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)
Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of Mavs chat. Dallas is 9-4 after last night's wobbly win over Detroit. Next up is OKC tonight in what should be a fun game followed Friday by those 12-1 Spurs and Saturday by the struggling Miami Heat. What a week. Let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think in the future that we will see Nancy Liberman as a Head coach for the Dallas Mavericks or a NBA team?
Jeff Caplan (3:02 PM)
Chris, that's a great question. I'm not sure Rick Carlisle would like me to answer that because if she takes over the Mavs, that means he's on the outs. If the day comes for a woman to coach in the NBA, leave it to Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson to be the innovators and Nancy is obviously a basketball mastermind. I don't see it any time soon, but she's coaching the NBDL team now so we'll see how that goes. One thing Nancy is is a trail blazer.
Matt (Plano, TX)
Why in your opinion are the Mavs so poor on free throws this year?
Jeff Caplan (3:04 PM)
Matt, great question. I have no idea what's going on from the line, especially with Dirk. With him, he misses and it's so unexpected that we really take notice. Even last night he missed consecutive FTs twice. Not sure I've ever seen that before in a game from him. The second time he got bailed out by lane violation and made the bonus FT. Caron Butler is shooting it better after an awful start. Give it some time and you'll see the Mavs back up near the top in that category. Carlisle would like to see them just get to the line a little more for some practice.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who is the worst Dallas Mavericks team ever since you covered the Dallas Mavericks?
Jeff Caplan (3:05 PM)
Chris, how did you sneak a second question in like that? I thought I weeded out all second questions to get everyone. Since that was my mistake, I'd have to say it was Avery's last year. The thing just fell apart with the Josh Howard weed-smoking and birthday bash controversies and they were cooked by the time the playoffs rolled around and the Hornets creamed them.
Will (Austin, TX)
Jeff, how much do you think the Mavs new frontline trio of Tyson, Haywood, and Dirk will help them against the Lakers? I mean, its pretty much assumed that if you are going to get out of the west, you have to beat LA
Jeff Caplan (3:07 PM)
It's interesting that the Mavs don't play the Lakers for quite some time. I like that because it will give the Mavs a chance to play together for a while, and hopefully with Roddy, as well as the Lakers, who obviously miss Bynum in the early going. The extra length can't hurt against the Lakers and I like Chandler's athleticism and hustle and attitude. But, we've seen that combo not exactly put up great numbers. Just look at last night where the Pistons throw out Ben Wallace. He nearly had as many rebounds as the Mavs' two big men combined. So against the Lakers, I'm not sure how much that will really help although the front office believes it will help a lot.
marco (costa rica)
do you think Butler will ever be a 18 or 19 point scorer with this team or will he stay at 15-16. how much do you think he'll improve as the season progresses??
Jeff Caplan (3:09 PM)
All the way from Costa Rica...thanks for joining us...I don't think Butler will be that type of scorer. I think his game has declined some and maybe he's just not used to being a third or fourth option. Now, if his mid-range shot was falling or if he was getting to the free throw line consistently maybe I'd have a different take, but so much of his offense is generated from one-one-one face-ups and it's not going down. He turned in 4 solid minutes to start the fourth quarter last night where he was the aggressor and drove and got to the line. That's the Butler the Mavs need. Right now they have no one that can consistently drive and create a shot.
Can the Mavs shock the world and win the NBA Finals
Jeff Caplan (3:11 PM)
Lyndon, Sure why not? I don't see it, but anything can happen. Right now, the Mavs need to worry about getting their offense in gear and taking care of opponents like the Pistons on their home floor without having to play Dirk and Kidd 40 minutes on the first half of a back-to-back.
Luke (Forney, TX)
Hey Jeff, What is the status of Roddy B? I heard 10 days ago that he was going to get it checked out right around this time. If it looks good what is the next step and when can we see him back on the court?
