I think we have something to build off for next season.”
He's right in at least one case. I don't know if 30K is something to build on. I don't yet know if Noel will be available to be that, either.
But Harrison Barnes' "something to build on'' is true because the "something to build on'' is Harrison Barnes.
And that's it. The Three Accomplishments. Good ones, all. But not enough, of course.
DONUT 7: SETH ON SURGERY?
Seth Curry doesn't want to have surgery; who does?
"I’m going to go hard throughout the summer and the next month to see how it (his left shoulder) feels when it's getting banged on and things like that,'' he said. "But I'm not too worried about it."
DONUT 8: THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW
The Cavs took a late-season flier on the once-promising big man Larry Sanders, but then dumped him just before the playoffs.
Why? And why aren't the Mavs taking a similar flier on him?
An observation from our David Lord:
This is Cleveland saying Sanders is no longer an NBA player, from what they have seen and from having a chance to work with him for several months.
There's no way they waive him if they felt he can truly play anymore, because their tax issue makes cheap talent like gold to them, and they had an option on him for next year for the minimum.
Which leads to me presenting the inside view of Larry Sanders:
*He came back to the NBA because he's living a Hollywood style and is running out of money.
*He's more interested in paint (as an artist with a brush) than in playing in the paint (as an NBA center) ... and this is almost a direct quote from someone close to the situation.
There are other reasons. Reasons of temperament and reasons related to his drug-related suspension. But however many reasons we'd like to pile up here, this seems to be a non-starter.
DONUT 9: 9 ON 9
Assuming the Mavs' ping-pong balls land them in the No. 9 slot in the NBA Draft, what does history suggest they get? Well, in the last 20 years, 10 All-Stars have been selected in the No. 9 slot. (Including Dirk and Shawn Marion.)
DONUT 10: DRAFT NUGGET
From an NBA front-office guy in the know:
"We all think Markelle Fultz is the best player in the draft,'' my guy told me. "But Boston (drafting No. 1 overall) should think about taking (6-8 Kansas forward Josh) Jackson. They already have a point guard. Jackson could get some minutes from Jae Crowder. I think the Celtics would be a better overall team if they did that.''
Our Mavs-centric scouting thoughts on Fultz are here. And if you want the best Mavs draft coverage runnin' for 17 years now -- the little details, all the way to the big pick -- click here for Monday's Donuts, which include inside-the-AAC thoughts on a guy you know ... and a guy you don't.
DONUT 11: THE TV BLOOPER REEL
You might be shocked to learn that the Mavs' TV crew, Followill, Derek Harper and Skin Wade, actually make mistakes.
Perfect. You want your blooper reel to be funny and honest ... but you don't want it to be too long, you know?
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
"I have been in and out (of Mavs roster membership). The first time I took it very hard. My heart was into it and that is where I wanted to be. But ... sometimes the business gets the best of you." - Devin Harris.