For the first time in a dozen years, the Mavs are making an in-season concession to an ugly reality. 'We're rebuilding a championship team,' coach Rick Carlisle says. 'The way we're playing, I think we would be viewed as we're not very good.' Questions and Answers with Rick in Donuts.
DONUT 1: Acknowledging the lowered bar of expectations ...
“I think we’ve already done that,” Dallas Mavericks coach Carlisle said with an uncomfortable laugh. “But I’m going to be steadfast in my belief in these guys and the fact that we can and will get better.''
DONUT 2: Defining what it is the Mavs now are ...
"That will be based on how everybody will view it," Carlisle said. "The way we're playing, I think we would be viewed as we're not very good, so we've got to work to change that."
DONUT 3: On the goal remaining to be a playoff team ...
“That’s certainly the goal,” Carlisle said. “But it’s a process working toward that. And we’ve got to keep focused on the day-to-day aspects of becoming better and working at being better. And when we do those things and show improvement, we’ll inch toward that goal. ... But it’s work. It’s work and I’m not here to try to convince or fool anybody into thinking it’s not.”
DONUT 4: On Dirk's view that Dallas' BBIQ is lacking ...
"After that game there's a lot of frustration, so things are said,'' Rick said. "We've got to work at getting better at what we're doing. As our recognition gets better, our collective internal basketball IQ relative to our team will get better. That's what we've got to work toward."
DONUT 5: On his 12-16 team's lack of competitiveness ...
"We've got to get better with it,'' he said,. "But I'm going to be steadfast in my belief in these guys and the fact that we can and will get better. The effort (in Monday's practice) was a positive sign, but there's a lot more work ahead."
DONUT 6: On selfishness ...
After Sunday's 129-91 loss at San Antonio, Rick characterized his team like this: "A lack of competitiveness, selfishness and a lack of commitment to one another."
"That was a reaction -- a post-game reaction -- to an ass-kicking. We had some plays that turned out to be selfish plays, but they happened in part because we were in the wrong position on other parts of the court. ... I don't think we're categorically a selfish team. I just think we've got to work through some things and get better."
DONUT 7: On the remaining gauntlet on the 2012 schedule ...
"We’re going through a challenging stretch against all good teams,'' Carlisle said. "But these guys all have a history of doing a lot of good things. We need them all.”
But, he added, "I'm such a positive guy that the thing that I'll say is that in recent days we're setting ourselves up for 'Most Improved.'"
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DONUT 9: On the immediate future ...
"A stretch of games like this really puts you up against it and it’s a great challenge,'' he said. "We can only face the challenge together. I’m gonna push these guys hard. They know it. And we’re still working to become a good basketball team -- a good, consistent basketball team. And our best basketball is ahead of us.”
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DONUT 11: So, are the Mavs rebuilding? ...
"We're rebuilding a championship team, yes," Carlisle said. "The statement is, 'We're rebuilding a championship team.'
"We're not a championship team at the moment. We know that, but I like the roster and we're going to work our asses off to become a better basketball team."
DONUT 12: The Final Word - Rick's holiday wish ...
"Well, we got Dirk Nowitzki back, so I’d say we’ve gotten what we could ask for,” Carlisle said. “And then beyond that, look, we’ve got to get everybody completely healthy and we’ve got to keep working.''