Dallas Mavericks: Andray Blatche
The only certainty about the Mavericks’ roster next season is that Dirk Nowitzki will start at power forward.
That means the Mavs aren’t in the market for established power forwards such as Josh Smith, Paul Millsap and David West. (No, they aren’t interested in Smith as a small forward. Especially not for the kind of money that he wants.)
The Mavs will explore budget-friendly possibilities to back up Nowitzki, preferably a guy with pick-and-pop ability. Some potential fits:
Matt Bonner: He’s an elite 3-point shooter, shooting 41.7 percent from long range in his career and better than that during his last three seasons in San Antonio. He’ll never be described as athletic and certainly isn’t a one-on-one defensive stopper, but he’s better than you might think on that end of the floor because he grasps team concepts so well. As a rebounder, he makes Dirk look like Dennis Rodman. The Spurs need to make a decision on Bonner by Saturday. That’s the deadline for buying out his $3.95 million salary for next season. He might be a fit for the Mavs in the $2 million range.
|Tim MacMahon joins Galloway and Company to discuss the NBA draft and the possibility of Dwight Howard joining the Mavericks.
Earl Clark: The 6-foot-10, 225-pound Clark has decent size and athleticism and showed the ability to at least be a streaky 3-point shooter last season. But the chances of him coming to Dallas are awfully slim. The Mavs don’t have enough interest in him to pay more than what the Lakers can give Clark.
Lamar Odom's awful season will eventually be forgiven around here, especially if the Mavericks can put together a spirited title defense in a couple of weeks.
But it's likely it won't be forgotten for some time. That's how pitiful his four months in Big D turned out to be.
Odom was banished from the Mavs after last Saturday's game at Memphis, departing after averaging a career-low 6.6 points in 50 games this season. With the Lakers last season, the Sixth Man of the Year averaged 14.4 points in 82 games. The 7.8 points per game difference, according to ESPN Stats & Info is tied for the third-largest dropoff from last season to this season.
Stephen Jackson, now finding new life with the San Antonio Spurs, is the winner of the biggest scoring average dropoff at 8.4 points per game. Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche is next, down 8.3. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley is tied with Odom at 7.8.
Part of Odom's offensive dip, ESPN Stats & Info discovered, has been a result of fewer attempts inside 10 feet of the basket. Odom took nearly 60 percent of his shots from inside 10 feet last season, but took just under 44 percent of his shots from such distances this season.
The most notable stat is that Odom had just five dunks this season compared to 45 last season.
Centers Brendan Haywood and Brandan Wright participated in the morning shootaround and are expected to play.
That's great news for a struggling team that was built to rely on its depth. Yes, the Mavs have had two full days to rest from their awful road trip, but that doesn't mean that the second-oldest team in the league will be fully recharged from playing five games in six nights and nine an 12.
Getting two big bodies back after five- and six-game absences to defend and rebound will be key in a game the Mavs simply have to have.
Wright sustained a concussion March 2 at New Orleans. Haywood, the Mavs' starter all season, sprained his ankle in the opening minute of the loss at Oklahoma City on March 5.
"We miss him a lot," coach Rick Carlisle said of Haywood. "We basically missed him for five games and we struggled. It's a case where the way our team is structured, and it's the same as it was last year, if we're missing one guy that's a key guy it can really affect our entire thing. He's very important and Brandan is very important to us."
Dallas, desperate to turn around a 2-7 stretch since returning from the All-Star break, will be happy to have its center rotation back on the floor against Wizards big men, 7-foot starting center JaVale McGee and 6-11 Andray Blatche.
Wright slowly emerged as key reserve for the Mavs, providing energy and above-the-rim play after being seldom used in the first month or so of the season. Wright's ascension has dropped Ian Mahinmi's minutes, but Mahinmi, who actually leads the three with a 6.3 scoring average, made a strong case for himself over the last week to see more floor time as the fill-in starting center.
But, Terry said he won't be in uniform. He will be there, but he said he's planning on coaching up some of the NBA young guns that will take the court at the P.C. Cobb Athletic Complex. The exhibition game is being organized by the Josh Howard Foundation and follows the lead of other NBA players that have organized recent exhibition games in various cities to pass the time during the lockout.
"I'm just coaching," Terry said via text message. "I'm ready to play a real game, but I will be there to support a good cause. Now, if J-Kidd and Dirk play, I'm in all day."
Mavs point guard Jason Kidd and NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki are not on the billing. NBA players who will suit up include Washington Wizards former first round-pick John Wall, plus Howard's other Wizards teammates Nick Young and Andray Blatche, Mavs forward Corey Brewer, plus former Mavs DeSagana Diop and Marquis Daniels and Seagoville's own LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, among others.
As for when Terry will finally get to lace up his sneakers for a real NBA game and begin the defense of Dallas' title, well, the Mavs' player representative is only sure of one thing when it comes to the lockout.
"Can't wait for the season to start," Terry said.
For now, he'll just have to stick to coaching.
The game starts at 6 p.m. Tickets can purchased at www.joshhowardfoundation.com or by calling 214-466-9983.
Before MFFLs breathe a big sigh of relief, let me remind folks that the Washington Wizards didn't have their high-scoring power forward in the season opener against the Mavs. And Andray Blatche came off the bench to look like a star in the Wizards' win, putting up 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.