I'm settled in at the ESPN 103.3 studios, ready to roll.
Hey Tim...Can you give us an update on Tim Thomas and Drew Gooden...Thanks
Drew Gooden expects to play tonight, although Rick Carlisle called him a game-time decision. Erick Dampier has played great so far this season, but Gooden provides a totally different offensive dimension at center. Thomas, who is returning from knee surgery he had done just before camp, has been practicing. It's a matter of working his way into basketball shape at this point. He might play as soon as the upcoming road trip.
What type of stat lines can we see from Marion and Howard in the lineup at the same time?
Give them about a month before you start judging the stats. Marion is still getting used to a new team, and Howard is adjusting to a new position while chipping off the rust. Once they get rolling, Marion ought to be a 16/8 guy who is the Mavs' best defensive player. Howard ought to put up numbers like he has in the recent past. He averaged 19.9 ppg and 7.0 rpg during his All-Star season.
Do you think Josh Howard would be open or has Carlisle considered him coming off the bench? It seemed to work really nice last year for JET and I think having Josh, JJ and Jet coming off the bench is pretty scary. I would like to see Roddy get more PT with 4 veteran starters.
I can't see that being something that the Mavericks consider. Josh Howard and Rick Carlisle got off to a rocky start last season, and Carlisle added Darrell Armstrong to the coaching staff in large part to aid the building of that relationship. I don't think it's worth the risk of losing Howard from a mental standpoint. Plus, it doesn't make much basketball sense. Howard is at his best at the beginning of games. Only LeBron averaged more points than him in the first quarter last season. Rodrigue Beaubois sightings in the starting lineup will be few and far between during his rookie season.
Do you think Dirk is still reaching his prime, has reached his prime and will start declining by this time next year, or is past his prime?He sure seems to have another level so far this year.
He is definitely not past his prime. He might be nearing the end of it, but Mark Cuban made an interesting point when I asked him a similar question. Cuban noted that Dirk doesn't rely on athleticism, so he thinks the big German will be able to play at an elite level well into his 30s. Dirk is 31 now. He should have at least three or four superstar years in him.
With Josh Howard back healthy, this is the best starting lineup the Mavs have had in a few years. What's your take?
No less an authority than Avery Johnson agreed with Cuban's opinion that this is the best Mavs team under the current ownership. So it's definitely the best in a few years. Best in Mavericks' history? I asked grumpy old ESPN 103.3 radio host Randy Galloway that question. He cussed a bunch and raved about the '80s Mavs with Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman, Mark Aguirre, Sam Perkins and James Donaldson.
Hey Tim! My question is, With the contract of Dampiers obviously the mavs biggest trade piece, do you see them using it? And if so, when do they make the move, and who do they look to get back in return? Any rumblings out of Mavsland about this? Thanks Tim, You Rock!
Can't see the Mavs dealing Dampier before the trade deadline if they're in the West mix, barring an absolute no-brain deal falling in their laps. Damp is the only true center on this team, and he's playing extremely well. Plus, his contract will have the most trade value during the summer. A team can trade for him without paying a penny because of his nonguaranteed salary next season. The Mavs might be able to use that to add an impact free agent via sign and trade.
People are suggesting Dirk at center now that Yao is down and Shaq out of the conference. How much of the mslal lineup will we see this year?
I'm assuming that you mean "small lineup." You'll see that fairly often. Dirk, Marion, Howard, Terry and Kidd will be the finishing five. You won't find many fives more offensively potent than that group.
I want to win some championships and get loads of money from endorsements. Dallas is perfect with Cuban, Kidd and Dirk. Let's work out a sign and trade this summer, k thanks.
Biggest problem with that: The Cavs would have to agree to the deal. I have little doubt that LeBron would be welcomed at the AAC, but it's a long shot at best.
Also, do you see Dallas making any more trades this season or do you think Cuban is done for now?
Let's see where the Mavs stand at the end of the calendar year. If they're not playing well, Cuban and Co. might try to shake things up. If they continue to win 67 percent of their games, I think the brass will want to see how far this group can go.
Why isn't Roddy getting more playing time? I know JJ has been huge off the bench but it seems like Roddy may be useful on defense shutting down some of these faster PGs.
Beaubois definitely impressed during his first career start in New Orleans, when he had nine points in the first quarter. But the Mavs are wisely exercising patience with this kid. Remember, he's only 21 years old and didn't even play in one of the better European leagues. He has a lot to learn. Fortunately for him, Jason Kidd is a willing mentor. Beaubois has the potential to be a great player, but he's not ready to be a reliable one yet. Perhaps that changes over the course of his rookie season, but for now, you'll have to settle for flashes of brilliance from the Frenchman.
Tim, what's your opinion on the Mavericks defense? Have they improved? Or will it be more of the same-old, same-old from seasons past?
The Mavericks became a much better team the minute they acquired Shawn Marion. He can cover almost any player in the league, and he holds his teammates accountable on that end of the floor. Quinton Ross was also a key defensive acquisition. He's a better wing defender than anybody on the Mavs' roster last season. Rick Carlisle has also hammered home a commitment to defense. It's paid off early this season. The Mavs rank seventh in defensive efficiency, up 10 spots from last season.
About Dirk's prime: Rember that height and a sweet shooting stroke age pretty well.
Right and right.
Do you like our chances of a Texas sweep in back to back nights? Beat Houston tonight and beating a Tony Parker-less Spurs tomorrow?
I definitely like the Mavs' chances to beat the Rockets at home, but that's no layup. Houston is a scrappy squad that will make the Mavs earn a W. Let me wait on an injury report before making a prediction about the Mavs beating the Spurs on the butt end of a back-to-back. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are both considered day-to-day with ankle injuries. And remember that the Spurs beat the Mavs without those Duncan and Ginobili in San Antonio last season.
Hey Tim, right now, how would you rank the 3 Texas teams?
Spurs, Mavs, Rockets. But I'd pick the Mavs to win a series against the Spurs, if that makes sense. Like last season, I think the Spurs will probably win more games than the Mavs, but the Mavs match up well with SA.
What's up with Jason Kidd? Why the slow start?
He couldn't buy a bucket for the first three games. He made a minor adjustment in his 3-point stroke, thanks to an observation from player development coach/ESPN 103.3 analyst Brad Davis, and has shot the ball well since. His assists are down just a notch from last season. His boards are down significantly, but I wouldn't knee-jerk about that. There might just not be as many rebounds to go around with Shawn Marion grabbing his share.
Is Matt Carroll lacking confidence/playing time combination of both? I remember him knocking down treys as a Bobcat all day. What's up with Carroll?
We heard all training camp that Matt Carroll, fresh off Lasik surgery, would contribute to the Mavs this season. Then he barely got off the bench while Josh Howard was sitting out. If Carroll can't crack the rotation then, I can't see it ever happening.
Do the Mavs plan on disciplining Popeye Jones in any way for his arrest? I personally wouldn't mind if they let him go and hired Kevin McHale. Your thoughts?
Mark Cuban has said that Popeye will be treated the same as any other employee, whether that person is in the public eye or not. Any discipline will be handled internally. Popeye has quietly returned to work. Kevin McHale, a good friend of Rick Carlisle's, has an open invitation to stop by the AAC at any time. He's working as a broadcaster this season.
Appreciate all the questions. Gonna go rest up to get ready for the back-to-back. Check out ESPNDallas.com for coverage of the games against the Rockets and Spurs the next two nights.