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Monday, October 20th, 2008 at 8:27 am  |  58 responses

Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Down the yellow brick road we go!

The Dallas Mavericks kick-off our Southwest Division previews. You can read past previews here.

by Brad Long

Dallas loves drama. Take a look at any of the sports franchises located there. You have the Cowboys, ‘America’s Team,’ with the posterboy quarterback and his superstar girlfriend, enough talent to beat the AFC Pro Bowl squad but a rap sheet that would make the early 2000′s Jailblazers blush. Then you have the Texas Rangers, whose greatest player ever, Nolan Ryan, was so great that they vowed to never sign another major league caliber pitcher ever again in his memory.

Oh yeah, Dubya owned them while Jose Canseco was there at the beginning of the Steroids Era. What’s not to love? Even the Stars are jumping on the controversy train with there pick up of Sean Avery one of the dirtiest players in a sport that allows you to punch people in the face while also being a women’s fashion nut (yes, as in he knows about purses and stuff). As if those teams didn’t give Metroplex sports fans enough reasons to have more extreme highs followed by sickening lows than your friendly neighborhood coke addict you have the Dallas John Mc…err, Mavericks! (Sorry, word association is a b*tch.)

The only way I can really describe the clusterf*ck that is Mavs basketball this year is to compare some of its players to one of my favorite stories as a young tike, The Wizard of Oz.

Playing the role of the Tin Man, we have none other than one of the games greatest point guards of all time Jason Kidd. You know who else is one of the greatest point guards of all time? Bob Cousy, but the difference is he isn’t starting for a team this year who, if you believe the b.s. Mark Cuban is slinging, has championship aspirations. Now don’t get the comparisons twisted as far as the tin man is concerned. Jason has plenty of heart; it’s new knees he so desperately needs. With his roasting by CP3 in the playoffs last year and his ridiculously horrible defense in the five minutes he was on the floor in the Olympic games, it’s obvious a little oil on the ol’ nuts and bolts isn’t going to do the trick going against the Barbosas, Williams, and Pauls of the Western Conference on a nightly basis. And I don’t know what a Berea is, but it’s not the answer. Jason will still make smart passes and throw a beautiful oop to Josh Howard or Gerald Green, but the Jason Kidd we grew up loving is dead and gone. Or at least his ability to slide his feet and stay in front of an opposing guard is.

The next character we have is J-Ho playing the role of the scarecrow obviously enough. Now for those of you who may not be familiar with the storyline the scarecrow wanted to ask the Wizard for a brain and judging by Josh’s decision-making ability over the past year, I’d say he could use a little more between the ears as well. Now don’t stereotype me as another Fox Sports-type journalist who wants to burn down Josh’s home and have an old fashioned lynching for a couple of terribly regrettable statements. I have less of a problem with the things he’s said and more of a problem with the way he let those opinions become public. If Josh can realize Mark Cuban is dispersing of young talent to build around him, then Howard has the ability to be a 20/7/5 guy next season. But considering he’s still bitter over the fact they got rid of Marquis Daniels not to mention Dash, I’d say the odds that he’s shipped out of Dallas by the trade deadline are fifty-fifty.

This brings us to the always controversial assessment of Dirk Nowitzki’s contribution to the organization. He has put up great scoring numbers for years with his incredible skill set, and he has an MVP trophy to show for it. The problem that fans have with the Diggler is in the most important moments–the ‘06 Finals, the first round series against Golden State, the moment David West love tapped his face on national TV–he seems to lose his mean streak that he seems to have at during the regular season. Because of that, Dirk gets to carry the Lion Label–in need of large dose of courage. If Rick Carlisle can somehow unleash the same Dirk who played in the ‘06 Western Conference Finals, look out. But with his performance recently, the odds are Khalid will still be writing ‘Dirk Sucks’ in the comment section in December without much of an argument.

The wild cards, and possibly the players with the most promise on this roster (who haven’t said something stupid on YouTube), are Jason Terry, Brandon Bass and Gerald Green. Jason has been one of the more consistent players over the past few seasons for Dallas. The Jet has all the tools to be a consistent threat as a combo guard but it will be interesting how he meshes with Kidd during a full year. Brandon has an always developing post game and a decent midrange shot that seems to get better game-by-game. If he’s given enough minutes, he could be the one player who gives Josh Howard hope for in the D. Another player who could give J-Ho a reason to stick around is the aforementioned Mr. Green. Gerald has had All-Star athleticism since high school but, unfortunately, seems not to have worked on his game since then either. Maybe he could learn something from fellow swingman Jerry Stackhouse who is a year older but a former scoring machine. Eric Dampier is not to be mentioned as having a positive effect for the Mavs until his contract year. It’s in his contract.

