Monday, July 12, 2010

Dominique Jones and other rambling Mavs notes

Here is a cool video analysis of Jones' first start for the Mavs summer league team. It pretty much confirms what we already know, and suggests that he should spend most of the year in the dleague: Great getting to the rim and finishing, poor shooting from the college three point line and out, sucks at the pick and roll. He is also a good passer but he doesn't have, as Junior suggested to the press, a good assist to turnover ratio (Junior pulled this figure from the same place in his ass that whispered in his ear "Ager is a good defender and passer."); he had about 3.5 assists per 3.5 turnovers last year.

A word on Roddy. I have to say that I'm a little puzzled that people continue to think of Roddy as a PG; he is a scoring guard. The end. He will turn 23 during the season and if he doesn't have the chops to effectively run an offense now, he won't have it later. There is a difference to running an offense to set up your teammates over breaking down your man to either score or setup a teammate for a basket as the defense collapses. Barea runs an offense well and has spectacular court vision; Roddy will never approach what he does. I think that Roddy is a Leandro Barbosa/Devin Harris kinda hybrid player who will likely end up as a 6th man unless you can pair him with a big guard with an above average handle (a Joe Johnson type). The comps to Parker are off-base in my estimation. Parker was in the league at the age of 19 and starting for the Spurs as a rookie. There was a reason that Dirk wanted Kidd more than Harris, and he said as much, to paraphrase, "if you need a guy to break down his man and go to the rim Harris is great but we need someone to setup his teammates."

In addition to lacking the vision thing, Roddy has one more fundamental failing that he may or may not be able to improve upon before next season to prevent him from being yanked. His team defense is horrible especially on the pick and roll where he seemed absolutely lost about the space around him, what the opposing offense was trying to do, and how to work through screens. Basically, if the opposition wanted a quick 2 or a quick interior foul last year, they ISO'd BoBo on a P&R when he was in the game. I will also say that despite his long arms and athleticism, it isn't clear that he will be a great individual defender on equally quick point guards as JR hopes. Look for those types to continue to get past him this year too.

And one final BoBo note: His measurements at the official pre-draft camp were 6.2 1/2 in shoes (so, rounded to 6.3) and weighed in at 183. The "6.0/170" figure is a bit floating around is a bit off.

Whatever the case, I'm very interested in watching BoBo next season as an electric scorer shooting threes and slicing through the defense (hopefully setting up dunks to Jefferson?!) but that is where my expectation ends.

I know everyone is down on Marion, and his #s the last 3 years suggest a decline (though his 2 years in Miami's slow mo offense are the primary factor that should be considered in that equation), but I think that Rick Carlisle misused him. Basically Marion was prohibited from shooting threes (or really, shooting in general), there were no offensive plays for run for him (even when it was clear that he was having difficulty fitting into the scheme), and he was basically a garbage guy, and defensive role player. When the Mavs were at their best in the second half of the season running and gunning, a style most suited to Marion's strengths, the lineup rarely included him, rather, it was a three guard set. Basically Carlisle turned Marion into a 40million dollar Edo Najera, a defensive role player. So there is that, which I hope Carlisle can address this season, but then there is Jr. signing him to that horrendous, untradeable contract that will burden the mavs for the next 4 years. JR is a tool, but a tool with a Cuban in his pocket, a Cuban all to willing to plop down his money for JRs ineffective talent evaluation and questionable feel for addressing team weaknesses.

On the Butler front, I like the kid, and he gives the Mavs the third scorer that they need, a guy who can break down his man, shoot, and play good individual D. I fear that Marion's untradeable contract might force the Mavs to trade Butler, who fills a fundamental role on the team that JR failed to address for the last 5 years, but who plays the same position as Marion, rather than just swallow their pride and turn Marion into a 20 minute a game 40 million$ 7th man. If Butler goes - and the Mavs fail to get an equivalent veteran wing - the Mavs might not sniff the second round once again if they make the playoffs at all.

Without Butler, the Mavs have no chance to defense elite big guards as the slow-footed Kidd moves to the off guard spot with whatever pg they roll out there. This remains an achilles heel of the team and will yet again force them to play zone defense during the playoffs when that set simply doesn't fly if you want a ring. If no other moves are made, I would hope that Marion starts at 3 and Butler starts at the 2. That lineup may have been ineffective last year, but it balances out the teams glaring weaknesses (D, wing scoring) and should be a lot better after getting a full training camp together.

Finally, it seems that the Mavs only FA option at the moment that would be an upgrade is to trade for Al Jefferson who could balance out the oddly configured roster with their first legit low-post scorer in years. His presence would also make BoBo more valuable at the point, as he can simply dump the ball to him when he inevitable gets by his man. The inability of the Mavs to score easy points in the playoffs - err, points in the paint - could be seen to be a more debilitating weakness than even their inability to play man-man defense. The biggest problem would seem to be that both players want to start so unless you trade Haywood (and say sign Damp to back up big Al) then you might have a big locker room issue that could derail the team (throw in Marion into that equation if he doesn't start and/or Carlisle doesn't get him more involved in the offense).

Ok, so you'll be glad to know that this is likely one of my last Mavs rants. I've got a virtual blog boycott on the team until they fire JR. Do you really want to see Junior here in 3 years when the Mavs are rebuilding? I didn't think so.

Omar Samhan is one of the most unathletic players I've seen in a while: SOFT body, SLOW down the court, ZERO vertical. Has a nice high post jumper but is having trouble getting off his shots in the low post getting rejected more often than getting his shot off. He's not an NBA player. Buzz on Jeremy Lin has been pretty postive. Moves his feet well and keeps his man in front of him on D. Shan Foster actually drove to the bucket. Dominique Jones measured out at 6.4 1/2 in shoes, so 6.5.

BoBo getting his pocket picked a lot tonight as he deliberately tries to set up the offense and forgets about trailers and guys cutting off his passing angles. It's kinda like a quarterback staring down his wide receiver. He has about 6 assists, 6 turnovers, and 8 fouls, most of them due to grabbing people to prevent break-aways after he's had his pocket picked. He's looked terrible running the show tonight and now has about 20 turnovers in 3 games. When did he look good? Shooting the ball, driving the ball, scoring the ball.

Terrific 4th quarter though. About 20 lead changes and about 5 last second baskets, 2 to send the game to overtime, including one alley-oop off-balance fall away from an out-of-bounds pass to tie things up for the Mavs with .3 seconds left to send it to overtime. I screamed like a little girl I was so stunned that they pulled that play off. That kind of think only happens against the Mavs in the playoffs (or whenever Shawn Bradley was manning the middle). Then 3 baskets in the last 30 seconds including the game-winning jumper by Roddy after what seemed to be a game-clenching putback by Mil with only seconds left. Wow. Quite a quarter for a summer league game. If you can afford 14.95 for the NBA Summer League TV pass, this quarter alone is worth the price (all games are archived so you can catch them all if you miss any).


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