Dallas Mavericks: Keith Grant

Mavs face long odds in Tuesday's lottery

May, 21, 2013
5/21/13
10:00
AM CT
The Mavericks will need a lot of luck to avoid owning the 13th pick of the NBA draft.

There is about a two percent chance that a Mavs ping pong ball will pop up in the top three picks during Tuesday night’s lottery. Dallas has a 0.6 percent chance to get the No. 1 pick.

President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, who will represent the Mavs at the drawing along with assistant general manager Keith Grant, plans to do everything in his power to improve those odds. He plans to try to tempt the basketball gods by wearing his outfit from Game 6 of the 2011 Finals.

This is the first time the Mavs have had to attend the lottery drawing since 2000, months after Mark Cuban bought a team. They did have one lottery pick during the last dozen years, when Washington drafted Devin Harris fifth overall on the Mavs’ behalf as part of the trade that sent Antawn Jamison to the Wizards.

AJ: 'Would do anything to have that moment back'

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
4:34
PM CT
DALLAS -- With Avery Johnson's return, inevitably talk of the failed 2006 Finals remains a topic of intrigue. Johnson made peace long ago with the blown 2-0 lead, one that was five minutes away from becoming a commanding 3-0 margin before Dwyane Wade took over and the Miami Heat won four in a row.

Still, making peace doesn't mean Johnson doesn't think about how close he came to leading the Dallas Mavericks to its first NBA title. And it doesn't mean it still doesn't sting either.

"More than anything [I think about] that 10-point lead with about five minutes to go and we just could not get a bucket. We couldn’t get stops, could not get a bucket and Miami had a guy [Wade] that averaged 20 free throws a game," Johnson said. "I just felt awfully bad for our team. You know I would do anything to have that moment back again. Because anytime you get in the Finals, you’re one of the last two teams standing and I’d do anything to have that chance back again, and I know Dallas would love to get back to the Finals after that."

Johnson took over the Mavs late in the 2004-05 season from Don Nelson,who stepped down after acknowleding that he had lost his desire to coach the team.

"That first day was still kind of surreal," Johnson said. "Nellie at 9 a.m. informed me that I was going to be the head coach. The next thing you know we had shootaround at 11, and he passed me a whistle and said, 'Boys, so long, here’s the next coach.' That’s typical Nellie."

The Finals trip came in Johnson's first full season as head coach and he won the NBA's Coach of the Year Award. As fast as the ride up was -- including a franchise-best 67-win season in 2006-07 -- the bottom fell out quickly as well -- including a six-game playoff loss to Golden State following the 67 wins. It all came to end in May 2008 after the Mavs feebly lost a five-game first-round playoff series to the New Orleans Hornets.

After spending the next two seasons in the ESPN studious as an NBA analyst, Johnson was hired as head coach of the rebuilding New Jersey Nets under new Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Here's more of Johnson's thoughts on a variety of topics after the Nets wrapped up practice Wednesday afternoon at the American Airlines Center:

On staying in contact with Mavs players and personnel: Mark [Cuban] and I text every three weeks or so. [Jason] Terry is good. I get a lot of messages from Dirk Nowitzki through [Nets assistant coach] popeye [Jones], [assistant general manager] Keith Grant and I are still close. I’m really good with everybody here."

On having regrets from time in Dallas: "Oh no, none, no regrets, no way, not one. I would say as you go back, I was 39 years old when I got this job, maybe a lineup change here or there, or a situation here or there, but I wouldn’t say as a regret. It’s something I learn from."

On how he's changed: "I’m a different person in some ways. Not from discipline or accountability or details, just teaching a lot more, I got younger guys. I inherited a [Dallas] team that didn’t have a lot of playoff experience, but had quite a bit of regular-season experience and basketball players that could work themselves out of some jams. I’m teaching a lot more now than I did then at that point.

On what caused Josh Howard's downfall:"I talked to him one or two times in the offseason. Josh is recovering from an ACL injury and he’s 30 now and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with his career. Obviously, there were some setbacks here, but Josh played awfully well for me. Josh was the best first-quarter player that I coached and I had seen in a long time. His versatility at the 3-spot really was a huge asset for us. Josh got better, became an All-Star. Obviously, there was a setback here and there, but I’m interested to see what type of player he’s going to be post-ACL injury, because if he can get back to playing the way he played when he was an All-Star he’s going to be an asset for any franchise."

On being fired despite owning the best winning percentage (.735) in franchise and league history:Time for me to go. That was it. Time for me to go. Like we say sometimes in professional sports, teams need a new voice and a coach needs a new audience, no matter what his record is. That’s why, again, you see me still in contact with Mark Cuban. That’s why he still gets one of my beautiful Christmas cards every year. I don’t think when a guy gets fired it’s always got to be a bad thing and there has to be animosity. When I left San Antonio, [coach Gregg] Popovich helped me pack when I went to Denver, and he’s one of my closest friends. So, again, it’s the same thing here. Because I got fired it [doesn't] always got to be a bad thing. Everybody just needed to go in a different direction. I needed a two-year break and it was fantastic, on a personal level and on a professional level."

On reuniting with point guard Devin Harris: "It's been good. I'm glad to be back with Devin. He’s playing awfully well. The two games he missed here recently [with a knee injury] we definitely missed him. He came back and had 18 [points] and 13 [assists] last night. When he’s on the floor and he’s playing well we’re a pretty good team. And he’s got a lot of pressure on him because when he’s not playing well, we’re not as good."

On if he still hears Mark Cuban's voice in his head screaming at officials from his baseline seat: Not at all. That was a good thing because that actually got me hired because he was so close to the bench. [Prokhorov] sits in the suites and I barely even see him sometimes after the games."

Mavs' Fall to help NBA's South Africa offices

January, 6, 2010
1/06/10
8:31
AM CT
BOISE, Idaho -- Mavericks director of scouting Amadou Fall, who normally would be part of Dallas’ annual contingent here at the D-League Showcase, has officially accepted the league’s offer to help launch new NBA offices in the South African capital of Johannesburg.

The Mavs, though, have not yet decided if they will seek an immediate replacement for Fall, who had a key role in the drafting of prized Mavs rookie Rodrigue Beaubois and spent more than a decade with the franchise.

Their traveling party in Boise is sizable even without the popular Fall, headed by Mavs president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson. Also here: Mavs assistant general manager Keith Grant, veteran scout Dick Baker and two representatives from the D-League franchise coming to the Dallas suburb of Frisco next season which Nelson co-owns: Spud Webb from the front office and coach Nancy Lieberman.

League officials pursued the Senegal native for the South African post for some time and were determined to hire Fall, who has already served as a lead ambassador for the league on numerous "Basketball Without Borders" community outreach trips to the region.

The D-League Showcase brings all 16 teams in the league to one venue to play two games each in a four-day span, watched by representatives from virtually ever NBA team.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9