All in all, as much as I’ve used fairytale analogies in this preview, I just don’t see a happy ending for Dallas. It’s hard to see where they’ve gotten better, and firing Avery Johnson seemed like a desperate attempt at finding a scapegoat. Especially after Cuban hired the vanilla and less annoying voiced version of the Little General, Rick Carlisle. My fearless prediction puts the Mavs in a battle with the Clips for that eighth playoff spot. They’ll get it, but only to experience a Laker sweep a week later. Another mediocre year and Dallas fans may be hoping for a house to fall on Cubes.

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  • maeng

    1st1

  • maeng

    no chance for a trophy …..their window is closing…..you got a soft franchise player…..a former all star who smokes a lot of pot and doesn’t like the star spangled banner and an aging jason kidd.

    i just hope they let kidd play his game…i bet they are gonna be better unlike what avery johnson did.

  • maeng

    dirk needs a fresh start on a new team…….i think his welcome is over in dallas….

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    The Lion and Scarecrow analogies are gold. But who’s the Wizard? And who’s Dorothy? Ha.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Let’s see, I knew Bradley was the writer of this weeks ago…..and was told I was wrong. At the same time, I said if Bradley did it, it would make the Mavs out to be sh*t before they even played a game and that it would all end up in some way as a slight perpetuated by the Lakers in some way. As usual, I’m always right. Decent writeup, B, but to the SLAM staff (Rynocerous?), this is pretty unfair to Mavs fans. Just saying.

  • Daniel

    go blazers

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    “Then you have the Texas Rangers, whose greatest player ever, Nolan Ryan, was so great that they vowed to never sign another major league caliber pitcher ever again in his memory.”

    That made me laugh out loud for real.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @E: You knew I was doing the Mavs preview before I did? That’s incredible.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Yeah, you don’t remember me asking you a few weeks ago if you were writing it and you said no? Call it intellectual intuition.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    @Eboy: I don’t hear any Mavs fans complaining…yet. Plus, wouldn’t you agree B. makes some reasonable predictions?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    He does, but I like my previews objective is all…..carry on. And yes, no one’s complained yet, except me, so maybe it’s just my sorrowful nature for what the Heat did to them 2 years ago that makes me remourseful.

  • Krishan

    “DING DONG THE WITCH IS DEAD”

  • Krishan

    And when I say witch, I meant a certain high-pitched, gnome-faced totalitarian pr*ck

  • Krishan

    And instead of a house falling on him, it was Mark cuban’s humongous forehead

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    ’08-’09 Mavs= ZZZZZZZZZ

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    At this point the Mavs actually have to win it all to impress me. They’ve done everything but that. Its not going to matter if they win 60+ games or whatever. They need to win it all, and it ain’t happenin this season.

  • rikson

    Mavs had their chance -> time to rebuild…

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Co-Co see my previous post then add a exclamation point. thanks

  • http://coco-vents.blogspot.com Co Co

    ! For Khalid.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @E: Isn’t anybody who predicts a losing record for a team in their preview making the team out to be sh!t before they’ve played a game? At least I put them in the playoffs. If I was writing what I wanted to happen I’d def. put the Clips in the 8th spot but I’m trying to be objective.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Swept by the Lakers=objective??

  • jk_light

    I think that was a pretty weak write up. But not as weak as Mr.Salaams comments.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Jk_light is Dirk’s hairdresser

  • jk_light

    oh, he is getting better. I almost laughed.

  • http://slamonline.com Simone S.Y Lawy

    will they make the playoff???

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @Simone:Yes, barely. Read the article.

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Well Tad, if I put they would be swept by the Pistons in the first round it wouldn’t make sense now would it? Silly goose. How about who ever is the 1 seed in the West will sweep them?(Psssstttt…I’m gonna let you in on a secret. It’ll be the Lakers).

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    And the objective debate is in which conference room?

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    @E:The one with the fruit and water buffet in the back and the 3 year old candy on the confrence tables.

  • Petter

    Haters!

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Who’s hating?

  • starbury&stevey

    that Dampier comment was realy hot..i hate Mavs,but i liked that season preview,you always have something to write about Dirk and Josh..you journalistes are blessed with guys like Josh,Dirk,…and i expected 1 paragraaf talkin bout Mark Cuban…

  • http://www.alllooksame.com Tarzan Cooper

    khalid: you owe me 10gs for your 11:12 comment

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    tarzan what?