Jeff Caplan (3:12 PM)
Luke, my man, you really need to be following my blogs on espndallas.com. If you were, you'd know from last night's blog that Roddy had a drs appt yesterday and he's been cleared to begin working out on the elliptical machine. Another small step for the young man. But, it's clear we're still at least 3 weeks away from seeing him in uniform. He is scheduled to see the doc every 10 days and hopes to be cleared to do more each time.
Do u see any way chandler comes back next year or will he go after the money
Jeff Caplan (3:14 PM)
Carlos, good question. Mark Cuban says definitely they can keep Chandler. But we'll see. There are a lot of variables at work here. He could be traded for one since he's in the last year of his contract if the Mavs can make a sweet deal somewhere. There's also the case of the expiring CBA and no one knowing if there will even be a season next year, let alone what the salary cap will look like or the salary structure. So we'll have to watch this as it goes on. I know it will be tough to keep. If he has a good year, he will be in high demand as a free agent in the summer -- again, if there's free agency with the CBA situation.
Mark Wurden (Dallas)
The Mavs seem good at not falling behind early at home...but always seem to lose the lead through the second and third quarters. Why?
Jeff Caplan (3:16 PM)
Mark, last year the Mavs had trouble out of the gate. This year they start strong and then peter out. it's quite confounding. 32 points last night in the 2nd and 3rd quarters combined. And then they score 32 in the fourth. I wish I could tell you why this happens other than the offense stagnates and everyone stands around watching Dirk. But, why that happens is what the Mavs need to address. Dirk is pinning his hopes on Roddy's return, that his athleticism will open up the offense and he'll be that guy that can penetrate and score, get fouled or kick it out to open shooters once the defense collapses.
Jeff,The offense seemed a little stagnant last night with the three guard lineup Carlisle seems to love (Barea, Terry, and Kidd). I think there would be a little more balance offensively (and defensively) if he had at least Butler or Marian (or both) in the lineup at one time. What do you think is the reason for the Mavs recent offensive struggles?
Jeff Caplan (3:18 PM)
Austin, actually last night I didn't see a lot of the 3-guard lineup, at least not that I remember, and I did see Butler and Marion on the floor together. I did see some Kidd and Barea combos out there. Barea actually helps the offense because he can penetrate. No one else can. Scoring balance is priority, but how the Mavs go about will be interesting to watch. They do have their moments, such as Saturday in Atlanta when they spred it around, but too often it's the Dirk Show. And really, if you look at the Detroit game, Jason Terry missed open shots and so did Caron.
Tom (Fort Worth)
Can the Mavs really advance in the playoffs with JJ playing 20 mpg and often finishing games. Also, I have never seen a championship contender play as much zone as the Mavs do. I dont think this team is 100% behind coach Carlisle. Do you agree? The substitution pattern is bad, which leads to alot of blown leads and the play calling is predictable. I stopped playing basketball after high school and I know what plays are coming for the Mavs. If I know whats coming, how easy is it for the Lakers and Spurs staff to break down this team?
Jeff Caplan (3:21 PM)
Always good to have the Fort represented. The JJ angle is an interesting one. I love the kid. Love his hustle and guile and love when he penetrates. I don't love when he heaves up shots he shouldn't and right now he's in a major funk from the field. As for Carlisle, he's an unconventional coach. He likes to keep guys on edge in terms of their playing time and roles and that's just the way it is. The zone is something he's instituting, I think, to hide weaknesses on the perimeter, although he says it's to take advantage of their length on the back line. Maybe it's a little of both. I think the players are good with Rick. Players don't have to like their coach, but they have to play hard. And yes, the Mavs seem to go in and out of playing hard, or maybe they're always playing hard, but the results just don't come. Hard to say, but also hard to see them get outrebounded 16-5 in the second quarter last night with Ben Wallace on the bench.
d smith (flint mi)
can dallas win if dirk shoots dont fall? what is his cast of players like?
Jeff Caplan (3:21 PM)
No Sir. That's plainly obvious. There might be a night or two where Jet Terry gets hot and can carry the scoring load, but certainly not any consistent basis.
