The indisputably good news is that NBA basketball is back, the Mavs tipping off their preseason…
Wednesday Morning Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: Player-By-Player Scouting Reports ...
DallasBasketball.com is putting the finishing touches on our exclusive Player-by-Player Scouting Reports -- projections and plans and upsides and pitfalls -- constructed with guidance from president Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and elsewhere inside the Dallas Mavericks personnel department itself. It's 15 Mavs and 15 reports – Premium-grade information from inside the AAC. We'll have it ready for Premium Mavs fans in time for the start of the regular season. Here, a taste of what is included, featuring Jose Calderon:
Mavs scouting view: This is part of Dallas' exhaustive search to find another Jason Kidd. The Mavs have always had great admiration for Calderon as a playmaking point guard and view his high-percentage, high-efficiency shooting as a bonus. What happened with this team at point guard last year accentuated the need to pay for the fix. Dallas is confident this is it.
Projected role: Calderon has career averages of 10.1 points and 7.2 assists per game and there's your projection. There are advanced stats that scream it (career .576 true shooting percentage), there are simple stats that show it (46.1 percent beyond the arc last year) and there is The Eye Test that proves it: Calderon is a deceptively good scorer because of how well he picks his spots and is an unarguably great distributor because of how he picks his teammates' spots.
Upside: What Dallas envisions here: Dirk and Monta helping Calderon spread the floor, with pick-and-roll/two-man-game options available on both sides of the floor, being engineered by Monta and Calderon. And again, in one area he's not just a Kidd wannabe, but he's actually superior to Kidd: Jose is a catch-and-shoot threat from anywhere on the floor, and his bombs won't be pleasant surprises (as was the case with Kidd) but rather an expected, planned part of the arsenal.
Pitfall: Without argument, it's Calderon's defense. The per-possession numbers against him have always been torture to read. Now, Dallas can argue that playing with a better program than Calderon did in Toronto or Detroit can be part of the fix. Mavs staffers will also argue that Calderon – as poor as he is on that end – is bigger and no worse than Collison and James were. But the fact is, Calderon's assignment will be to engineer an offense that outperforms the other team's offense.
Contract: Calderon has a four-year, $29 million deal. Year-by-year: $6,791,570, $7,097,191, $7,402,812 and $7,708,427.
Quotable: "My job this year will be to try to get the ball to the right guys at the right moments, try to know where they want the ball." -- Jose Calderon.
Folks, we're launching our 14th year of Mavs coverage and as we continue to strive for your approval (and your dime a day!) we are so proud to be on this ride with you.
Thank you, DB.com Mavs fans!
DONUT 2: Monta's slump ...
Our complete review of Mavs-at-Rockets is here, including our analysis of the work of Calderon, Dalembert and Monta.
The Ellis stuff is of particular interest as he's enveloped in a mini-slump now in the preseason. Monta has made just five of his last 23 shots and he -- presumably -- makes the adjustment to having Calderon alongside him as the orchestrator.
Dallas (3-3) in the preseason will try it again tonight with a 7:30 tip against the visiting Hawks. DB.com's 75-Member Staff will be inside the AAC all day and all night for full coverage.
DONUT 3: Germans Don't Care About Dirk? ...
Our man Glenn Yoder writes from Germany, where he's drunk on Oktoberfest:
Germans, what gives? Dirk Nowitzki carried the flag for your country in the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony! He's a Top 20 all-time NBA player, the greatest international player ever to lace up, and one of the coolest dudes in all of sports. He's a Mavs icon and yet ...
A live-from-Germany, just-in-time-for-Oktoberfest fact-or-fiction look at Germany's love - or absence of love - for The UberMan.
And by the way: Don't get upset at Glenn. He loves the Mavs as you do ... but it a little disappointed by his overseas findings.
DONUT 4: Follow the Mavs on Twitter ...
Follow our Mavs coverage on Twitter, where our live coverage of preseason will unfold all day and every day! Mike Fisher, Chuck Perry , David Lord and Michael Dugat keep you up-to-the-minute informed on all things Mavs!
Also, be part of the Mavs conversation on the best discussion forum in the NBA, The DB.com Boards!
DONUT 5: The Finest Dentists in North Texas! ...
