Fountain of Youth only way the Dallas Mavericks make The Finals in 2010.

February 20, 2010

by Jack Maidment

There are stories in a lot of papers the past few days about scientists who have apparently found out which genes, or something, make us age.

They think that if they can remove this gene or repair it or, I don’t know, remove it maybe, they can stop people ageing.

Does this mean that in the near future we won’t get old?

Or maybe that we will be able to be made younger?

I say yes.

Definitely.

Why am I so sure?

Because Mark Cuban has spent a hell of a lot of money in the past 3 years putting together a team full of players that are at least 2 years past their prime and a man who commits to that much money on players that old must know something, right?

I know I’m right.

There has to be something he knows that we don’t.

Just you wait.

Come round one of the playoffs Jason Kidd will start maxing out triple-doubles every game.

Shawn Marion will become The Matrix once again, rather than just a guy who used to be a big deal and now, well isn’t.

Maybe, just maybe, Eric Dampier will deliver on his disgusting contract.

Gene therapy is the answer yes indeed.

Failing that, Caron Butler will find an extra 6 points a game and take some of the burden off of Dirk Nowitzki who has physically carried The Elder Statesmen that he calls team mates for the past 2 years.

Or the Dallas Mavericks will hit the playoffs, win in round one, and maybe even the conference semi before falling short at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dirk can only do so much.

Unless the Mavs actually find the Fountain of Youth.

There is hope.

Or at least Mark Cuban thinks so.

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NBA Season Preview: Dirk’s Dallas Mavericks Coming For That #1 Spot?

October 4, 2009

dirkby Jack Maidment

So apart from the fact that they have the most divisive owner in the entire NBA, what else do the Dallas Mavericks have to arrest your attention?

Sure everyone is talking about the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs are also receiving a large amount of heat. Even the Portland Trailblazers, Orlando Magic and the Denver Nuggets are at the very least on people’s Championship radar. Dallas Mavericks as actual viable contenders? Not for most people.

Since their capitulation in the Finals against Miami swiftly followed by their, uh, capitulation to the Golden State Warriors the Mavericks are very much the NBA’s forgotten team.

They make the Western Conference Semi Finals and yet are rewarded by just about no faith in their ability to go any further this coming season. Boston, LA and Cleveland closely followed by San Antonio, Portland, Orlando, maybe Denver. It will be one of those teams that gets their hands on Larry in June.

And yet.

The core that pushed Denver so close returns with the exception of their back up big man Brandon Bass who has signed with the Magic. That means that the best scoring power forward in the NBA today, Dirk Nowitzki, will try to lead a squad forward that has done just about nothing but improve since their exit in the 2009 playoffs.

The Spurs may have added Richard Jefferson. The Cavaliers may have added Shaquille O’Neal. But don’t sleep on the move that the Mavs made to bring Shawn Marion to Dallas this off season.

Regardless of his past two seasons in which his production has suffered as a result of changing locations and team members The Matrix remains one of the most versatile players in the League today. A combination of size, quickness and athleticism realistically allow Marion to cover any player on the floor and create a tricky match up problem on offense. Points, rebounds, assists, steals. You name it, Marion does it.

Imagine the unique skills of the former Phoenix Sun and imagine the possibilities of him playing with Jason Kidd on the fast break.

Now imagine the offensive capabilities of a squad made up of Jason Kidd, Josh Howard, Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and JJ Barea.

The one piece that the Mavericks lack is a legitimate athletic big man to hold down the middle as was exposed by the ultra mobile front three of the Denver Nuggets in last years playoffs. Marion’s defensive prowess helps relieve this problem slightly, but the lack of absolutely quality big men in the West and the league in general should allow the Mavs to live with the best teams in the paint.

They will hope that their offense can counteract their defensive deficiencies.

Will the Mavericks win the title next year? The talent on their roster suggests that writing them off completely would be foolish and such a dismissal would only put you in the horrible position to receive an ‘I told you so’ from Sports Most Gracious Owner, Mark Cuban, if Dallas prove everybody wrong.

I’m playing it safe.


Shawn Marion to join Dallas Mavericks in 3 team deal, Memphis pursuing Iverson

July 9, 2009

shawn-marion-hands-upby Jack Maidment

Shawn Marion has agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks in a sign and trade deal with the Toronto raptors which also includes involvement at least one other team.

Marion will move to the Mavs on a 5 year, $40 million contract, with Jerry Stackhouse and his enticing contract moving to the Memphis Grizzlies.

By signing Marion and then trading him the Raptors will receive around $3 million from Dallas: important cash when considering the amount of money Toronto has committed just recently.

Memphis will give up one draft pick to Dallas for Stackhouse’s contract which guarantees him just $2 million for next year, giving the Mavs the elbow room to sign a player who they hope can send them over the top.

By going after Marcin Gortat and Shawn Marion, the Dallas Mavericks will certainly move up in people’s Conference predictions especially given the strength of their returning core: Jason kidd, Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki.

Memphis are also actively pursuing Allen Iverson, offering the guard a 1 year, $5 million contract.

