Mavs with Jeff Caplan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, Dallas Mavericks reporter Jeff Caplan stops by to chat about the team.
Caplan covers the Mavericks, Stars and colleges for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in December 2009.
Send your questions now and join Caplan Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Jeff Caplan (3:00 PM)
Welcome back, Mavs fans. Thanks for joining me as always. It certainly was an interesting week. A lot to digest and to talk about. So let's get to it.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that Dallas Mavericks will Repeat as NBA Champions with their 2011-2012 Team?
Jeff Caplan (3:03 PM)
Chris, you must get your question in awfully early, you're always at the top of the queue. Appreciate your consistency. No, I don't expect the Mavs to repeat this season. However, I certainly don't rule it out. I think the addition of Lamar Odom - yes, he will come around - was a major pickup after losing Tyson Chandler. As long as Dirk is healthy, this team has a chance. The West is weak. I don't trust OKC to make smart decisions when it counts. San Antonio and Memphis are dealing with injuries. The Lakers will be difficult, but this thing is wide open. Even the East's best can be had as the Mavs proved against the Heat last season.
SSmith (Victoria, TX)
I know its still too soon to predict but who do you feel out of Carter, Odom, Williams, or West the Mavs will keep next year? I'm think its West
Jeff Caplan (3:05 PM)
Already looking ahead to next season, huh? I agree with you, Delonte West, at this moment is an obvious choice. However, if the Mavs do land Deron Williams, then look for them to re-sign Jason Kidd to a reasonable deal and have him as Williams' backup. Not bad, right? Odom has a team option next year at $8.2 million and the Mavs want that cap space.Carter, if he has a good season, is on a partially guaranteed contract for next season, so if they want to keep him he comes cheaply. If not they can say good-bye.
I know Haywood played well recently and especially Mahimni , but I think Williams should get playing time. He brings energy , plays good D and is a force in the offensive side. And I rather him at 5 rather than Cardinal. your thoughts?
Jeff Caplan (3:07 PM)
Hey Sahar, I know Williams played in Israel, but I'd cool your jets a little on this guy. I'm not sure how "with it" Williams is in terms of picking up the Mavs' system on both ends of the floor. Yes, his athleticism is tantalizing, but if he can't play within the team concept he's not much good. But, look, just like Odom and Carter, he needs time to adjust. He was the last man brought in. You've got to love what Mahinmi is bringing right now, so why take his minutes away just to play Williams. And with Haywood going good right now, the current combo is not nearly as frightening as we might have thought when Tyson Chandler left.
Start Odom at 3 instead of Marion to get him going? Also, we don't play well offensively with the starting 5. Agree?
Jeff Caplan (3:10 PM)
Sure, you could start Odom at the 3, but I think that messes up the spacing on the floor with Dirk out there. Dirk doesn't play a traditional 4 and Odom likes to step out for the 3, so Marion, I think, is a better fit to start games with Dirk. Plus, starting Odom doesn't necessarily get him going. As he has admitted, he needs to get in better conditioning and he's working with Carlisle before practices to get there. I think he and Terry and Carter coming off the bench is a nice trio.
Two major things that bother me in the offensive side. Haywood tries to drive and make a play for himself instead of passing and Marion and Odom taking too much threes.
Jeff Caplan (3:13 PM)
Hey Jack, first off, yes, Marion is taking too many baseline jumpers...not sure why he's falling back on that shot again. of course, in Phoenix he was a pretty good shooter. Odom can hit the 3 and I don't think they'll discourage him from taking it. As for Haywood, the ball has been going down low to him quite a bit, which can be frustrating because he is so slow and methodical to make a move and he typically doesn't make his shot and he struggles at the free throw line. And, when it does go to him, he is not a good passer to get it out. Teams don't have to double him either, so it's not like a wide open shooter is waiting for a pass. Give the offense some time, but also remember that the starting 5 was not always great last season either, needing a high-scoring bench to do damage. They hope they have a similar formula evolving.
Dallas is favorite to win the West. Right? Please don't say Oklahoma , they are overrated!!!!! and Mavs havs more ecxperience and match up well against them.
Jeff Caplan (3:15 PM)
Diego, I think you answered your own questions. Nice job. Of course, Dallas is a favorite in the West. OKC is also up there. I'm a bit down on that young crew,still not convinced they have the maturity and decision-making capabilities to win..but, go back to the West finals and that was as close of a five-game series as you will see.
