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Round Table: Dallas Mavericks Roller Coaster Ride



Are you not entertained? The Dallas Mavericks missed on multiple big names, and the upcoming season season started to look like a real nightmare. However, as Mark Cuban, Donnie Nelson and that front office typically do, they steadily made some improvements, giving us Mavericks fans a reason to watch and not cringe at the idea of a 15 win rebuilding season(s). We gathered some of our troops and went over some of the big topics at hand:



How do you feel about the Harrison Barnes signing?




Ryan Wilson:  “We won’t spend money on mediocrity.” – Mark Cuban – While Barnes may not be a mediocre player, despite his struggles in the recent NBA Finals, he isn’t quite worth of a max contract either. They didn’t want to give a similar contract to Chandler Parsons, who now resides in Memphis, but one thing is for sure — They got a younger, healthier and better defender in the Barnes pickup. This was probably the biggest reaction to the first couple of days the Mavericks front office experienced, and while it may not sit well with some fans, it could still be a pickup that will be of plenty value down the road.


Dylan Duell:  Mavs fans have been crying for Dallas to get younger for years. Giving a max contract to a 24 year old is definitely their biggest commitment to youth in a while. Harrison Barnes was a role player with Golden State so it’s not fair to assume we know everything he’s capable of doing. Perhaps with a more featured role, he can live up to his new mega contract.


Nick Angsadt:  The Mavs have to take big swings, missing out on Mike Conley and Hassan Whiteside put them down in the count 0-2 (baseball term, #NeverEverQuit).  A $94 million swing on one of the biggest disappointments in The Finals sounds awful but Barnes is the same age as: Jordan Clarkson, Bismack Biyombo, Victor Oladipo, and Rodney Hood. There’s still untapped potential there, along with two good knees.


Greg Higgins:  My initial reaction towards the Harrison Barnes deal was negative. I felt the Mavericks made a knee-jerk reaction to the failure of free agency and offered him way too much money. He’s averaged 10.1 points per game in his career. His best season was last year when he averaged 11.7. He only grabs 4.6 boards a game and has 1.5 assists. Those numbers aren’t great when you think about giving him $95 million.

However, I started looking at it differently. He was playing on a team that has the NBA’s best scorer (Stephen Curry) and the best scoring duo in the league (Curry and Klay Thompson). While I hate the money, I realize that’s what NBA free agency has become. That along with the fact he’s only 24 years old, I have decided to reserve judgement on this deal. This could be great for Dallas or it could be a disaster.



What are your thoughts on the trade for Andrew Bogut?




Wilson:  If the prized medical staff in Dallas can keep him healthy, it is a fantastic move. They don’t have to shell a whole lot of money (1 year, $12.7 million) and will really add some size on that front line. Zaza was a good center, but the Mavericks really had issues on the glass, and failed to really have that rim protector, which is something that Bogut will clearly provide. The injury that pulled him from the NBA Finals was set to sideline him for 8 weeks, so while it didn’t look good on replay, he should be ready to go come training camp. Hey, he was the No. 1 overall draft pick back in 2005, and he is only 31 years of age.


Duell:  Andrew Bogut will certainly be an upgrade over Zaza Pachulia as long as he’s able to stay on the floor. He has missed at least 12 games in every season since 2007. Serving as another stopgap, Bogut obviously isn’t a long term answer at center with only a year left on his contract. I feel like I was surprised by his ability to get above the rim every time I saw him catch a lob from Steph Curry or Klay Thompson. Then again, that’s not saying much since I did watch a lot of Zaza Pachulia this season.


Angstadt:  What if I told you the Mavs could replace and upgrade everything that 1st-Half-of-the-Season Zaza gave them for only 6% more of a cap hit? Bogut is a Mavericks big man dream; his rim protection, accent, passing, and clear path fouls will fit right in next to Dirk.  Injury issues may (and probably will) arise but having Bogut on a 1-year $12.7 million deal looks way better than $16 million for four years of Mozgov…


Higgins:  The Mavericks have always had problems guarding the paint. They’ve always had problems rebounding the ball as well. I feel like Andrew Bogut addresses both of these problems. At 7’0” and 260 pounds, Bogut can play down low and defend the paint. He averages just under 9 rebounds a game for his career and 1.6 blocks per game. His scoring was down last season but has shown he can score in the past.

What I like most about this trade, though, is the veteran leadership he will bring to the team. With 11 years of experience, Bogut knows what it takes to win. He was part of the 2014 Golden State team that won the championship. He was also part of the 73 win team this year. That experience will help the Mavericks going forward.



The Mavericks signed Seth Curry. Agree or disagree on the move?




Wilson:  Absolutely love the pick up of Seth Curry. While he pales in comparison to his older brother, it’s worth noting that it took Curry some time to find his groove. Why not the same for Seth. He trains in the off-season with his brother Steph, so he’s sure to pick up some of the things along the way. His shot is deadly, so he should really work well with the pick and pops with Dirk Nowitzki, as he has also shown he can find the open guy. Those two should work well together. He can also play the 1 or 2, and is an above average defender as well. Plus, similar to the Barnes signing, it adds more youth to a roster that was in desperate need of doing so.


Duell:  I sometimes wonder if any of us would know who Seth Curry is if his brother wasn’t so awesome. He’s bounced around the league and barely found some footing in Sacramento last year. Everyone seems pretty pumped about the move, so maybe my skepticism will be proved wrong.


