DONUT 1: Cheating the game ...
"TheKillerLeft'' knows the rules of this Dallas Mavericks game: It's about "new Mavs,'' as first discussed on DB.com Boards.
But his "cheat'' is a fun cheat.
"I guess for me,'' "TheKillerLeft'' says, "there's a tie for "most intriguing player" between Wright and Dirk.''
"As I see it, this is Wright's year. For the first time in his career, he's entering the season with a role. ... It's easy to see that they are giving him a real chance here this season -- as in, even more real than the chances they gave him over the last couple of seasons. Given the current facts and circumstances, I'm almost completely sure that we'll see Wright start the season as a fixture in the rotation - first big off the bench, for what...20-25 minutes? That's a big-boy role in the NBA.''
OK, "Killer.'' You done cheating?
DONUT 2: No, he's not done cheating ...
"However,'' "Killer'' says, "the real winner of this contest has to be Dirk. Though we are all guilty of it, isn't it a little insane to just pencil him in as a franchise player for this season? He hasn't been one for two seasons, at this point. That's not good.
"Can he stay healthy? An unbiased observer might be skeptical. If healthy, can he still consistently dominate offensively? Again, this should be met with a fair amount of skepticism.
"Just how much of the will to win have these last two seasons (which had to have been excruciating) taken from him? Will he still be a machine who wants to hit every shot and win every game, or will the team's return to "comfortable playoff qualifier" (which I feel is likely) be enough for him, if only on a subconscious level? Letting up is only human nature, after all.
"In short, is Dirk ever going to really be Dirk again? To me, that's the most intriguing storyline of the season, because all these new role players that have us excited aren't going to mean squat without Dirk being Dirk.''
Again, "TheKillerLeft'' isn't playing the game fairly at all. But his smart takes add loads to the conversation. So it makes the cut.
DONUT 3: The targeting of Calderon ...
Reader "HaywoodWorkman'' offers, "I hafta say Jose Calderon. He seems like the only guy you could plausibly say the Mavs prioritized (I mean, other than the guys they didn't get), and probably the only guy you could argue they overpaid this offseason.
And there's a deep-thought addendum to "HaywoodWorkman''s level of intrigue.
"I makes me wonder,'' he adds, "what it is Mavs have up their sleeves. It makes me wonder when they last targeted someone and over-payed to get him. Gortat? Almost. Dampier? Not great precedent. Anyone else? This is a great opportunity to show they really are 'The Smartest Guys In The Room.' I see some stats that make me think they could be on to something, but his defense scares the hell outta me.''
DONUT 4: Me personally? ...
I'm a Dalembert man here, and I'll keep the explanation short: Of all the other new guys Dallas is truly and clearly counting on, Samuel Dalembert is the one who I'll want to see perform substantially better than his "norm'' -- because if he does that, the Mavs are one "above-the-norm'' player better than I am counting on them being.
DONUT 5: Another Sam man ...
But "Hamez'' has a different reason.
"It's not because I don't know what he can do,'' "Hamez'' says, "but because he is vastly under-rated in my opinion. Maybe just as under-rated as Chandler was before he played for us. He is no Dwight, but I am hoping everyone will be surprised that our biggest weaknesses (rebounds and rim protector) last year will be alleviated by Sammy.''
DONUT 6: A vote for Ellis as the sixth man ...
Says "JameyDB,'' "I do remember saying (early in free agency) that we should sign Ellis and make him our new JET off the bench and tell him SCORE SCORE SCORE. I got laughed at. ... No one liked that idea. I still think it's where he fits in the best. I think Calderon needs to start at PG and Ellington at SG and then sit Calderon early (he's older than Ellington) and run in Ellis to spark it up.''
"Now, I think it might take about a fourth of the season before Carlisle can convince him (of the benefits of this). Ellis will have to see it for himself on the court, then accept the tinkering that Carlisle does with the lineup and then BAM! Ellis kicks ass in the sixth-man role and stays there.''
DONUT 7: The view from South America ...
"Adanos'' is looking for a JJB replica.
"On Larkin: For starters how much will he play?'' "Adanos'' asks. "And if he plays, could he become something similar to J.J. Barea? Im really excited to see him play in the NBA. Part of (my excitement) I assume is due to him having missed the Summer League ... so I kinda want to know what he can do.''
DONUT 8: But Monta takes the lead ...
From "Olderdallasfan'': "Ellis, because I see such a huge difference between his possible upside and his downside. If he fully responds to Carlisle and the other coaches he could be a near All-Star-caliber player. If he fails to respond then he's a weaker version of Mayo.''
DONUT 9: An Ellis-as-star vote ...
From "Audiosway'': "Mine is Ellis. I feel he has true star potential and is actually recognized as a star. I think he gets the same bad wrap dirk got because of Nellie. I feel he is a willing defender but will he listen to Rick and learn how to defend? Also how will he react to being on a team with a true superstar? He's never had that before.
"I think people too often forget that he hit the NBA straight out of high school. He hasn't had exactly the best in terms is stability of well-rounded coaching. I know he is a clutch shooter. I guess I'm just really excited about seeing how he will react to great well-rounded coaching.
"Will he live up to his potential,'' "Audiosway'' wonders, "or fight it?''
DONUT 10: More on Ellis ...
From "Mythago: "Ellis has a chance to improve his efficiency playing off of Dirk. This could be a really nice season for the two of them.''
DONUT 11: How about the mystery rookie? ...
Reader "Samperkinsfan'' nominates second-round rookie Ricky Ledo for consideration. "Intriguing''? You bet. But "Samperkinsfan'' has one reservation in mentioning him.
"I don't want to say it,'' he says, maybe jinx-minded, "because high expectations aren't probably a good thing.''
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Final Word goes to DB.com's own David Lord, who says, "My choice is Monta Ellis.''
"What intrigues me is that there are some huge items about him that seem uncertain to me - and each could end up at either extreme, or anywhere in-between,'' D-Lord says. "In total, it looks to me like "Ellis in Dallas" could play out in any number of very different ways. The difference in results could spin the Mavs future in all kinds of disparate directions.''
D-Lord goes into more depth about those "disparate directions'' here in "Monta's Fit And Future'' -- just one of the many smart Mavs takes you find around here at DallasBasketball.com!