Chat 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 to Mavs chat with me, Jeff Caplan. Big game tonight against the Lakers as Dallas looks for a fifth consecutive win.Let's get to your questions.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who do you think will be fired from the Dallas Mavericks if the Mavericks will not Make the Playoffs?
Jeff Caplan (3:01 PM)
Chris, well, interesting question. But, don't worry, the Mavs will make the playoffs. Too many teams below them and, heck, they're playing good ball again.
Big match-up for the Mavs tonight. Do you see Odom having a good game because its against his former team? I mean, he has to have at least one great game this season right?
Jeff Caplan (3:03 PM)
I suppose if Lamar is going to have a great game why not it be against the Lakers? Really, who can say. Odom's shot has been so off lately that you do figure he's got to hit a few here soon. And if he gets one maybe it leads to another. Carlisle has liked the way he's played recently in terms of activity, effort and energy. He did have 9 boards and five assists against Denver.
What do you think the chances are that we pick up Boris Diaw now that he has been bought out?
Jeff Caplan (3:04 PM)
Nick,I really don't think the Mavs will be looking to add anybody. Adding a player means they have to cut a player and I just don't see it happening. He'll be a decent add somewhere, maybe Phoenix and re-unite with Steve Nash, but that's just speculation. I truly believe that the Mavs team you see right now is the one that will head into the playoffs.
I just read at Truehoop that the Kidd-Carter-Marion-Dirk-Haywood lineup is the best defensive lineup in the NBA. Do you think that this is the result of Carlisle's defensive schemes or the defensive awareness and IQ of these five guys?
Jeff Caplan (3:07 PM)
Kirby, yeah, I just saw that. Pretty amazing isn't it? And here I am calling for Roddy or Delonte West (when healthy) to start instead of Carter for defensive matchup purposes. Shows how much I know. As far as how this happened, I think it's a combo of both reasons you give. Clearly, Carlisle set a defensive system in place last season and the team bought in. And it's been clear from early on that they bought in a again. they've been a top 5 defense most of the season. It's a credit to the players, especially at the age of those guys, to be giving that kind of effort on the defensive end during this kind of crazy schedule with so many games.
I think now we can put the worries of not making the playoffs to rest. Who do you think the X-factor will be in getting the Mavs back to the Western Conf or NBA finals? (Besides Dirk)
Jeff Caplan (3:09 PM)
Never would I ever consider Dirk an X-factor. He is THE factor. I think a true X-factor is Roddy. I mean the Mavs can live without him, they've shown that, but when he is playing with confidence as he has lately, he'll score 15-20 points, drop 3-6 assists, rebound and he's played pretty solid defense lately on Tony Parker and Ty Lawson. I guarantee Parker is looking forward to Friday's game in San Antone. So, if Roddy stays consistent, he's a dynamic difference-maker.
MsLetti (Dallas, TX)
How strong our defensive end is to stop the LA?
Jeff Caplan (3:12 PM)
Hello MsLetti..That's a good question. Not having Brendan Haywood in the lineup tonight is a big factor because the Lakers have a tremendous front line with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Then also figure in newcomer point guard Ramon Sessions, who gives LA a guy that can get to the rim, something they have sorely lacked and help-side defense becomes more important. Another key is obviously the health of Shawn Marion. He's a game time decision tonight. He's been tremendous guarding Kobe Bryant this season, limiting him to 14.5 points and about 28 percent shooting. Kobe averages nearly 29 a game, tops in the league.
Is there any chance that either Shawn Marion or Brendan Heywood (or both) would be willing to restructure their contract this summer to allow the Mavs cap space to sign Deron Williams and keep them both (and is this even a realistic solution to free up enough space)?
Jeff Caplan (3:13 PM)
Jeff, it's a good thought, but the NBA is not like the NFL in that regard. Contracts cannot be restructured. The Mavs will need to make cap space to sign Deron Williams and that means likely either trading Haywood and/or Marion or using the one-time amnesty clause to cut one of them.
GxPray (Dallas Tx)
Hey I heard that Diaw buy out today, and Do you think Cuban's gonna try to get or not?
Jeff Caplan (3:14 PM)
As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe the Mavs will make a move and pick up a player bought out by another team. The Mavs would have to cut a player first and I don't believe this is in their plans.
How much more effective could Mahinmi be if he avoided some unnecessary fouls?
Jeff Caplan (3:15 PM)
Scot,This is something the coaching staff continually works on with Ian. It frustrates them when he reaches in out on the perimeter, those are always bad fouls. He certainly needs to be careful tonight and make sure the fouls he picks up are good, hard fouls that prevent a shot at the basket.
Any chance Odom bails again for "personal issues", instead of playing his old team?