Angstadt:  It seems like everyone on Mavs-Twitter loves this pickup, and so do I, especially for the value.  The Curry men might not be the best business men in the world (Steph is owed $12 million next season, Seth only $2.9 million) and the Mavs were right to take advantage of it.  Seth turns 26 in August so the clock to release that Curry-Family potential is ticking but pick-and-rolling next to Dirk is as good as any place to make it happen.


Higgins:  Unfortunately this is the Curry that most people are unfamiliar with. I have to label myself in this category as well. The 25 year old will be joining the Mavericks for two years. This will be his fifth roster to be on. Of course he really only played for the Kings and that was last year. He was only in one game for Cleveland and Memphis. Then he played two games for Phoenix. Last year he played in 44 games for the Kings, while averaging 6.8 points per game. I have to believe they are hoping he will turn into something really special.



Who was the one Free Agent you think the Mavericks missed on the most?




Wilson:  Similar to last summer, it’s the big man that the Mavericks most missed out on. Hassan Whiteside would have not only added youth to the squad, but it would have given them a true piece to build with in terms of the post-Dirk era. In my opinion, had they picked him up, they probably would have came out thinking they got the better end of the DeAndre Jordan debacle. The big miss prompted the trade for Andrew Bogut, so the Mavericks will eventually have to look in a different direction for the center of the future – yet again.


Duell: I don’t think Dallas will rue the day that any of these free agents got away. Whiteside and Conley have risk factors because of mental strength and age, and all the others were just getting insane deals that will tie up cap space for better free agent classes in the future. If I had to pick one, I’d say Chandler Parsons. He showed a lot before getting hurt last season and he offered a lot to Dallas on and off the court. Now they’ll have to face him AND Conley four times a year.


Angstadt: We’re all excited about Seth but the point guard spot is still pretty weak. Mike Conley would have shored up that spot for the next four years, which would have taken him right to the end of his prime.  This one hurts because all week it really seemed like The Sources thought he was coming to DFW.  At least now the Mavs don’t have to answer the question:  Is the 8th best player at a certain position worth $30 million per year? Ask Chandler Parsons in four years…


Higgins:  One FA that we missed out – I would have to say Hassan Whiteside. I felt like he was the type of athletic big man that would fit Dallas well. I also felt that we were in perfect position to get him to leave Miami and join the Mavericks. Who wouldn’t like someone that averaged a double-double last year with 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds. Throw in his 3.7 blocks and you have a dynamic player down low.



Based on recent moves, where will the Dallas Mavericks finish next season?


Wilson:  When it comes to Western Conference, there are certain teams you can count on. If you take those teams out, it gives you anywhere from the six seed all the way down to the tenth or eleventh in terms of where the Mavericks can finish. I think that if Nowitzki continues to fight off father time, and Barnes can show he can provide more than he did when he was playing in the shadows of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Mavericks can compete. Their defense has gotten much better with the recent additions, and if Bogut can stay healthy, I think they can finish sixth or seventh, but will most likely be another quick exit for a higher seed.


Duell:  Going off of what other Western Conference teams have done this summer, I think it’s fair to put the Mavs anywhere from 6th to 10th in wild West. I really like what they’ve done today and in bringing back Deron Williams and Dwight Powell, but teams like the Grizzlies have improved, and young teams like the Jazz, Timberwolves and Pelicans are only going to improve. It’s too early to project an exact spot in the standings.


Angstadt:  Now that Kevin Durant says he’s signing with the Super Friends (still not convinced he’s not pulling a DeAndre Jordan just to screw them over) the middle tiers of the West totally opens up. It should shake out: #1 Warriors, #2 Spurs, #3-6 Clippers, Grizzlies, Thunder, Blazers (in some order) #7-11 Rockets, Jazz, Mavericks, Pelicans, Timberwolves and #12-15 Kings, Nuggets, Lakers, Suns.


Higgins:  Since I’m not sold on the moves they have made yet, I’m still going to say the Mavs finish 6th or 7th in the Conference. There are still some really good teams in front of them. 



What is  your Free Agency grade up to this point for the Mavericks?


Wilson:  Crazy what a couple days can do. If you asked me back on Saturday, I would have said, “Can I give a worse grade than F?” After the most recent pickups, it’s truly impressive just how good the front office is when it comes to picking up the pieces and putting something together that fits. Is it as impressive as the idea of Whiteside or Conley? No. However, the Mavericks got younger, which is something I think they drastically needed. They have a couple of pieces in Barnes and Curry that can really grow into something, or at worse, give them some value in terms of trade assets and value.


Duell:  I’d give Dallas a B-. Not many of us truly expected them to land Conley and/or Whiteside, but their handling of the Chandler Parsons situation was just wrong. However, their recovery with Barnes and Bogut is very commendable.


Angstadt:  There’s an art to bouncing back, never settle down with a girl off a rebound, but the Mavs have found a way every year to at least grab something when Plan A falls through. Grabbing Conley and Whiteside would have been an A grade, Parsons and someone like Biyombo would have been a B so these moves probably account for C’s, which I’m told, still get degrees.


Higgins:  C+

May seem a little harsh but I’m not sold on Barnes, yet. Williams coming back will help as will Dirk. And since this is a free agency grade, I’m not counting the Bogut acquisition since it was via a trade.



Dallas Sports Fanatic Staff

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