Why no Jet? ... The subtle Ricky Ledo move ... Easter Eggs tucked inside DB.com Boards ... No, Hawes…
DONUT 1: A winning blueprint? ...
Dirk Nowitzki remains the central building block for Dallas Mavericks.
But otherwise, is Dallas building with a winning blueprint?
A recent quote from Donnie Nelson reaffirms his belief that when it comes to free agency, "Dallas is an A market.'' There is, however, a lack of evidence to support this perspective, which causes us to wonder if the Mavs' promise of a "quick rebuild'' even includes the right tools.
Here, we compare notes from inside Mavs HQ to examine ways to double-check this blueprint - and to avoid a "Treadmill-of-Mediocrity.''
DONUT 2: Mavs at Denver ...
Dallas is 36-25 and we talk about the Mavs battling for the 6 seed. Denver is 25-34 and suddenly the Nuggets are 10 games back in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
But these numbers are deceiving, if you've watched these two teams play each other this year.
Back in November, they played twice. Denver won both, and the Nuggets have now won four of five in the series. So the fact that Denver has dropped six in a row and 11 of its last 12 is a back-burner issue to the Mavs, who might be wise to view this as a "trap'' game given that the Nuggets are the rare losing-record team on the upcoming schedule.
About that challenging schedule, coach Rick Carlisle said, "It's supposed to be hard -- it's NBA basketball. It's the best basketball in the world, so look, you either rise to the challenge or you don't ... And right now our mindset is that we've got to rise above all the challenges, but we've got to do it collectively.''
Part of that mindset, I think: Convincing themselves that it's not just Portland, the Pacers and the Clippers ... that Denver is "challenging,'' too.
Looking back at November tape ought to do that trick.
DONUT 3: Gal in Frisco ...
Gal Mekel joins Ricky Ledo in Frisco tonight for the Texas Legends' meeting with Bakersfield. You can get your very affordable tickets here ... and come to Frisco to visit with the fellas and with R.J. Choppy and with me, as we'll also have the telecast on KTXD Channel 47 beginning at 7 p.m.
DONUT 4: The smartest money guys in DFW ...
We're not what you would call "wealthy.'' We just have, like you, desire to create a more financial future for my family. Let us please introduce you to Woody Levinson and Bill Saplicki at LS Wealth Strategies! Because they're Mavs season-ticket types, we like 'em. But because they've taken such a keen interest in using their skills to help our family handle our finances, our investments and our future, we love 'em! Give them a click or a call at LS Wealth Strategies! and tell them The Fish sent you!
DONUT 5: Quoteable ...
"The analysis of which teams are better ones and all that, I mean, we're going to see them when we see them. Right now, we've got to focus on Denver." - Rick Carlisle.
DONUT 6: The Uberman as elite ...
How elite is Dirk as an offensive weapon?
You are familiar with LeBron as elite. You are familiar with Durant as elite. They'll finish 1 and 2 in MVP voting this year, and that says plenty.
But there's a third guy.
In terms of "points per play'' in the NBA this season, LeBron leads the league at 1.141 per. Durant is third at 1.115 per.
Sandwiched in between them? Dirk is at 1.123.
DONUT 7: Exhibit A ...
Your honor, may I submit the Denver Nuggets as Exhibit A for how difficult it is to be great -- at least as a club trying to emerge from the NBA West?
Denver has in the last decade and a halk acquired and traded away stars, changed coaches and GMs (and owners) and, since 2003, has qualified for the playoffs in every season.
This year figures to be the end of that run. And it is indeed a "run'' and an impressive one.
But who outside of Denver knows or cares? Playoff consistency for a decade? While jousting with the likes of the Lakers, Spurs, Suns, Thunder and yes, Mavs? And you are but a blip on the sports radar screen?
Rick's right. The NBA is hard.
DONUT 8: Mavs DB.com Podcast ...
Catch up on our latest burns and our latest concerns in the DB.com Mavs Podcast here on iTunes and up and running featuring Mike Fisher, Kevin Turner and Mike Marshall!
We break 'em down and do it in an only-slightly NSFW manner. Pull up a chair to the hoops roundtable and let's pass it around the perimeter ...
The DallasBasketball.com Mavs Podcast, y'all!
DONUT 9: Oh, those steaks and burgers!
Thanks to Dee and the incredible staff at Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar for our incredible Mavs pregame dinners ... the legendary DFW restaurateur has done it again.
Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar is THE "upscale casual'' place to dine before you attend events in Dallas ... And the gang from DB.com looks forward to seeing you there this Friday!
DONUT 10: Rim protection ...
When Tony Parker roasts you, it's largely because your point guard can't cover him. If Ty Lawson roasts Dallas tonight, same thing.
But this goes with the Jose Calderon territory. This is part-and-parcel with having signed up. Dallas will get beat, one-on-one, on the perimeter.
Which means tonight is a chance for it to be "Sam Dalembert territory,'' too.
"We have to do it as a team," said Carlisle. "We have to have multiple guys ready to guard guys like Lawson. There's going to have to be a lot of help. One-on-one, you're just not going to be able to do it."
You know that going in. You knew it going into the season. Tonight's opposing point guard, then, isn't just a Calderon challenge. It isn't even just a five-guys-on-a-string challenge.
It can be a Dalembert challenge, and a Dalembert success, too.
DONUT 11: Cuban vs. Larry Brown ...
Mark Cuban's view of the NCAA vs. the D-League? I've got that here.
SMU coach Larry Brown's response -- featuring "That was the worst''? We've got that here, complete with the audio.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
In Denver's loss on Monday to Minnesota by a 132-128 score, the T-Wolves shot 64 free throws. That's the most in an NBA game in 15 years.
Do the Mavs have the wherewithal to get to the line tonight? Can that be the difference-maker?
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