Let’s try something a little different than what we’re used to seeing from the Dallas media. Dallas media likes to talk doom-and-gloom for the high percentage chance that they’ll be proven right. They’re all looking for the “I told you so” moment. That’s what they’re in the business for; credibility and credentials. I guess I don’t blame them due to the fact that outside of the 2011 Mavs title, the city’s sports scene has been a calamity of failure. But what happened to a little old fashioned optimism? In a world where the glass is half empty, I’m turning the tables and will explain why this Mavs team has a fighting chance this season.
Don’t dismiss this. This isn’t some unrealistic, uneducated attempt at trying to convince you to still tune in. It’s an honest assessment of the potential of this team from a knowledgeable fan’s perspective. Just hear me out……
Tonight, your Mavericks head to the Staples Center to play the Clippers. They currently sit at 8-9. We all know how they got to such a mediocre record. It’s been inconsistent play in a lot of different aspects of the game. But let’s think about that word, “inconsistent.” It hints at “potential.” Much like the talk amongst Dallas Cowboys fans these days. We all say, “If only the defense could make consistent stops.” If we’re talking about Rangers’ pitcher Derek Holland, we might say; “If only Holland could pitch with more consistency.” In regards to the Mavs; “If only Darren Collison could play point guard at his potential, consistently.” What we’re basically saying is that the opportunity is there for success and we just have to play up to that potential.
Reason #2: RICK CARLISLE.
But how do the Mavs become more consistent? I think that falls on coaching. Coach Rick Carlisle will get the best out of his players. If he doesn’t on one particularly night, then he’ll coach them and reprimand them into consistency. Next to Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson, Rick Carlisle is the next best coach this town has ever seen. Some of us might be taking this for granted. Carlisle always gets the best out of his players…… unless that player’s name is Lamar Odom.
Reason #3: IT COULD BE WORSE.
Considering that this team was put together in the last minute with some string and duct tape, a 7-8 record is not bad at all. We’ve had key wins over the Lakers and Knicks to show for it as well as a few hard fought losses that should’ve been wins. Of course we’ve had our blowouts as well, but this article is about optimism. The talent is there. Mavs have a roster of veterans and young bucks and they’re still learning how to play with one another. They still struggle with stagnant offense that leads to turnovers as well as the constant struggle for rebounds. The team struggles with help defense at times but that takes trust among your teammates. Along with those struggles, there are also games where OJ Mayo does OJ Mayo type things and puts the team on his shoulders. And there’s nights like Saturday night when Elton Brand goes all “Vintage” on us and brings in a double-double. There’s night when Vince Carter drop 25 points and nights when Shawn Marion is shutting down superstars. This team could’ve easily blamed its failures on lack of playing time together and “mailed it in”. But the culture of the Mavericks organization is winning. I would expect nothing else but effort moving forward.
Reason #4: DEREK FISHER.
I know, I know. He’s 38 years old and has trouble scoring. But he’s basically a lesser version of Jason Kidd in terms of keeping level heads on the court. Fisher is a smart player and past champion. The Mavs had a need at point guard because of bad decision making on the part of Darren Collison, Roddy B, and Dojo. Fisher can right that ship. The best thing for a young PG with the talent of Darren Collison is to learn from a proven veteran and that’s the situation the Mavs are in right now. There’s nothing negative that can come from this. Worst case scenario is that Derek Fisher struggles offensively and Darren Collison plays more minutes, which is basically the situation we were in before the arrival of Fisher.
Reason #5: DIRK.
The 2012-2013 Dallas Mavericks are not a masterpiece. Of course there’s problems with this team that may not have solutions. But there is plenty to be excited about, ESPECIALLY with the return of Nowitzki in a few weeks. There’s a group of NBA teams that wonder blindly amongst the NBA landscape, with no hope in sight; Bobcats, Raptors, Wizards. There are the teams that are the favorites and media darlings that were picked to win the title months ago; Heat, Spurs, Thunder. There’s teams that are floating in mid air and going in no particular direction; Suns, Pacers, Magic, Hawks. There’s the up-and-comers; Golden State, Cavs, Philly, Milwaukee. There’s the teams with potential that can be forces in the league but may buckle under the pressure of the media and hefty expectations; Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics, Nets. And there’s teams that have the tools to contend with anyone but are flying under the radar. Free from all the media attention and pressure; Nuggets, Twolves, and your Dallas Mavericks. Keep sleeping on them, America.
*Side note: I left the Memphis Grizzlies out of the paragraph above because they’re a strange breed. They’re not media darlings or pre season picks for the title, but could easily walk through the playoffs. They’re not necessarily a “sleeper” either and they’re a few steps ahead of an “up and comer”. Which I guess makes them my pick for NBA Champions.