Our neighborhood dentists, even though we don't even live in the McKinney neighborhood? It's McKinneyDentist.com, and it's been the case for Nate, Tony and me for my kids' entire lifetime.
At McKinneyDentist.com, Dr. Berlin, Dr. Markham, Dr. Lynch and Dr. Wood have been providing the finest in everything from technology to chair-side manner for years, to my family and to so many of you. Their great work has part of us bringing our Mavs coverage to you since 1995 ... And we're proud to be associated with The Finest Dentists in North Texas ... McKinneyDentist.com!
DONUT 6: 'Funniest Tweet of The Week.' ...
One nationally-respected writer calls this Mavs-related observation "The Funniest Tweet of The Week.'' And he didn't mean it as a compliment. Locally-based Mavs fans with an ironic sense of humor have created a little subculture of following colleague Dwain Price due to what we might politely call his "unique'' take on things.
We all have our own perches from which we are permitted our own viewpoints. Dwain is allowed his, which I will present without further viewpoint from my own perch:
"It's clear after the first two preseason games that Monta Ellis has the skills to finally make Dirk Nowitzki the Mavs' second-best player.''
DONUT 7: Arbitrary But Fun ...
Preseason is the best time to rank things. Teams, players, coaches, organizations, ball boys, whatever. Rankings are a great way to get fans excited for the upcoming season and ESPN is quite aware of that.
We go a step beyond their ranking of the Mavs. We engaged here in "Ranking The Rankings Of The Mavs.''
DONUT 8: Cuban on LeBron ...
Hey, Mark Cuban, do you believe LeBron is good for the game?
"Yeah, I think LeBron's good for the game,'' the Mavs owner says. "Absolutely. It brings a lot of attention. He does a good job. He's a good ambassador. And, with their two titles they're still like the bad guys. There's a confidence bordering on arrogance that's good for them as a team and good for us as a league, because it also makes them the team that everyone wants to knock off.
"In some respects,'' Cuban continues, "they're kind of like the Oakland Raiders when they were winning. ... You either love them or hate them, and that's always good for the NBA. It's just like when we beat them, I would go to places where I'd never been and people would give us a standing ovation. That's good for the NBA.''
"Hopefully,'' Cuban adds, "that (the Heat winning titles) all ends this year.
Want more Cuban? Here's all the goods from his recent Q-and-A with the DFW media.
DONUT 9: The over/under ...
Vegas has the Mavs betting number at 43.5 wins. We are all taking the "over,'' are we not?
DONUT 10: Welcome, Social Club! ...
We welcome to the DB.com family Oak Cliff Social Club, voted Dallas' best "dive bar'' and located in the heart of the Bishop Arts District.
This "place for local people to come without paying tourist prices" is anchored by a 40-foot, oak-backed, Brazilian black granite bar, and a "garage" area featuring couches, TVs, and twin pool tables. Local beers and home-style pizza will do the trick before or after the Mavs game.
Thanks to Oak Cliff Social Club for supporting the Mavs, DB.com and so many positives things happening in the Bishop Arts District!
DONUT 11: Fix-'er-uppers ...
Some basketball business was taken care of on Tuesday as Dallas cut to 16 by waiving non-guaranteeds Renaldo Balkman, Devin Ebanks, D.J. Kennedy and Fab Melo. Keep in mind that somebody like Melo can boomerang back into the organization by joining Frisco ... and that McConnell makes it through the first cuts only to give the team enough PGs for practice with Larkin/Harris still out.
Meanwhile, on on-the-floor business ...
I noted at the beginning of camp that Dallas' defense was probably going to be an 82-game-long work in progress. That is going to have to be acceptable, I believe.
But the clock is running on some of the things the Mavs must establish much sooner than that, things the Mavs believe they have the tools to solve.
Exhibit A and Exhibit B from Houston: Getting outrebounded 54-42 and committing 18 turnovers.
"The days and games are going to come quickly and the season's going to come quickly," said Rick Carlisle. "So we've got a lot to do in a short period of time."
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Jason Kidd reflected on his career on the night of his Nets jersey retirement and he talked about his future as the Nets head coach. When asked who was really good at getting the most out of him, he responded without hesitation.