Jeff Caplan (3:16 PM)
Well, Odom was at shootaround today so that's a good sign that he will be at the game tonight. Last time he left before shootaround. Should be interesting to see him against his former team. The game he played against them out there, he hit his first 3 point attempt and, I believe, finished with 10 points although he didn't shoot particularly well.
If I'm Dwight Howard, I'm watching Dirk and thinking, what a mistake. I could have been playing with him and Deron next year
Jeff Caplan (3:18 PM)
Yeah, maybe. I thought Dwight was determined to play with a top point guard, forget about Dirk for a moment, so even that now is in question by him committing to play next season in Orlando. Although, let's be real, there's still no guarantee he is with the Magic when next season starts, or when it ends. He still has not committed long-term, which to me hurts the franchise because they can't move forward with any big plays without his commitment. Don't be surprised if he and D-Will still end up going to Brooklyn together.
With free agents, is it legal for Mark Cuban to guarantee them money when they retire if they come play here?
Jeff Caplan (3:20 PM)
David, I'm not sure of any specific language regarding this in the CBA, but no, a player cannot have money deferred, I believe you are saying, as part of their contract. Doesn't work that way.
Is it just me that thinks that Odom seems a bit hesitant or a bit too passive on the offensive end? Could this be because of him struggling to find his shot? His effort has been great during the last few games though.
Jeff Caplan (3:22 PM)
He certainly looked to have passed up some looks in Denver, maybe that's because he knows he's not shooting well so he swung it. He did have five assists in that game so maybe they were good decisions. Everything I've heard about Odom from people who know him is that he naturally defers. In LA they always had to remind him to be aggressive and do things like bring the ball up the floor after he rebounds it and things like that.
Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)
Does Roddy start at the 2 in the playoffs, with West, Terry, Carter, and Odom coming off the bench?
Jeff Caplan (3:23 PM)
Joseph, I don't think we know this answer yet. For defensive purposes, I would think West starts. If Roddy continues to improve, maybe he makes a case for himself. Or perhaps none of them start and Vince Carter starts at the 2. An ESPN.com TrueHoop story just came out showing that the Kidd-Carter-Marion-Dirk-Haywood is the NBA's top defensive lineup. So, hard to mess with that, I suppose.
Jeff Caplan (3:24 PM)
We've still got a few more minutes if anyone has more questions...
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Hi Cap, do you see Yi getting some burn tonight ONLY because of his height and rebounding abilities?
Jeff Caplan (3:27 PM)
It's possible. He hasn't seen much time in the last couple of games with Haywood out. If memory serves, he did see some time against the Lakers right before the All-Star break. His chances go up if Mahinmi and/or Wright get into foul trouble.
when can the jet finally step up?
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
Finally step up? I don't know, I think he's been doing pretty good lately, really since his blowup during the back to back to back.He didn't have a great shooting game in Denver, but in the three games before that he was 22-of-43. Not bad.
what team would u least like to play in the finals for the mavs
Jeff Caplan (3:30 PM)
If you're talking about the NBA Finals, I'm going to tell you the Chicago Bulls. I think they are an incredibly balanced and dangerous team. Miami obviously has Wade and LeBron, but I still question that team's mental toughness. I think Derrick Rose is unguardable penetrating, they have outside shooting and great defense and they are deep. I really like the Bulls.
Do you think Jet complaining about Cuban playing for next year and him playing for "29 other teams" will become more of a problem in the locker room then the Odom ordeal?
Jeff Caplan (3:31 PM)
Heck no. And let me put that in capital letters..NO.Jet's been here eight seasons. He's a leader on this team and frankly can say what he wants as long as he's producing on the floor, which he's doing more of lately. I don't think anyone in the locker room really cares what he says. And really Dirk and Jason Kidd are the only ones that really matter and they're certainly not concerned about Jet.
Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)
Where does Dirk rank among bigs as a passer?
Jeff Caplan (3:33 PM)
Joseph, he keeps climbing this list, that's for sure. Ever since Golden State roughed him up with those quick-closing double-team traps in the '07 first round loss, Dirk has really improved his passing. He knows where to swing the ball and is typically decisive doing so. He had six assist at Denver, all in the first half and has 18 over his last four games.
Do you see JET returning next season?
Jeff Caplan (3:34 PM)
Franc...probably not, but it really depends what happens with free agency. For instance, if Deron Williams comes here, then I think Jet's chances of returning are slim, mostly because he can probably make more elsewhere than what the Mavs will offer. If Dallas does not get Williams, then he is more likely to return because they will need him more.
Jeff Caplan (3:35 PM)
OK, everyone, nice late flurry of questions. Good job.Enjoy the game tonight and remember to check espndallas.com throughout the day and night for top-notch coverage.Also, Mavs radio play by play man Chuck Cooperstein takes over the chat tomorrow. Check the site tomorrow for a start time.Thanks again.