Carlisle's Top 10 Mavs Reflections In Donuts

'I love the NBA,' Rick Carlisle says. 'Next year will be my 30th year in the league so I've been very blessed to have an opportunity to be in this a long time. It's a great life.' And the Mavs coach is ready to plunge right back into the life - but first, a brief moment of reflection on the season past: Carlisle's Top 10 Mavs Reflections In Donuts.



DONUT 1: Rick on 'How close are the Mavs?' ...

"We're not kidding ourselves into thinking that we're right there,'' says the Dallas Mavericks head coach. "We know we have a lot of work to do. As always, I'm grateful. I'm grateful to be here. I'm looking forward to this summer because once again, it's another pivotal summer. It's a really important time for us."

DONUT 2: Rick on Dirk and Cuban...

"I want to do the best job that I can do for my owner,'' he says. "I want to do the best I can do for my veterans. Mark and (Dirk Nowitzki) are the two primary guys in my life. Those two guys have given me an unbelievable opportunity here in Dallas, to experience the ultimate a couple of years ago and now to continue on with a long-term contract.''
Smile
DONUT 3: Rick on leadership ...

Carlisle raves about the work done by Dirk in this department,'' calling Nowitzki "phenomenal.'' Why?

"Because of the challenges he faced really from Day 1 with the knee,'' Rick says. "I remember being in Europe and the thing flared up right before the Barcelona game … Dirk really hung in. He nurtured in our younger guys who had challenges. He stayed patient and he was a leader.''

"Marion and Carter did the same thing,'' Rick says. "We got through it. The great Chuck Daly said that the job of the head coach is to land the plane safely at the end of the year. That's what we wanted to do."

Rick also gives credit to his staff for more of the same.

"I had a lot of help,'' he says. "My staff did a great job this year. Jim O'Brien brought a lot of wisdom, a lot of knowledge. One of the things I've prided myself on is I hire guys that I can learn from, and I learned an awful lot from him."

DONUT 4: Rick on O.J. ...

"I like O.J. a lot,'' Carlisle says of his free-agent 2-guard. "I think he fits into what we're doing. Like everything else in this world, this is probably going to come down to money. Right now, I don't know where all that stuff is going to stand. He had a very good year for us, so there's going to be a lot of team's interested in him."

Carlisle says Mayo "took quantum leaps as a player this year,'' adding, "In a lot of ways, it's a no-brainer to want to have him back.''

There is obviously a bond between coach and player here. Yes, it's a business. But maybe the bond will be a factor when it comes to dollars-and-cents negotiations.
Smile
"I love O.J. as a kid, as a person,'' Rick says. "I spent more time with him this year than probably any player I've ever had. With him, I'm like a Little League dad. I wanted him to do well so badly that sometimes it would get the better of me. But that's OK. Because if you care that much that's never a bad thing."

DONUT 5: On the 'death of continuity' ...

"We're dealing in a new world here with the new CBA where I believe that there's going to be more turnover on a year-to-year basis,'' says Rick, speaking on the subject of roster continuity. "I think our league is going to be more like baseball. I think there's going to be more one-year contracts and more guys that are going to be on one-year deals. If that is the case, from a coaching perspective, you've got to be able to plug guys into your system quickly and efficiently. That's one of the challenges I've got to take on. We'll see. A lot of this is new and a lot of this is in the infancy stages.''

DONUT 6: Rick on Brandan Wright ...

"He's a guy that we obviously like,'' Rick said of the free-agent big man. "He's gotten better both years that he's been here. He's a guy that we have a great interest in having back. I think that's obvious. That'll be one of our priorities this summer. Again, I can't speak to what the dynamics are going to be in terms of the finances and those kinds of things. He's a guy that we would like to have back."

DONUT 7: Rick on upgrading ...

"We've got to get better at every position, if we can,'' he says. "Personally, I'd like to have as many as these guys back as we can that fit because the fewer new guys that we have next, the better it's going to be from the beginning of training camp going forward to get the team functioning the way we want it to function. Those things will be evaluated. ... We're going to have some newer guys on the team. We know that. We're just not exactly sure who, at this point."

DONUT 8: Rick on the rookies ...
Smile
"It's disappointing that Jared (Cunningham) had the issues he had physically; we like him as a prospect,'' Carlisle says. "We think he can be a guy that fits into our system, but we've got to get his knee right. This is a big summer for him. Crowder and Bernard James both did a terrific job for us. Their maturity was evident because they were able to step in. During one stretch of the season, we had two second-round picks in our rotation, which is a challenging situation. I thought they handled it well and got better.''

DONUT 9: On the need to recharge the Carlisle Battery ...

"My battery is always kind of going,'' he says. "I'm going to come in every morning early and find things to do. ...

DONUT 10: The Final Word ...

"I love the NBA,'' says Carlisle, who won his 500th game this season. "Next year will be my 30th year in the league so I've been very blessed to have an opportunity to be in this a long time. It's a great life. This league, it makes you absolutely alive every single day. There's always stuff to be thinking about. Those are the kinds of things that make you better."