By Craig Fields
Can the Mavericks season be saved? A loaded question for sure. Can it be saved? In one word? Sure. All that has to happen is Dirk has to get back to MVP form. Elton Brand has to become that All-Star power forward we saw in his days with the Clippers. Rodrigue Beaubois better known as Roddy B has to sustain that flash of brilliance that he had in the 2010 playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs. O. J. Mayo has to play like he knows he is one of the better 2 guards in the NBA and average 20 points a game. Chris Kamen has to recreate that chemistry he gained with Dirk by playing on the German National Basketball team and make it mean something. Point guard play between Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, and the newly acquired 37-year old Mike James has to penetrate, consistently and accurately discern what is happening on the court and be able to capitalize on mismatches, and most importantly of all, limit turnovers. The bench has to average about 25-35 points a game. And maybe last but certainly not least, the injury bug’s bite that has plagued this team all year has to suddenly vanish. If the Mavericks have all of this happen then sure, their season can be saved.
Is all of this possible? Maybe. Is all of this likely? Not really. I suppose the better question is will it be saved? The answer to that question is a resounding NO. The Dallas Mavericks will not turn their season around. They will not make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They will not win the seemingly necessary 43 – 45 games to clinch an 8th seed in the West. Just writing these words almost appear to be blasphemy even to me. The Dallas Mavericks have been a competitive team for the past 11 to 12 years. To not have them in the playoffs, but instead have the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers seems almost Twilight Zone-esque. Well as Rod Serling so adequately put it, “You’ve just crossed over into, the Twilight Zone.” I look at the product that Mark Cuban has given this city of Dallas and all I can do is smh. “Shake my head” at the different promises Mark Cuban has yet to deliver on. “Shake my head” at the fact that he completely and utterly dismantled the 2011 NBA Championship team. We haven’t seen a championship team handled this way since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the late 90’s. This team is devoid of chemistry, leadership, and overall competitive talent. Please do not get me wrong. Dirk is a heck of a leader. But how much leading can he really do sitting on the sideline in a suit ailing from some injury earlier in the season and as of late.
These are the facts as they stand right now. The Mavericks are a below average team. They are last in the league in scoring defense giving up 102.9 points per game. They have lost eight overtime games and three other games by three points or less. The Dallas Mavericks could easily be 31-16 but instead, through 47 games of the season they are 20-27. Light at the end of the tunnel time? The Mavericks will have plenty of cap room next season. With the one year contracts Mark Cuban doled out this season, and the plethora of talent in the free agent market at the end of this season, maybe the Dallas Mavericks will obtain that ever so elusive second or even third superstar to go along with Dirk’s dimming talent. Maybe this season will all be a bad memory, and bad memories are like injuries, they heal over time. But for the fan that is interested in right now satisfaction all I can say is grin and bear it because this season is unfortunately a wrap.