Looking foward to the summer , let's say we are going hard for Dwight and Deron. How can Mavs clear more cap space? Amensty Haywood is a good option but can we trade Marion? Is somebody going to take him ? A Lamar Odom type of trade could be great for Dallas with Marion.
Jeff Caplan (3:16 PM)
Here we go again with next summer. Can we not get 2 weeks into this season? OK, OK...First of all, I would think it's the other way around, trade Haywood (somebody will always want a serviceable center) and amnesty Haywood. The Mavs could have more than $25 million in cap space next summer. They just need a top free agent to spend it on.
If Odom doesn't fit by the trade deadline do you think Nelson flips his expiring contract for a pick?
Jeff Caplan (3:18 PM)
Jerome, Jerome, Jerome, Lamar Odom is going to fit in eventually, don't you worry. But, I wouldn't expect Dallas to deal him unless it's in a deal with Orlando for Dwight Howard or New Jersey for Deron Williams. They hold a team option on him for next year, so they can simply not sign him. They would only want expiring deals back for him a trade is not for Deron or Dwight, so that makes no sense. But, Odom will be fine, just have some patience.
Jeff, what is your favorite Mavs lineup? I kind of liked seeing Odom get some minutes at the Point-Forward position the other night; I also enjoy watching Vince get some opportunities to post-up smaller guards as he did with Eric Maynor...what are your thoughts on the versatility of this roster going forward? Thanks!
Jeff Caplan (3:20 PM)
Yeah, Heathcliffe, I think you've got it right. Carter can post up..when can you remember a Mavs 2 that can post up, and Odom's versatility will be fun to watch for sure. I like Mahinmi jumping around out there too. As for a particular lineup, they've rolled with so many early it's hard to say, but a bench linup with Terry, Odom, Carter and Ian is a pretty good attack against an opponent's bench.
I'm wondering what the Mav's are doing, picking up lots of young former lottery picks. Do they think they will be useful in a Dwight Howard trade?
Jeff Caplan (3:22 PM)
Eric, no I don't think they see those guys as being useful in a trade. If they did Brandan Wright would be on the floor so they could try to increase his value. Any of those guys would be mere throw-ins if that. I think they picked up Wright and Lee because they didn't trust what they have in the middle and they need bodies. Yi Jialian is more of a forward than center and plays more of a perimeter game, so not sure how they'll look to use him.
Does Dallas make a bid for Dwight Howard before the trade deadline, and what would they give up?
Jeff Caplan (3:23 PM)
Joe, they would love to, but really, what do they have that would entice Orlando. Remember, L.A. has Bynum and N.J. has Lopez, but the ability to take back Hedo's bad contract. I think Dallas has to hope Dwight makes it to free agency to have a shot at him.
Ryan (Phoenix, AZ)
Hey Jeff...enjoy the chats! Why has everyone jumped so hard on the Thunder this year? It seems like everything I read is Thunder this and Thunder that. If they are the real deal, shouldn't we feel good about our Mavs then?
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Hey Ryan, well look, Kevin Durant is a budding superstar, a two-time scoring champ and it is an athletic, fun team to watch that has sort of been anointed as the team on the come. But, they still have a lot to prove. First of all the point, Russell Westbrook, has to mature mentally and he can't shoot his team out of games. Dallas clearly has the experience, the smarts and the savvy to deal with OKC as they have shown in both meetings this season, although OKC got the first one with Durant's buzzer-beating 3.
Delonte is beginning to look like the Barea/Stevenson combo everyone hoped he would be when he was signed--do you like what you are seeing from him thus far? What does he bring to the table on both ends of the court?
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
Heathcliff, you're the lucky guy who gets 2 questions in today and we'll end it with this one. Yes, I do like Delonte West. That was a solid pickup because the Mavs needed a player that can get to the hole to replace Barea's top skill, and West has shown he can do that, but they also needed some feistiness to replace Stevenson's best quality. So,yeah, I like what West has brought so far.
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
That does it for the questions today. Remember, Mavs play by play man Chuck Cooperstein is here tomorrow to give you his unique perspective on the club. Thanks again for joining me. You guys make this thing work and we appreciate it. For the best quality and the most quantity, on the Mavs, get it @espndallas.com. Have a good week and see you next Wednesday. Thanks!