Mavs mailbag: Dirk and Monta as All-Stars?


Let's dig right into this week's Mavericks mailbag. You can submit questions via Twitter (@espn_macmahon) or through my ESPN mailbag.

John (Lake Charles, La.): Do you think Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki can be All-Stars this season?

The Mavs will need to rack up a ton of wins to have any chance to getting both guys to New Orleans for the All-Star Game.

My hunch is that Ellis has a better chance of being an All-Star for the first time than Nowitzki does of making his 12th appearance, especially if Ellis continues to put up 22 points per game in efficient fashion. It’s not just about their numbers; it’s about the numbers at their position.

Look at all the stud power forwards in the West. The Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Golden State’s David Lee, Memphis’ Zach Randolph and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge were all All-Stars last season. Minnesota’s Kevin Love is healthy again and producing like an MVP candidate. New Orleans’ Anthony Davis is off to an awesome start in his second season. There will be at least a couple of very worthy power forward candidates who don’t make the cut.

There isn’t nearly as much depth at shooting guard. James Harden is a lock, and you can count on Kobe Bryant being voted in by the fans. Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Kevin Martin will have cases if they keep producing like they have been so far this season, but so will Ellis.

Maybe Ellis spends the All-Star break in the Big Easy while Dirk relaxes on a Mexican beach again.

Jose (Duncanville): What was up with Rick Carlisle changing the lineup the other night? Was it a sign of Sam Dalembert getting benched or what do you make of it?

It didn’t have anything to do with Dalembert’s performance. Carlisle decided to go small against the Sixers, not wanting to use Dalembert as a defender against Spencer Hawes, a 3-point-popping big man.

Carlisle admitted his mistake by going back to the regular starting lineup for the second half and then called himself out in his postgame press conference. Dalembert responded about as well as possible with an eight-point, 14-rebound, three-block performance off the bench.

I wouldn’t expect Carlisle to tinker with the starting lineup again anytime soon.

Jason (Dallas): What are your early impressions on Jose Calderon's play so far? Do you think he's been as advertised? He's clearly a great 3-point shooter but not much of a creator or defender. He seems less of a facilitator too since Monta Ellis initiates the offense a lot more.

The Mavs were well aware of Calderon’s athletic limitations when they signed him, so his defensive issues and inability to drive aren’t surprises.

It was a bit disappointing to see Calderon be sloppy with the ball during crunch time in Miami, but he’s pretty much been what the Mavs expected. He has value as a floor spacer and facilitator, and if Ellis keeps attacking like he has, it’s fine with the Mavs if Calderon is doing more of the former than the latter.

Jake (Philadelphia): 1. Do you see the Mavs legitimately exploring any trade options with Shawn Marion? He and Vince Carter seem to be their two assets, but would it most likely be Marion, if one were to go? 2. If the Sixers start to fall off, possibly starting with the loss to Mavs, do you think Evan Turner for Marion and possibly a third team in mix would be a realistic possibility?

The Mavs love Marion, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out the possibility of them exploring options with him leading up to the trade deadline. They’d be foolish not to. Marion is an interesting chip because he could have value to a contender as a defensive-minded, playoff-tested veteran or to a future-focused team as an expiring contract. But the Mavs won’t dump Marion unless they really like the return. I haven’t discussed Turner with any of the Dallas decision-makers, but my gut feeling is that they wouldn’t be interested, considering he’ll be a restricted free agent looking for a rich contract this summer.

@electiclight41 on Twitter: It seems like this year’s team is having the most fun it’s had since the Steve Nash days. Is off-court chemistry as good as it seems?

This group seems to get along well, but I thought the chemistry was pretty good when the Mavs were partying in Miami Beach after the 2011 Finals.