As media coverage has increased, technology has advanced and fantasy leagues have slowly taken over the world, sports no longer have offseasons. Combines, free agency, pre-draft coverage, draft coverage, post-draft coverage ... It never ends. In the NBA, the most recent 'event' on the league calendar is the release of the 2013-14 schedule. And yeah, Mavs Donuts are in!
DONUT 1: We're on TV! ...
Of course, the "event'' nature of it all requires a show on NBA TV and on a local level for the Dallas Mavericks, a spot smack dab in today’s Donuts. ... oh, and of course, the annual Coop Treatment, as Mavs voice Chuck Cooperstein walks us through his impressions of the upcoming slate.
And yes, I understand the irony in complaining how the media plays up unimportant offseason events as Coop and I write about them ourselves. Stop yelling at me!
That being said, the release of the schedule has us looking forward and marking a few X’s on our Dallas Mavericks trivia calendar.
DONUT 2: October 30th- Atlanta Hawks vs Mavs ...
Unless Kyle Korver and Shelvin Mack coming to town does it for ya, this game simply serves as the marker for the start to another year of the Dirk Nowitzki-era Dallas Mavericks. Especially in recent years, I like to think the fan base has started to truly understand the caliber of basketball player/human Nowitzki is and is into soaking his remaining years. Still, the sudden awareness we all have of his career’s mortality makes every one of these that much more special.
Oh yeah, and how ‘bout getting back to the playoffs this season fellas?
DONUT 3: November 1st- Mavs at Houston Rockets ...
Just a day after opening night, another significant moment immediately presents itself. You may have heard that the Mavs were heavily chasing franchise center Dwight Howard this offseason (and in other recent offseasons). You also may have heard that Howard chose to join a Mavs’ division rival and young star James Harden when he signed on the dotted line with the Rockets.
If you don’t understand where I’m going with this yet, then don’t watch on November 1st.
DONUT 4: November 9th- Mavs @ Milwaukee Bucks ...
Rarely is there an actual reason to look forward to a Mavs-Bucks game in November, but here we are.
After watching them fall in the First Round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs last year, the Mavs felt compelled to ransack the Bucks’ roster when they signed Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert this offseason. Though he may only receive a lukewarm welcome, I see Ellis taking this night as a kind of "revenge game'' where he feels the need to dominate the bulk of the shots within the offense.
Around here, we’ve come to call this a ‘Mike James’ game.
DONUT 5: December 4th- Mavs @ New Orleans Pelicans ...
Not only do the Mavs get their first look at the inter-division rival New Orleans Pelicans’ (formerly the Hornets) new-look roster and uniforms, but all those who watch will get to see the player who most closely resembles his team’s mascot when Anthony Davis steps on the floor in a Pelicans uniform. We haven’t seen anything like this since Chris Bosh’s Toronto Raptors era.
Compelling stuff here, guys.
DONUT 6: December 28th- Mavs @ Chicago Bulls ...
For the first time in what seems like forever, Dallas will take on Derek Rose, the possible captain of the All-NBA-Good-Guys Team. Rose is obviously a joy to watch, but also represents the biggest threat in the East to a certain South Florida team North Texas folk aren’t so fond of.
No doubt we’ll all be hoping for Rose dominance, but a Mavs victory.
DONUT 7: January 3rd- Los Angeles Clippers vs Mavs ...
The Los Angeles team that isn’t the Lakers actually begins the season as the bigger draw. That was probably true even the last couple of seasons, but still awkward to truly believe.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul was very publicly a top target for the Mavs during their most recent offseason of cap space, although it became clear early on that he wasn’t interested in being anywhere but Los Angeles… but not the Lakers.
Even with Paul returning, their key to success is getting any kind of development from dunk buddies Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Regardless, dunks are still cool. And plenty of them will likely be on display in Dallas on this night.
DONUT 8: January 8th- Mavs @ San Antonio Spurs...
The rivalry is getting older and so are the characters that have played such dramatic roles for these teams over the years. In the same way Dirk won’t be around forever, neither will this classic rivalry. Oh, and it’s one of the few nationally-televised games the Mavs will get all season.
DONUT 9: February 18th- Miami Heat vs the Mavs ...
In 99.9-percent of the games LeBron James plays in, everyone is there to see him. While that will be the case for a lot in attendance at the American Airlines Center this winter night, any storyline in a Mavs-Heat game will always take a backseat to the Dwyane Wade-Dirk Nowitzki rivalry that now nearly spans a decade.
In an era where every player in the NBA seems like they’re best friends or Twitter buds, it’s actually refreshing to know Dirk and Wade legitimately don’t like each other.
The good news for Dirk is when this game is in Dallas, Wade will be surrounded by thousands who share in Nowitzki’s disdain.
DONUT 10: March 23rd- Brooklyn Nets vs Mavs ...
Count the reasons.
First of all, the Nets will be an interesting case study all year long as we watch them try to evolve into a team while being filled almost to the brim with aging, big name players.
Secondly, Jason Terry makes another proud return to Dallas. Though he’s moved on from Boston to Brooklyn, his current jersey is irrelevant when he flies through North Texas. The JET is always a thrill here and will of course be welcomed with open arms.
The juiciest detail on this night though will be Jason Kidd’s coaching debut in the city where he won his only championship. Sprinkle in his ugly divorce from the Mavs accentuated by a public evisceration by Mark Cuban and March 23rd in Dallas will be utterly delicious.
DONUT 11: April 1st- Golden State Warriors vs Mavs ...
While participating in the latest episode of a hot team trying to turn postseason momentum into consistent success over the course of a season and multiple seasons, the Warriors make one of a few appearances against the Mavericks.
It always seems like a mistake for young rosters to bank on improvement solely because of another year of experience, so it was good to see the Warriors add talent in Andre Iguodala even though it wasn’t necessarily in a position of need. Led by the sweetest of shooters Stephen Curry, all season long this postseason darling will be fighting their opponents AND expectations. ... One of the most consistently difficult tasks in all of sports.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
That task -- overtaking opponents and expectations and doing it year-in and year-out -- is one the Mavericks conquered over the course of most of Nowitzki’s career.
The fight to return to that kind of quality franchise begins on October 30th with the Hawks in town.