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February 15, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (2:01 PM)

Welcome back everybody. Big game tonight against the Nuggets as Dallas goes for five in a row. Lots of questions on tap today, so let's get started...

Tony (Dallas)

Jeff, would you consider this past draft a complete failure on the Mavs end?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:03 PM)

Tony, good question and one that I have a bit of hard time answering. On the surface, yes, it was bad considering they made a trade and that player, Rudy Fernandez, never put on a Mavs uniform. On the other hand, where the Mavs were drafting, they weren't going to get a player that would help them win this year. This summer, you could see this roster gutted, so having a rookie on this club serves no real purpose. Good enough?

jfb (dallas)

Would you do a trade of Odom/2nd round pick for Kaman and slide Wright to the 4 to backup Dirk?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:11 PM)

jfb...why would Hornets do that.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:11 PM)

Sorry everyone, having connection problems here at ESPN Dallas headquarters.

Letti Lima (Dallas)

What Mavs can do to improve pts in the paint? Also the offensive rebounds? Thanks Letti

Jeff Caplan
  (2:14 PM)

jfb...why would Hornets do that.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:14 PM)

Sorry everyone, having connection problems here at ESPN Dallas headquarters.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:15 PM)

I don't think points in the paint have been a terribly huge issue for Dallas. One thing would be if Brendan Haywood made more of his opportunities. Defensive rebounds will go up now that Dirk is rebounding better. This is not a great rebounding team and that is an area Carlisle is always harping on.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:15 PM)

OK, thanks for your patience, I think we're rolling now...

Elliot (Austin TX)

Odom, West, and Carter: or Chandler, Barrea, and Butler?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:16 PM)

jfb...why would Hornets do that.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:16 PM)

Well, scratch Butler off the list. He only played 2 months last season. West and Carter have been excellent additions. Let this play out and we'll see. Obviously, the team last year had tremendous chemistry and everyone knew their roles and performed them. This team is getting there.

BK (Work)

Cap back in 10' during the summer league would you have kept lin over roddy b and if no would you still keep roddy b thinking that he might have more upside now?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:18 PM)

BK, I don't think anyone could have said Lin over Roddy at that point. Look, Roddy had just come off a nice rookie season and his Game 6 at San Antonio really left a lot of people excited. Who knows where he would be right now if the broken foot never happened. Lin is a great story and look, the Mavs offered him a year contract guaranteed, but then his hometown Warriors made it 2 years guaranteed and he took it.

jason (new london tx)

when will shawn williams be back, when will the mavs have another hardwood classics game where they wear throw backs, and does mark and donnie expect this team to compete for another title?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:20 PM)

Taking the last part first, of course they expect this team to compete for another title. Do you see a team in the West right now that screams dominance, that the Mavs don't feel like they can beat with a healthy squad? By Shawn Williams, I assume you mean Sean Williams, there are a few S. Williams. Anyway, there's no room for him on the big club, so they're getting him playing time in Frisco. His contract for this season is fully guaranteed and with the uncertainly of next season's roster, he could be a part of the plans then if not sooner.

Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)

Any more word on Nene for tonight?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:21 PM)

Haven't heard. Nuggets list him as questionable, I believe. They have a long injury list of probables, questionables and doubtfuls.

Sandor Kato (College Station)

So a lot of my friends are from Houston and I was wondering whos championship was more impressive, the Mavs in 2011 or the Rockets back when they won two WITHOUT MJ IN THE LEAGUE. GO MAVS!!!!

Jeff Caplan
  (2:23 PM)

Sandor, I don't believe MJ was in the league last season either. The Rockets are still more impressive because they won back-to-back. The Mavs are trying to do that. Maybe those Rockets with Olajuwon would have been the team to beat MJ.Mavs title was quite impressive by sweeping the defending champ Lakers, beating the future of the NBA in OKC and taking down LeBron and Wade.

Brian Mauricio (College Station)

If the Mavs sign Dwight Howard this summer, what's the probability that they sign Nash instead of Deron? I'd rather take Nash just because he knows how to play with Dirk, even though he is getting up there in age. Plus, Nash wouldn't cost as much and we could save cap or sign younger quality players.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:26 PM)

Wow back to back College Station entries..I like your thinking. Was talking about this just the other day with Tim MacMahon. If Dwight Howard comes here, Mavs can still land Williams by creating more cap space through some low-salary trades, getting rid of guys like Roddy and DoJo, and bigger contracts like amnestying Haywood. Now, if they get Howard, they can certainly entertain Nash, who is again an All-Star. Health is an issue there, so a quality backup would be necessary.