  • cooper manning

    this preview is crap. nothing is accurate at all besides kidd aging and jhoward needing a brain. kidd is still one of the best point guards in the league, howard has shown he is the howard of old during the preseason by slashing and goin to the rim while not pulling up with jumpshots. what really pisses me off is why everyone hates on dirk. Dirk is one of the top 5 players in the NBA behind kobe, lebron, garnett and duncan. he sent the mavs to the NBA finals pulling off an incredible win at san antonio. yes he had one bad postseason against the warriors, but he and brandon bass were the only ones that showed up last year against the hornets. dirk didnt win MVP for no reason. as for the “love-slap” david west gave him, he was a smart player by doing nothing b/c he could have been suspended for the next game. he plays with his head and with his heart. he isnt stupid. all you bandwagon sports fans just like garbage like david west b/c he makes things interesting but dont appreciate the real players in the NBA. By the way, if dirk is soft, how does he come back from a nasty knee sprain after 4 games and lead the mavs to a win against the warriors. Those of you who saw the sprain know it was nasty and a 7-footer who is 30 years old came back in 4 GAMES. steven a smith, brkley, kenny smith, all acknowledge that dirk is not a soft player but a smart one. the mavs will be fighting and will get a high seed in the playoffs

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Dirk Sucks

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I hope someone taps Dirk on the face this year and he goes to the bench, gets a gun, and kills everyone on the other team. Maybe then he’ll be tough enough.

  • Dallas J

    mavs haters suk me..

    come on mang.. Wizard of Oz? more like the A Team.. Bass is Mr T

  • speedy

    Khalid …..

  • speedy

    @ cooper manning
    They will never understand or maybe we will never understand .

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    It’s funny how I mention the way Dirk played in the Western Conf. finals in a positive manner but everyone just focuses on the negative things that were said. And Russ, I don’t want Dirk to go Columbine, I just want him to do more than stare back affectionately as his face is caressed. No punches are necessary.

  • speedy

    Yeah B. he could punch his chest and make sounds like an ape .
    But what you will never understand is that he never needed to get at somebody like this .
    Dirk always let his game talk.
    Maybe it wasn’t that succesfull the last two years but at least he never left his path of beeing a good sportsman .

  • http://slamonline.com whitechocolate

    Mavs vs who? in The Finals

  • http://slamonline.com whitechocolate

    discuss

  • http://www.where-basketball-b-longs.blogspot.com/ B. Long

    Your right speedy, those 9 points he scored in the deciding game of a playoff series to end his “MVP” season spoke louder than anything he could ever say.

  • mdshuai

    In his defense, has anyone ever considered that in Germany a finger tap on the cheek is considered a sign of respect?

    I’m not saying it is, it’s just a (very unlikely un-)-possibility.

  • mdshuai

    And I screwed it up; a very unlikely possibility was what I was going for. Don’t ask what possessed me to add the un…I mean it; don’t ask, really.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Joel O’s says:
    The Lion and Scarecrow analogies are gold. But who’s the Wizard? And who’s Dorothy? Ha.
    _______________________________________________
    The Wizard is David Stern and Dorothy is the loyal fan who hopefully wakes up to this torrid dream-turned-nightmare…my special guests feature The Lopez twins as tweedle dee and tweddle dum, Steve nash as the white rabbit and Ron artest as the mad hatter.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Any of you guys also think that Gerald Green is going to have a real breakout season one of these days? He’s been kicking some serious butt in preseason. He’s the athletic man who can shoot the J, who Dallas has lacked in the past.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    50.40.90

  • Gaz

    Josh Howard needs to stop smoking weed…
    BETCATS needs to stop smoking c0ck.

  • http://karanmadhok.blogspot.com karan

    mark cuban is obviously dorothy

  • Richie Sullivan

    It was a clever write up about the Rangers until it veered into the recycled, three-year, scrap heap of sports journalism. Thanks for the new insights. Dirk lacks courage. Kidd is old. Howard is bitter. My god, you really nailed the x’s and o’s. If you don’t want people to focus on your more disparaging insights, perhaps you shouldn’t open the article by calling the Mavs a clusterf*ck.

  • Solid

    @B. Long
    You said Dirk scored 9 in the deciding game… it was actually 12 but whos counting. But if you are going to bring that up shouldnt your Kobe be criticized for game 6 of the finals last year? oh wait its his team thats soft right?its never Kobe’s fault. So he was responsible for getting to the finals but his team was responsible for “chocking”? Man the double standard just kills me. I wish Dirk got a tan so he can be respected.

  • Solid

    it was actually 8… still whos counting

  • http://www.jcherot.blogspot.com Tripset30

    8th seed? Wow…

    Really felt B. Long’s article on Dirk. This one? Funny, but to say they will struggle to get into the playoffs is unfair. With Jason Kidd in the saddle for an entire year, they will be much better than people think, and honestly I think they have an outside shot at hoisting a chip at the end. Yes, maybe I’m loyal to a fault, but this team is too good not to be a factor in the west.

  • http://www.jcherot.blogspot.com Tripset30

    Factual error on my behalf… sorry for crediting B. Long for the Dirk article.

  • http://link Daddy26

    Germany can reach so much, if it binds the others more in, says Heusgen and dreams even about an axle Merkel – Zapatero. ,

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