- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor and MavsOutsider.com editor in chief Bryan Gutierrez will join me each week to run a three-man weave on a few questions on the minds of Mavs fans.
What kind of impression did Monta Ellis make in his first week with the Mavericks?
Gutierrez: He has left an incredibly strong first impression. Ellis has an aggressive nature on offense that the Mavs, specifically Dirk Nowitzki, need. It's a given he's going to probably gamble too much on the defensive end of the floor, but the team will likely sidestep that issue as long as he emerges as an incredible complement in the two-man game with Nowitzki.
Taylor: I knew he could score. Anybody who follows the NBA knows that. I wanted to see how he meshed with Dirk. Initially, you have to like what he does. He can run the pick-and-roll and because he's such a good scorer Dirk is getting a lot of wide open shots. And if Dirk is going to get a lot of wide-open looks this season, he'll average 22 points a game.
MacMahon: Whoa! I reserve the right to be wrong, and I just might have been off target to rip the signing of Ellis. His bad field-goal percentages and poor reputation earned in recent years provided plenty of ammo, but he's flourished in his new surroundings and new system. All Ellis has done in his first four games is average 25 points and five assists while shooting 53.1 percent from the floor and putting forth respectable effort on defense. Hey, I didn't like the Tyson Chandler trade when the Mavs pulled the trigger on that deal, either.
Rick Carlisle referenced that Shawn Marion's No. 0 should be considered for the American Airlines Center rafters after he retires. Yea or nay?
Gutierrez: This is only Marion's fifth year with the Mavericks, making the argument tough based on longevity, but the man has been one of the most underrated players in the history of the game. Carlisle went out of his way to put him on the same level as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and LeBron James in terms of defensive versatility. Under appreciated for far too long, Marion's No. 0 should hang in the American Airlines Center rafters.
Taylor: I think retired numbers should be for superstar players associated with your club. Even though he's been here awhile and played a key role on the Mavs, if you asked a typical NBA fan he's probably more closely associated with the Suns. He's a terrific all-around player and one of the best defensive players in the league for years. If Mark Cuban wanted to honor him, I wouldn't protest.
MacMahon: To me, it comes down to one question: Could they have won the championship without him? In Marion's case, the answer is absolutely not, so he absolutely deserves to have his number hang from the AAC rafters. Who knows when the Mavs will win another title? They should savor that run as much as possible after the key players retire.
What's your biggest worry about the Mavs after a week?
Gutierrez: This team is likely dangling by a string at the center position. If Samuel Dalembert gets into any kind of foul trouble, they have to rely on the tenacious but undersized DeJuan Blair longer than desired. Brandan Wright isn't the cure-all in that scenario, so the centers have to make the best of it because they have no room for error.
Taylor: The Mavs don't rebound. That's a big problem for a bad defensive team because it means other teams are going to get extra possessions to attack the Mavs' defense.
MacMahon: Defense is the biggest concern, and I don't see that changing. Shawn Marion is a human Swiss Army knife, but he can do only so much to eliminate matchups. Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis are still going to have to guard somebody. The over-under for Carlisle saying "disposition" this season is 1,354.
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