Dallas Mavericks: Stock Report
Darren Collison – We could have gone with Dirk Nowitzki, who looked a lot more Dirk-like over the last two games, but there was never any doubt that the big German would eventually work his way back into form. There was plenty of doubt about Collison after the Mavs gave up on him as their starting point guard less than a fifth of the way into the season. The only reason he got his job back is because Derek Fisher decided to return to his rocking chair, and it still took coach Rick Carlisle a couple of games to commit to Collison over Dominique Jones. In five games since then, Collison has averaged 17.2 points, 5.4 assists and only 1.8 turnovers while shooting 51.5 percent from the floor and hitting half of his 3-point attempts. It’s still quite a stretch to envision Collison in the Mavs’ long-term plans, but he deserves credit for being professional and productive in a situation that would have prompted a lot of players to pout.
Dominique Jones – DoJo seems to have landed in the doghouse that Carlisle claims doesn’t exist. Jones has played a grand total of 12 minutes over the last four games, losing the backup point guard role to Rodrigue Beaubois and falling out of the rotation. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the swift decline in Jones’ playing time occurred around the time that Carlisle admitted screaming in the faces of a couple of players at practices and shootarounds. When Carlisle made that public admission, he threatened suspending players who continued to fail to execute their responsibilities. Carlisle backed off that a couple of days later, surely knowing he’d face the wrath of the NBA players association if he followed through on the threat, but the NBAPA can’t stop him from banishing players to the end of the bench. Jones didn’t take off his warmups during the Mavs’ two-game road trip.
Brandan Wright – Wright answered the bell when the Mavs needed him Thursday night, scoring a season-high 16 points in 23 minutes against the Suns. Not bad for a guy who had more DNP-CDs (three) than points (two) in the previous four games. Wright also had two blocks and two steals in the win over the Suns. (Granted, he only had four rebounds, and his poor production on the boards is the primary reason he’d been banished to the end of the bench.) Wright will probably another opportunity to mark his mark Saturday night in Houston with Chris Kaman and Shawn Marion nursing injuries.
Jae Crowder – The Mavs’ second-round rookie is mired in a miserable shooting slump. It started during last week’s back-to-back in Philadelphia and Chicago, but it’s been especially bad over the last three games, when Crowder scored a total of six points on 1-of-16 shooting. Coach Rick Carlisle replaced Crowder in Thursday’s starting lineup with Dahntay Jones.
Vince Carter – Even with a sore hamstring, he had a vintage Vinsanity performance in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks, lighting it up for 25 points in 23 minutes on 9-of-17 shooting, including 5-of-10 in 3-point range. He carried the Mavs in the fourth quarter, when he scored 14 points. The 35-year-old sixth man also had a nice night in the Mavs’ win in Cleveland, scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in 21 minutes. Too bad he didn’t hit the regulation buzzer-beater against Golden State. If that shot goes down, the Mavs would be on a three-game winning streak.
Rodrigue Beaubois – Roddy B. has played a grand total of seven minutes in the last three games, and those all came at shooting guard. He has lost the backup point guard gig to Dominique Jones. That switch came after Beaubois’ two-point, 0-of-4 shooting night in Friday’s loss to the Pacers. Coach Rick Carlisle said he’s concerned about the health of Beaubois, who has sprained his left ankle twice since the preseason opener. Reading between the lines, it seemed as if Carlisle was questioning Beaubois’ toughness, which has been a trend throughout the guard’s four-year career.
Shawn Marion – He hasn’t played in the last week, but his value has never been more apparent. Opposing small forwards Carmelo Anthony, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Andrei Kirilenko torched the Mavs during Dallas’ three-game losing streak. The Mavs firmly believe they would have won at least two of those games with a healthy Matrix in the mix. “He’s probably our best all-around player, including Dirk,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you talk about all phases of the game, he impacts the game in a lot of ways. You always miss a guy like that.” The good news is that Marion is close to being ready to return from his sprained left MCL. He’s expected to travel with the team during this weekend’s road trip to Indiana and Cleveland.
Brandan Wright – Every starter had their share of struggles during the Mavs’ three-game losing streak, but Wright felt Carlisle’s wrath the most in terms of minutes. The lanky center/forward went from the starting lineup to the end of the bench, never taking off his warmups during Wednesday’s win over the Washington Wizards. Chris Kaman replaced Wright as the starter and Carlisle opted to give Bernard James all the backup center minutes due to the toughness the rookie displayed in the previous game. Wright played only nine minutes in Monday’s loss to Minnesota, when he failed to get a rebound.
