Friday, May 4, 2007

Et tu, Avery?

Jason Knott wrote:
So what's for next year? 73 wins, sweeps all the way to the finals, up 3-0, 20 point lead in the final quarter, and then a monumental collapse? Or is that too much like last year? What can they do to us?
Jason, I think you’re on to something. To do this to the fans really takes something special.

To start out with, only two teams in any given year even have the opportunity to blow the NBA finals, and at most one succeeds. To lose it to (basically) a single player, when his team includes Antoine Walker and your own team is loaded with talent, is even worse.

And then blowing the first round to the 8 seed is another thing only two teams per season have a shot at. For crying out loud, the Mavericks had been trying for their entire franchise history to get the number 1 seed, and this is the first time they’ve done it. They hadn’t beaten the division rival Spurs in the standings since 1997, and that was only because David Robinson broke his foot and Sean Elliott had to get a kidney transplant; the Spurs ended up 20-62, the Mavericks 24-58.

So for a team pushing 30 years of history (coninciding almost exactly with my life span, incidentally), both their first finals appearance and their first top-seeded playoff series ended in catastrophic fashion.

(My housemates and I were debating this last night, and we decided that catastrophic is worse than disastrous; frankly, it’s the strongest word I can think of right now without using profanity. Actually, we might just have to coin a new word, like maveractic or maybe nowitztrophic.)

You would need to enlist Shakespeare to do justice to the degree of ironic tragedy we have witnessed in the last 10 months. The only think that can top it is if Dirk does indeed win the regular-season MVP and then Nash take the finals MVP.

Actually, Jason, I think that’s the key––the Mavericks can’t do anything worse to us, but Nash can actually go back in time and make a past Mavericks decision worse. That might be what we’re looking at.


JKnott said...

Remember the good old days when the Mavs were young upstarts, and they beat Utah at Utah to win in the first round? Too bad it would take too long to regain that kind of obscurity.

Interesting debating points left: Should Dirk, COULD Dirk refuse the MVP trophy? What would that do to the level of respect he gets? How far will GS go? What does Dallas need? Or what might help them that is doable? Trade Dirk? Trade everyone else for a viable post player? Get rid of Avery? Is it time to rebuild, or is that a rediculous thing for a 67-win team to do? Etc., etc.

scoots said...

If you're going to change any personnel, I say you absolutely don't trade Dirk. He showed us last year that he's got quite a lot to offer if the conditions are right, and there's no way you let him leave and then watch him and Nash win titles for other teams.

I haven't really read the stuff in the media today yet, but I did read something earlier this week (truehoop, maybe?) about how the Mavericks lack ball movement--and that was very apparent in the game 6 loss.

In light of that, if you are going to change personnel, I would think you might focus on Devin Harris as starting PG/playmaker, and have him work on upping his assist average to 7-8 a game. Then try to trade Jason Terry for a more traditional 2-guard. I hate to say that, because I love Terry's attitude and energy, but he's not a great passer, and he's not a great ball-handler--he seems to get a lot of turnovers late in games.

Another question is, what's the best role for Dirk in the playoffs? Even when he's been good, he's consistently gotten roughed up ever since that Houston series a couple of years ago, and I sort of wonder if he'll get the same respect from refs after this. Could this guy put on 25 pounds of muscle in an off-season and try to become a more traditional 4? (That might just lead to leg injuries, though.) Or do you have to say that he is what he is at this point in his career?

If Dirk's just going to be Dirk, I would think they could develop a pick-and-roll offense focusing on him and Harris. It seems Harris is a good enough passer to develop that, but then maybe I'm not watching closely enough.

I read that Dirk or someone said after the game that it would help to have a post presence inside, but I think that's just tough luck. Unless you're going to package, say, Howard and Harris and try to get Greg Oden in the draft, I don't see who there is that you could get. Maybe someone big is heading into free agency?

JKnott said...

I might trade Howard, Harris, DAmpier, Diop, and Stackhouse for Oden.

ryan b said...

While a traditional post player might help our team, I don't think that's what Dirk meant when he said it would be helpful to have a post presence inside. If I remember correctly, he was talking about himself and saying that he needed to work on his own post game, which is his weakest area. Honestly, I think Dirk was physically big enough to take any of the GS players in the post. He just doesn't have the skills to do it. (I can't think of a time where I ever saw Dirk make a traditional drop-step move towards to basket on the block, he's always turning around and fading away to get his shot off.)

If you win 67 games, I don't know if you should blow-up the whole team. To me, our loss had much more to do with the offensive scheme and Dirk's own tentativeness. We need to work more on how to attack the zone defense. If we had played any other team in the first round we would have one and I am pretty sure we would have beaten Phoenix too.