B-Wright Ready; & How Tall Are The Mavs?

B-Wright Ready; & How Tall Are The Mavs?

B-Wright goes 1-on-1 with DB.com as he preps for a Saturday debut. Meanwhile, we're deciding if Larkin is tall enough to play D. And if DeJuan is tall enough to start at center. And swearing that Monta is, in Carlisle's words, 'taller than you think.' The Mavs have come home off the road trip and are regrouping for a homestand. We go inside practice for some observation ...



PRACTICE CHATTER

The Mavs aren't making this official yet. But Brandan Wright himself said after Friday's practice at the AAC that he's planning on making his debut Saturday when the Mavericks play host to Milwaukee.

"It's a game-time decision, but if all goes well in shootaround and pregame I should be good for the game,'' Wright tells DB.com.

The club continues to monitor the small non-displaced fracture of his left shoulder that has sidelined him since Oct. 8. A level of care is understandable.

But Wright, who re-upped with Dallas this offseason with a two-year, $10 million deal, is very much needed to help at the center spot. As excited as he is to get back on the floor -- and as confident as he is that he's bigger and stronger and primed for a good season -- he also wants to be a little patient with himself.

"You only can get (rhythm) back by playing,'' said Wright, well aware of Dallas' upcoming schedule. "It's a perfect opportunity: three games at home in eight days and a lot of (practice) opportunities in between.''

HOW'S THE WEATHER UP THERE?

There was a time when Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle assumed the same thing you might assume from watching the NBA on TV: He thought Monta Ellis was closer to 6-foot than the 6-3 he's listed at.

"He's taller than you think,'' Rick said recently. "When he got here he was taller than I thought he was going to be. ... He's closer to 6-4 than he is to 6-2.''

Height isn't exactly the No. 1 priority for the Mavs right now, who are 13-10 ... good enough to be on a pace for 47 wins but in the tough West, not good enough to be one of the top eight teams in the conference.

There is work to be done in how to avoid giving up massive first-quarter tallies, in how to hold onto fat leads, and in how to close games with the ball in the right hands.

But part of that is a continuation of the judgment of which pieces fit which way. And that really does include whether Shane Larkin (listed at 5-11) might be of assistance as a waterbug defender. And it really does include whether DeJuan Blair (listed at 6-7) can play as "tall'' as he plays "wide'' while supplanting the struggling Sam Dalembert as the starting center.

Some of the answer is want-to. In the final minutes of the loss at Golden State, for instance, Ellis -- despite that 6-3 height -- was very much in the middle of the defensive effort, recording a steal and getting his hands on a pair of defensive rebounds.

Rick's scouting report on Monta's skills, regardless of his height: "He's great athletically, he's got long arms and he's got to play with his athleticism and with his experience. I've been impressed with how he goes after rebounds and with his toughness in a crowd.''

So Ellis "plays bigger than he is,'' in the vernacular. Who else sizes up right, according to our personal eyeball test from up close, as we try to guesstimate the Mavs' heights.
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*Larkin probably is 5-11. But in this photo next to me (Fish), he appears to be right at my level -- and I'm 6-1. Maybe he's wearing think-soled sneakers. Or maybe I'm shrinking in my old age.

Regarding the comparisons to JJB: Larkin is "longer" than Barea, who has some similar skills but is a "squatty body.''

*Mekel is not 6-3 as listed on the roster. We'll bet he's probably 6-1.5 ... and is the beneficiary of the old high-school-program trick of inflating a guy's stature.

*We've got Devin Harris at nearly 6-3 -- at least when his toe is ready to be fully extended.

*Jose Calderon is a legit 6-4. At his position of point guard, that height should be a defensive asset that can be utilized. Once we hoped that improvement there might be about the right mindset and the right coaching ... but there's been no noticeable uptick in Jose's defense as a Mav.

*Ledo is 6-6, and now that we've seen him work in Frisco we can also say that he's thicker and smoother than most guys who play at that level for sure. But he's not the jump-out-of-the-gym athlete some assumed him to be.

*We've got Carter at 6-7, what he's usually listed at.

*A weird one here: Shawn Marion looks to us to be closer to 6-9 than his listed 6-7. Maybe he's grown since first coming into the league?

*B-Wright is 6-10 -- and has been almost that tall since winning Tennessee High School Player of the Year three seasons in a row.

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*Dalembert is 6-11 to 7-0. He hunches a bit when he walks, so you need a true comparison. Recently while we were chatting with the 6-10 Wright, Dalembert sidled over next to Wright and there was a pronounced difference in the size of the two. Sam was a bit taller, and even more noteworthy is that he was way more solid across the chest and shoulders than Wright. And this was a Wright who has put on some muscle from last year.

*DeJuan Blair has been listed at 6-7 since he was a senior in high school in Pennsylvania. It's probably accurate enough; it's too bad he can't undo a bit of his girth and add it to the top.

Dirk - 7-1 or so. We're a little surprised that no one has publicly taken out a tape measure to him since coming into the league at 19. He's a legit 7-footer and then some.

MAVSELLANEOUS

Samuel Dalembert was engaged in a deep (and private) conversation with the head coach following the workout. after today's practice. Dalembert is coming of a four-game roadie during which he averaged only 2.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.7 minutes ... Devin Harris is flying to New York for a checkup on his toe; the DMN says it's a "routine follow-up.'' ... Dirk is aware of the standings imbalance. "All the (West) teams are bunched up right there. It's not like the Eastern Conference, where you just roll through."

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