Jon (Philadelphia)

Why does Terry get so much PT when his shot has been WAY off for basically the entire month of February and his defense has been sub-par as usual? Why don't we see more of VC, one of the clutches players of his generation more in the 4th quarter?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:27 PM)

Well Jon, I'll tell you why, Carlisle trusts him to make big shots in the fourth quarter no matter how poorly he's shot the rest of the game. Carter is getting decent minutes, around 20 or so a night and I think that's a big part of his success. I don't think Carter is a 30-minute player anymore, not at 35. They want to keep him healthy and fresh and his performances show that.

Michael (Harlingen,TX)

Do you think Lamar Odom will ever find his groove with the mavs?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:28 PM)

Michael, I think more and more he is finding his groove. He's getting used to playing only about 20 minutes a night, a major drop off for him and playing mostly small forward, with some power forward sprinkled when he comes in for Dirk. Don't look for 14 and 7 type numbers like he put up last season for the Lakers. If he gives 10 points a night, that's pretty good scoring off the bench, with the occasional outburst.

Price Tinsley (Dallas)

Slight revenge game against Denver at home tonight??

Jeff Caplan
  (2:29 PM)

Sure, for the Nuggets. Mavs helped them on their recent slide. Injuries are a big factor tonight for Denver. We'll have to see who is actually in uniform.

Paul (Dallas)

Who would the Mavs be willing to trade for Deron/Dwight that might work???

Jeff Caplan
  (2:30 PM)

Paul, um, everyone not named Dirk. Listen, the Mavs don't have the assets to pull off a trade for either player. They need both to get to free agency to have a chance at either.

Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)

What do you make of this trend of bad third quarters?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:31 PM)

Joseph, good question. But, Carlisle and Dirk haven't been able to put a finger on the problem so not sure I can. Seems energy level is down a bit, shots are off. Maybe other teams are making adjustments. Maybe all of the above, but it is a problem.

Bob (TX)

Should Donnie Nelson receive more credit for giving Lin a chance in the summer league? Golden State never would have noticed him had it not been for that.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:32 PM)

Bob, yeah, sure. Donnie was the lone NBA exec to offer Lin a shot on a summer league roster and he made the most of it. Donnie has a knack of this, JJ Barea was similar, an unheralded guard out of Northeastern, so the Mavs seem to have good scouting in New England.

MavsFanatic (Phoenix,AZ)

Hey Jeff, wondering who you are thinking is the Mavs toughest challenge come playoff time? Most people are all over the Thunder(Mavs little brother), but I think if healthy, the Spurs would pose biggest threat. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:34 PM)

I think the jury is still out on the Thunder. I think the Mavs really match up well with them and like that the matchup. The Thunder don't have much inside scoring and aren't terribly physical so that helps. Shawn Marion plays as good defense on Durant as anyone. Now, the Spurs, yes, at full strength with Manu back, I think they pose a lot of problems, with two penetrating guards, excellent 3-point shooters and a decent inside game still. Spurs will be tough. people forget that Manu was hurt to start that Memphis series and that killed them.

Mitch (Garland)

The Mavs offense has looked stale when Dirk is off. Will we see more Roddy B coming off the bench to act as an offensive spark?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:36 PM)

Ah, the great unknown, Mitch. That will be Carlisle's call. I wonder if we do see Roddy tonight simply because the guard matchups are not good with Kidd/Carter against Lawson/Afflalo and consider that Marion has been taking point guards recently. this is the reason Delonte West was starting the 2 and not Carter, but now that Carter is in the starting lineup, Marion gets PG duty. That's not a real workable situation if you're doing that all the time.

Joe (Ft. Worth)

Since Carter and Marion are on the floor at the same time to start the game, couln't the Mavs utilize a two man game between the two? They both have effective post up games. That would create matchup problems, no?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:37 PM)

Mavs have really been pounding it to Carter to start games. I think they play different type post up games. Carter can back down smaller 2s and Marion gets a lot of his stuff on cuts into the paint.

GxPray (Dallas)

Lets say Howard went to Nets before March 15th, and he's going to be a free agent after this season. So basically it will be like 50/50 for Mavs and Nets right?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:38 PM)

Personally, I believe if Howard is traded to the Nets before the deadline, which I don't see happening, then he stays there and Deron Williams does, too. This would not be a scenario the Mavs would like to see.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:38 PM)

OK, that's it for the questions. Again, sorry for the early technical issues. Hope everyone stuck around. Check out espndallas.com all day and all night for the most comprehensive Mavs coverage in town. See you guys next week.