Such an offer only serves to illustrate the extent to which Iverson’s stock has dropped in recent times: only a brave man would have betted on Iverson’s demise when he left Philadelphia for the snow of Denver.

The fact is that nobody really wants to take a gamble on Iverson who harmed his reputation substantially during his time in Detroit. There was a time only a year ago that Iverson would not have even considered a trip to Memphis; widely considered one of the least desirable locations in the League.

Quite simply there is not the money around to spend, but more than that team’s just do not want him.

A sad time for basketball.


Rasheed Wallace agrees to join Boston Celtics, Jason Kidd to remain a Dallas Maverick

July 6, 2009

sheedby Jack Maidment

There is a knock at the door. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, accompanied by Boston Celtic’s GM Danny Ainge, have flown into Michigan especially just to talk to you about the possibility of joining there team.

Rasheed Wallace who played gracious host to the Celtic contingent was scheduled to visit elsewhere in his bid to find a new team.

However, it would appear that KG, Jesus Shuttleworth and the Truth were enough to sway ’Sheed into going green.

A 2 year contract for around the mid-level exception, $5.5 million give or take, will ensure that Wallace is suiting up in Boston next season, providing the C’s with valuable front court depth.

It remains to be seen whether or not he will start with less minutes or come off of the bench for impact, but the lure of another title with 3 genuine All Stars should put Wallace in the right place to stay focused.

The combination of KG and Rasheed could go one of two ways. Either they will be good for each other, sort of like two angry and volatile positives cancelling each other’s madness out, or they will combine to create the most combustible front court tandem in the League.

Entertainment guaranteed.

Wallace was not the only veteran free agent being courted by a number of teams. After talking to the New York Knicks amongst others, Jason Kidd has agreed to a 3 year $25 million deal to stay with the Dallas Mavericks.

To commit to that much money on a 37 year old is certainly brave; Mark Cuban must simply believe that Jason Kidd is the man to get the Mavs where they need to go.


NBA Playoffs Conference Semi Finals: Dallas Must Fear Denver’s Fire Power

May 2, 2009

chauncey12

Denver. Dallas.

Not many people would have predicted that Semi Final match up at the start of the season. 

Dallas was steadily fading away, unable to blend the mercurial talent of Jason Kidd into their system. Unable to gag their owner. Unable to find their bench. 

Denver was doing their best impression of the Incredible Hulk. At any time they were as likely to go crazy and score 200 points as they were to crumble and fall to League worst teams. 

Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony were happily pouring in the points safe in the knowledge that as a franchise they were treading water. They did not have the discipline or commitment to team defense to propel them to Post Season success. 

However, it is amazing what a few trades and a little bit of time can do. 

Turns out that all the Mavericks needed was a season to gel and start firing. Kidd started looking like the player that he was when he led New Jersey deep into the Playoffs and the Dallas bench began to up its production largely due to Jason Terry’s move to Sixth Man. 

Denver did what all teams in the hunt for a Championship do and traded away their best defensive player for a bag of skittles and bottle of Coke. Wait. What? 

Marcus Camby departed for the Wonderland of the Los Angeles Clippers while the Nuggets welcomed back their Brazilian Beast Nene who had missed the previous season through illness. 

One trade was not enough, so Denver pulled the itchy trigger again, shipping the League’s once best and still prolific scorer Allen Iverson to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Chauncey Mr Big Shot Billups. 

Billups has brought veteran leadership and a defensive mentality to a team that desperately needed a father figure. Thanks to Billups, the Nuggets learnt the power of defense. 

Suddenly the starting line up looked like it could be something special, perfectly complimented by a freakishly athletic bench led by JR Smith and Chris Anderson.

And so, here we are, Denver meet Dallas for the chance to play in the Conference Finals. 

Who is more worried by the series? Dallas. Unquestionably. They know full well how dangerous the Nuggets are having not taken a game from them all season, losing all four games. 

The run and gun fun may have been tamed, but the fire power remains. No playoff calibre team can hang with Denver when they turn on the coring tap, aside from the Lakers. 

For the Mavericks, it depends on what Chauncey Billups turns up to play. In the first round he shot 65.5% from three point land. If he does that again Dallas may as well stay in Texas and get the BBQ on. Just about un-guardable. 

However, Dallas does have a chance. They just have to take their chance and avoid a slow start against a hungry Denver that will be punished.

If the Mavericks can shoot the lights out in the series and JJ Barea can stay effective and Josh Howard’s ankle holds and Dirk comes up big then Mark Cuban’s boys will be in the mix. Not much to do then. 

The smart money would certainly be on the Denver Nuggets who are too smart and too athletic to not capitalise on the opposition’s weaknesses. Billups will look to post up Barea and the consequences do not bare thinking about. 

For the simple fact that Denver has more difference makers than Dallas, the Nuggets will win this series. 

The Bird Man’s blocks, Nene and K-Mart’s presence inside, Chauncey’s defense and 3 ball, Melo’s scoring and JR Smith’s wild card ability to embarrass opponents should easily out match the Mavericks.

See you in the Conference Finals Denver.