Dexter Smith (Lakeland,fl)
Do you why Dominque Jones is not playing?
Jeff Caplan (3:23 PM)
I think Dominique is just learning the game. He got some run earlier in the season and hasn't really played much in a while. Hey, that's life in the NBA for rookies, especially one where you've got some veterans in front of you. We'll see how things progress. The Mavs could use driving ability, but he has to be able to defend as well. That's a real sticking point for coach Rick Carlisle. Especially at the 2 where he'll go up against so many great scorers.
Why don't the mavs have any heart? I have been a Mavs fan since the bad days but I have never been so disgusted with a team. When a team hits them in the mouth they dont do a dag gum thing, they just bend over and take it! (Bulls game perfect example)
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Brent, let's clean up our descriptions there, this is a family web site. I wouldn't say they have no heart. It's so hard to put a finger on it with this team. On the road, they seem to play differently, although they nearly coughed up an 18 point lead at Atlanta. I know it is disturbing to Carlisle and Dirk, but I think I keep going back to what I always say and that is they just don't have enough dynamic offensive players who can create their own shot and make defenders uneasy.
What do you think the odds are of the mavs making a significant trade move at the deadline this season?
Jeff Caplan (3:27 PM)
Are you Tom Jones or Tom in Jones? The Mavs certainly have the trade chips, but I don't see a huge splash coming. The biggest names most of you throw out during these sessions are Gilbert Arenas and Iguodala. Both have huge contracts that I just can't see the Mavs taking back, especially with the CBA situation. So, no, I don't see a huge splash out there. That doesn't mean one isn't out there. More and more with this offense I'm thinking I would take a chance on Carmelo Anthony even if it means giving up Roddy and no guarantee from Anthony that he'll sign an extension. He's the perfect complement to Dirk.
Watching the Pistons game last night, it's obvious Dallas needs another scorer to go along with Dirk...Anyway Dallas and Cuban make a push for Melo??
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
Warren, you must have read my mind (see previous answer)...Yes, Dallas is desperate for another scorer. Would they take a risk on Melo. ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported in his last Weekend Dime that they would consider it. I think they have to at this point.
what do the mavs do at the deadline? is iggy a strong possibility? please say yes
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
Zach, have you looked at Iggy's contract? It is monstrous. I just don't see it happening.
Travis (Fort Worth)
Why doesn't Butler play like he did in the 4th quarter against the Pistons more consistently?
Jeff Caplan (3:30 PM)
Travis, is I don't know a sufficient answer? I just think that's not really his game to drive. He's a mid-range guy, always has been. He gets the ball, he faces his defender, he gives some ball fakes and pops a step-back j. He's just not hitting it with any regularity whatsoever. Now, when he became the aggressor as you say in those four minutes to start the fourth, it really jumpstarted the team. He's being asked to do that. The question is if he can or will consistently.
When Beaubois comes back, who do you think is going to see a cut in their play time to make room for him in the lineup?
Jeff Caplan (3:31 PM)
Austin, the easy answer there is DeShawn Stevenson, who is keeping the starting spot warm for Roddy so Jason Terry can come off the bench with some scoring punch. Otherwise, Terry might see some minutes cut as well as JJ Barea as the Mavs try to get Roddy involved at the point. But, all bets are off after the broken foot. He's still weeks from returning and even then we have to see how long it takes him to get comfortable and confident on his foot again.
Jeff Caplan (3:33 PM)
Well, all remaining questions have to do with Caron Butler and chances for a trade. I think we've fairly addressed those. In the next few weeks, maybe we can hold off on trade talk. I just don't think anything will heat up in that area for a little while. Now, guys who signed in the offseason are eligible to be traded on Dec. 15 so there is that, but I wouldn't expect anything.
Jeff Caplan (3:34 PM)
Thanks for participating this week. Should be a really fun rest of the week with the games coming up. Keep reading espndallas.com for all your Mavs coverage and please tell a friend that we are here!Thanks everyone!