Darren Collison – He might be a keeper. He’s definitely an upgrade over the 2011-12 version of Jason Kidd. Collison opened his Mavericks stint with consecutive 17-point performances, exceeding Kidd’s highest scoring total from last season. He also averaged 5.5 assists and only 1.5 turnovers. The Mavs want Collison, who has extraordinary speed and quickness, to push the tempo. He did an excellent job of that against the Lakers and in the first half in Utah.
Elton Brand – With Dirk Nowitzki out, the Mavs need Brand to be an effective offensive weapon. He fell far short during the Mavs’ season-opening road trip, scoring a total of only 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting during the two games. He has contributed in other areas, recording 18 rebounds, four steals and three blocks while banging with Dwight Howard and Al Jefferson. But Brand has a long track record of being an efficient offensive player. The Mavs especially need him to help shoulder the scoring load early in the season.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk just keeps shooting one-legged fadeaways over Father Time. He doesn’t want to sit out any games in the final week of the regular season and doesn’t look like he needs any extra rest. All he’s done in the last two games is put up 40 and 35 points. Nowitzki’s performance in Wednesday’s comeback win over the Rockets was especially impressive, considering that it came off the heels of playing 96 minutes in a 36-hour span. Dirk’s legs didn’t look tired as he scored 31 points in the second half, including 21 in the fourth quarter.
Shawn Marion – The Matrix had been on a tear, posting four double-doubles in five games and averaging 11.2 points and 12.6 rebounds in that span. But he wouldn’t have a double-double if his production from the two games this week was combined. He had four points and two rebounds in the triple-overtime loss to the Jazz, watching the last 27 minutes from the bench. He followed that up with a four-point, six-rebound performance in the comeback win over the Rockets, when he sat out the fourth quarter again. The four days of rest before the regular-season finale could benefit Marion as much as any Maverick other than Jason Kidd.
Jason Kidd – The 39-year-old point guard, who has had a terrible season physically and statistically, has looked like the Kidd the Mavs need in his two games since he returned from a four-game layoff to rest and rehab a strained right groin that had bothered him all season. He’s quicker and more explosive and is playing more aggressively than he has been all season. He put up a seven-point, seven-assist, six-rebound, two-block, one-steal line in 22 minutes in Tuesday’s win over the Kings. He followed that with a better performance against the Warriors, coming within one rebound of a triple-double while dishing out 12 assists and getting three steals and two blocks in 33 minutes. The question now: Can Kidd keep it up during a stretch of seven games in 10 days that started last night?
Lamar Odom – One more time, for old times’ sake. Maybe the most underachieving season in NBA history came to a premature (yet too late) end after Odom’s halftime confrontation with owner Mark Cuban, who finally got sick of Odom’s chronic unprofessionalism and lack of commitment after watching the forward play four lifeless minutes against Memphis, hours after Odom was late to a team meeting. Odom left Dallas on Tuesday wearing a T-shirt from his clothing line that was purple and featured a gold drawing of the Larry O’Brien Trophy on the flight home to L.A. It was classic Khloe’s little Lam Lam: passive-aggressive, self-promoting and Lakers-loving.
Delonte West – He’ll deal with significant pain in his surgically repaired right ring finger the rest of the season, but West is back and played a major role in the Mavs’ last two wins. He’s the starting point guard with Jason Kidd sidelined by a strained right groin, a stint that started in the fourth quarter in Orlando, when West scored seven of his 15 points and dished out two of his five assists in that comeback win. After an off game in the lopsided loss to the Clippers, West bounced back by scoring 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the win over the Grizzlies. West, whose on-the-ball defensive ability lightens Shawn Marion’s load, has done a tremendous job taking care of the ball despite being limited with his taped and padded right hand. He has only three turnovers in 86 minutes over the last three games.
Vince Carter – Carter’s scoring averaged has dipped below double digits and he’s been especially inefficient this week. He has a total of only eight points on 3-of-15 shooting in the two games so far on this homestand. It’s never a good thing when a starting shooting guard has more fouls (four) and as many turnovers as points over a two-game span. The 35-year-old Carter has been struggling since the All-Star break, averaging 7.9 points on. 349 shooting in that span, significant drops from his pre-break numbers of 10.9 points on .442 shooting. If Carter doesn’t snap out of his slump soon, it’s likely that West will start at shooting guard once Kidd returns.
Lamar Odom –- After Odom crashed to an all-time low, with a one-point, one-rebound, one-assist performance and an 0-2-0 line sandwiching his first career DNP-CD, he’s actually had two consecutive productive games. This represents major progress for the NBA’s most disappointing player this season. You wouldn’t think that the reigning Sixth Man of the Year averaging 10.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over two games would be a huge deal, but that’s how low the standards have fallen for Lam Lam. The Mavs hope his aggressiveness and interest level in the last two games is a sign of things to come, not fool’s gold.
