DONUT 1: Dirk on the Pitch ...
The Dallas Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki back in the gym. But not before a priceless pair of moments on the pitch, as he flops like no Spur ever dreamed of and then penalty-kicks he way to glory.
Hmmmm. Time to get back in the gym, Dirk ... which we get to below.
DONUT 2: Where's the beef? ...
ESPN predicts the Mavs will finish ninth in the West. Unlike some Mavs fans and apparently Mark Cuban himself, my beef isn't with the prediction. It's reasonable enough; the Warriors finishing ahead of Dallas is reasonable. The T'Wolves finishing ahead of Dallas is possible. The Lakers falling to 12th, way behind Dallas? Delightful.
No, my problem with the process is different, and is two-fold.
DONUT 3: The problem from inside the AAC ...
First, I don't understand the weightiness given the ESPN predictions by guys who are in the foxhole and who understand the process. Is it truly motivating for Mark, as he suggests, chip-on-shoulder, that a collection of sportswriters (of varying levels of "professionalism'') think the Warriors and the Nuggets and the T'Wolves might be better than the Mavs?
I guess I understand why fans of a team feel "dissed''; it gives us something to do to occupy our basketball-drought time. But isn't Mark Cuban (and Nick Young of the Lakers, irate over ESPN's view of his new team) too busy to bother with such nonsense?
DONUT 4: And furthermore ...
And then there is this: I fully grant you that I carry with me some healthy skepticism when it comes to so much of what ESPN pumps out as "news,'' "sources,'' "inside info,'' "experts'' and the like. (To put it kindly: Our friend Marc Stein takes the business of "sourcing'' and "credit'' and "credibility'' very seriously. In doing so, he conflicts with his employer's odd, dishonest and unethical habit of reporting that breaking news items it has nothing to do with are being broken by "ESPN and other media outlets.''
But even when I wrestle beyond my biases ...
ESPN's survey of 200 basketball writers includes bloggers from the organization's many "loose'' affiliations. I say this with no disrespect ... but there is nothing scientific about this process and this process hardly even qualifies as a "methodology.''
It's the exact equivalent of FOX Sports asking David Lord, Michael Dugat, Chuck Perry and Kevin Brolan for their "expert'' predictions of how the Bucks, Hawks or Cavs seasons will play out ... and again, no disrespect here ... but Lord, Dugat, Perry and Brolan have spent precious little time studying the intricacies of the Bucks, Hawks and Cavs (rosters, injuries, coaching, schedule, stats, trends) that their forecasts would be intended for entertainment purposes only.
Because as Dallas-based and Mavs-centric writers, they are only wildly guessing at the possible fortunes of middling Eastern Conference teams.
And so it is with ESPN's "methodology'' and its results. Reading such a thing is a way to kill time. Investing emotion in arguing the predictions is - for the Mavs front office certainly and I think for us, too -- a way to kill brain cells.
DONUT 5: The preseason slate ...
Something close to real basketball! The Mavs begin their preseason schedule at home against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 7 at 7:30 at the AAC. Then comes a visit to Memphis on Oct. 9, and a handful of roadies: at Indiana (Oct. 16), at Charlotte played in Greensboro, N.C. (Oct. 19) and at Houston (Oct. 21).
The Mavericks close out the exhibition season at home with games against Orlando (Oct. 14), Atlanta (Oct. 23) and Indiana (Oct. 25) ... And then comes the real thing: Following preseason play, Dallas tips off the 2013-14 regular season against the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday, Oct. 30. ... and of course DallasBasketball.com will be there for every practice, every game, every moment!
And as we begin our 14th season at DB.com ... thank you again for joining us on the ride!
DONUT 6: But ... didn't we already know that about Kaman?! ...
Mark Cuban was visiting with Norm Hitzges on The Ticket and spoke frankly about the failed Chris Kaman experiment.
"I think where we ran into problems ... we couldn't convince Chris not to put the ball on the floor,'' Cuban said. "When Chris would just pick-and-pop, he was a top-five shooter in the NBA. Dirk and Chris playing pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll was lethal. No team could stop it. (But) Chris had his own way of doing things, and that created some issues. It just didn't work.''
I am interested in seeing the advance-stat evidence that Chris Kaman is, when pick-and-popping, a "top-five'' jumpshooter. But I don't need any proof to know that Kaman is a black hole on offense ... and that the Mavs had to know that going into last year.
In that sense, Kaman was what he is ... and if all of this is some sort of revelation to Dallas ... well, that would be a surprise and a disappointment.
DONUT 7: Party time! ...
A tip of the cap of appreciation to Frisco Party Station, your neighborhood headquarters for all your party needs ... everything! All the neighborhood schools represented -- college and even high school! -- and the party is on!
DONUT 8: The 2013-14 Mavs "theme'' ...
From B-Wright last week at the presser: "Everyone at this table at one point in their career has been written off. So we have a lot to prove.''
From coach Rick Carlisle: "Everyone sitting at this table feels like they have something to prove and wants to be a part of this.''
Yes, in case you are wondering, The 2013-14 Mavs already have themselves a "theme.''
DONUT 9: Allegiance ...
I don't know if Monta Ellis is really a Cowboys fan. But it seems like a darn smart thing for him to claim.
DONUT 10: A response to Kerr's "solution'' ...
Steve Kerr is a championship player, a high-profile broadcaster and has front-office experience. So his thoughts on "repairing'' the NBA Draft are worth reviewing, which we do in this thread on DB.com Boards.
But at the risk of being dismissive, our David Lord offers a truthful retort:
"We have one of these 'the-draft-is-broken-because-teams-are-tanking" columns every time there's a star-to-be in the next draft. It's the nature of the beast. But the solutions offered are always ideas that have been tried already, and all they've done is produce outcomes even less desirable than tanking.
"For all the complaints about tanking, oftentimes -- maybe even in an overwhelming number of times -- we hear fans of teams in need of help supporting the idea.
"There are pluses and minuses, risks and rewards. In this space, DB.com has addressed the idea that it invites a "losing cancer'' into an organization, and that there can be an Andrew-Luck-to-the-Colts-level quick turnaround, and that in the end, there are no guarantees at all to getting the right player, him becoming a star, and you winning a title because of it.
"But why try to legislate all of that? Why not let teams weight for themselves the pluses and minuses, risks and rewards, and then make their own choices?''
DONUT 11: The Quoteboard ...
Who said what and what does it all mean? Check out a DB.com tradition, the "Mavs Quoteboard,'' as we review the Top 12 Quotes from the "Meet The Mavs Event.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Above, we politely request that Dirk get off the pitch and into the gym. Request granted, as demonstrated here, middle of last week in the basement (courtesy of the terrific DB.com-lovin' Stevallica of Mavs.com):