Lieberman begins our talk by relying a story about herself. She was a wide-eyed 18-year-old when she heard an apparent compliment from an expert in judging basketball talent.
"Kid, you've got potential,'' the man told the girl.
"Really?'' young Nancy replied excitedly.
"Yeah,'' said the expert. "And you know what potential means? It means you ain't done s---.''
Lieberman is all grown up now, considered the greatest female basketball player of all time, and tonight is the D-League Texas Legends' first-ever home game … and she's the first-ever female coach in an NBA-associated league … and here comes DoJo, the Mavs' first-round pick who will be in uniform for her. (With Roddy B and a big crowd also watching at the Dr Pepper Center for the 7 p.m. tip.)
So Nancy, does DoJo have … potential?
"Let's begin with some perspective (on Summer League),'' says Nancy. "Reality (sets) in in September and October. (Summer League) is just a step … but the talent is real, for sure.''
In a summer-league meeting with the Wizards, the Mavs seemed to feel comfortable telling the first-round rookie to play "sic ‘em'' on John Wall … and it worked to some degree. The top pick in the draft got to the line 15 times, had 10 assists and scored 21 – but did so on just 4-of-18 shooting.
Dominique, though, countered with the muscular style that Dallas raved about on Draft night. The numbers: 28 points, 12 free-throw tries, four rebounds and four assists – in other words, a match to what Washington got out of Wall and a match to what Dallas hoped for from Beaubois.
"He's everything they billed him as, in terms of being physical,'' Lieberman says. "You can't go wrong with that as a starting point.''
We said in the summer that there was no evidence that once the year matures beyond this time that DoJo will actually get real regular-season minutes (hey, if coach Rick Carlisle hesitated to play Roddy B as a rook …). That has come to pass.
But DoJo is clearly a prospect who has already performed beyond Maurice Ager-level.
That's a start.
Lieberman makes an unusual comparison.
"Dominique Jones reminds me of 50 Cent,'' she says.
You mean 50 Cent the rapper?
"Yeah,'' she laughs. "A lot of people say Dominique reminds them of (Detroit's) Rodney Stuckey. But the way he's built and the way he smiles, I think he's just like 50 Cent. ... and seriously, this guy is an NBA player in every way.''