Jason Terry -- Jet just made a fool of himself in Miami. The gold shoes were silly. The pregame talk of signing with the Heat was stupid and selfish. The 1-of-10 shooting performance was sorry. If you’re going to go out of your way to make yourself a story, you better have more points than turnovers.
Jason Kidd – Kidd had two of his best performances of the season in wins over the Spurs and Nuggets, when he combined for 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, 20 assists, four steals and only one turnover. Consider that a reminder of what Kidd is capable of when he has fresh legs, the benefit of a relaxed schedule and light minutes in last week’s wins over the lottery-bound Wizards and Bobcats. Kidd didn’t play well against the Lakers -– something you could say about any Maverick -– when he had to be the primary defender on Kobe Bryant. Consider that a reminder of the dangers of asking Kidd, who celebrates his 39th birthday today, to do too much.
Lamar Odom – This is getting redundant, but Lam Lam hit a new low with his quadruple-uno against the Lakers. It’s never a good sign when a player’s famous wife complains via Twitter about the lack of “positive energy” from the home crowd during a dreadful performance. Odom actually showed signs of life in the previous game, when he had nine points and four assists in the win over the Nuggets, but that’s been the exception recently. In 45 minutes against top-tier West foes (Spurs and Lakers), Odom had a grand total of five points and four rebounds while missing nine of 10 shots from the floor.
Rodrigue Beaubois -- The Roddy B. roller coaster shot up this week with two lottery teams in town. In wins over the Wizards and Bobcats, Beaubois combined for 33 points on 15-of-24 shooting, 10 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and only two turnovers. He played so well that coach Rick Carlisle was comfortable letting Jason Kidd rest the entire fourth quarter in both games. Beaubois is attacking offensively and competing defensively. The big question: Can the kid sustain it against quality competition?
Brendan Haywood -- It’s not the big man’s fault, but he suddenly can’t stay healthy. Seven quarters after Haywood returned from a sprained left ankle, he sprained his right knee. The Mavs describe it as a mild sprain, but it’s likely that Haywood will miss some time. That’s especially bad news with Tim Duncan (twice) and Andrew Bynum on the schedule in the next week.
Dirk Nowitzki - The lower back tweak from last week obviously isn’t a long-term worry. Nowitzki has averaged 28.3 points on 52.6 percent shooting in the last four games.
He had one of the most efficient 40-point performances of his career in Saturday’s win over the Jazz, when he made 14 of 21 shots from the floor while becoming the first 40-point scorer to play less than 30 minutes since Rodrigue Beaubois in 2010.
|Does Jason Terry have a beef with Rick Carlisle for sitting him in crunchtime against the Suns? Ben and Skin weigh in. |
Nowitzki came through in the clutch Tuesday against the Knicks, scoring 11 points of his 28 points in the final 4:34 after New York’s lead-seizing 15-0 run, sealing the win for the Mavs. Why didn’t Dirk get the ball with the game on the line in losses to the Thunder and Suns?
Jason Terry – Jet, Dirk’s closing sidekick for the last seven years, has been benched for crunch time twice in the last week.
In last Friday’s loss to New Orleans, coach Rick Carlisle opted to go with Rodrigue Beaubois’ hot hand (25 points) instead of ice-cold Terry (two points, 1-9 FG). In Thursday’s loss to the Suns, Carlisle banished Terry to the bench after an awful excuse for blocking out allowed Phoenix’s Shannon Brown to get one of the easiest putback dunks you’ll ever see. Terry watched while Beaubois, who had an off night, missed two shots in the final seconds of the 96-94 loss.
That was the third game in the last five that Terry scored in single digits.
Rodrigue Beaubois – None of the Mavs have played especially well since the All-Star break. Beaubois has at least played aggressively since returning from a personal leave to grieve his father’s unexpected death. He has 27 points on 10-of-26 shooting in the two losses this week. His jumper isn’t falling, but it’s encouraging to see the dynamic third-year guard attacking off the dribble. The Mavs can only hope Lamar Odom is this mentally engaged when he returns.
Dirk Nowitzki – Odom is ineligible for this spot because he’s a penny stock at this point. Nowitzki lands here because of lower back tightness that caused him to leave Wednesday’s loss to Memphis in the opening minute of the second quarter. He’s expected to play tonight in New Orleans, but a sore back has to be considered a significant concern with seven games on the schedule in the next nine days. Nowitzki wasn’t very efficient in the first game back from the All-Star break, shooting only 7-of-19 shots from the floor in a loss to the lottery-bound Nets that he described as “brutal.”
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