This current Dallas Mavericks squad reminds me of the 2002-05 Lakers. Remember the incredible run the Lakers had before that though? When they had with Big Shot Bob (aka Robert Horry), the scrappy defense of Rick Fox and Devean George, a more fiery Derek Fisher, Brian Shaw and even stints from Horace Grant, Glen Rice and Ron Harper. That 3 year run of role players was a period in Lakers’ shining glory. But then…2003 came and they lost Glen Rice and Ron Harper. Then added Gary Payton and Karl Malone with no real benefits. Then they lost Phil Jackson and Shaq. It just got ugly real fast. And Lakers were quiet as hell for awhile!
That’s exactly what the Mavs are experiencing after losing major key players in Caron Butler, Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea. The defending champs are in 4th place out West, wedged between both LA teams. Jason Kidd may be on his final year after finally winning a ring last year. So the starting point position is essentially divided up between 6th man Jason Terry and Delonte West. What’s disappointing about them more than anything is Lamar Odom. I get it, he’s probably still reeling from the surprise trade a few months. But L.O, cut the excuses! This is a team that could easily be tied in the 2nd spot with San Antonio if Dallas Odom was being the LA Odom we know him to be. He’s only started 4 times so far, which is an adjustment from his consistent playing time in LA. With that obviously, his rhythm is in a free fall. I feel like in order for this Mavs team to turn things around for the 2nd quarter of the season, Lamar and veteran swingman Vince Carter must have better than average productivity off the bench.
Speaking of aging point guards, the only thing the Suns do is move the ball around well, thanks to Steve Nash. Their 3 pt. shooting is abysmal and their defense is less than desirable. Gortat has taken up the big man slack because of an injured Robin Lopez, averaging his 1st double-double season. And I’m quite surprised to see Jared Dudley boosting his numbers on both sides of the ball. He shooting the ball better and getting to the line more often. But the rest of the roster is just pure basura! Send Childress back to Greece asap-idly!
The Nets are ranking toward the bottom in all categories. Which isn’t indicative with the roster that they have. But I did mention a few posts ago, that Deron Williams and New Jersey do not mesh well. For both of his stints, his scoring per game and shooting average have been uncharacteristically low. Like Philly, the Nets also have 6 players averaging double figures in points; including the former Mr. Kim Kardashian. So what’s the problem then? They play defense much like the Knicks do. Everybody wants to shoot and work to get their own shots. They run the ISO for Deron Williams often, but his shooting has been so unpredictable. Guys like Marshon Brooks and Anthony Morrow are immensely valuable to the few wins the Nets have accrued. Plus they have no bench players that can pick up the slack.
I didn’t think it was possible, but the Wizards are worst without DeShawn Stevenson. It’s frustrating to watch a Wizards game because I’ve never seen a group of players so damn selfish with the ball. Much like the Nets, the Wizards do not like to spread the floor. And it’s much to their disadvantage. John Wall is a pretty good PG, but this year he’s just looked “meh” with spurts of flash. Javale McGee has the length to be a solid force in the front, but most nights he looks confused. I feel like the Wizards are forever in “rebuilding” purgatory. No idea when they’re going to turn it around.
And last but not least, the 1 team that screwed the most by the lockout. What Stern did the New Orleans Hornets was complete, utter bullshit! And with the disarray going on in that locker room, it’s no surprise that they suck.
Obviously, there’s a bunch of teams I didn’t discuss because they’re doing what we’d expect them to do. But I’m calling it right now – the Portland Trailblazers will be the Cinderella team of the postseason.