Mavs Refuse to Blow it Up
Blow it up…Rebuild…Do right by Dirk…Don’t tank…Try to win…Get younger. All of them were sentiments describing Mavericks fans feelings toward their team as they entered this summer. Indeed, you’re excused if your head was spinning just a little.
But hear it here first – the Mavericks were NEVER going to blow it up. Not as long as Dirk is here, and, maybe more importantly, not as long as Mark Cuban is the owner. They’re both just way too competitive to allow that to happen.
Dirk wants to finish his career here, the way Kobe Bryant did in L.A. and Tim Duncan just did in San Antonio. There is still a lot left in his tank, and there might even be more if the Mavs can somehow reduce his minutes to about 28-30 a game. It’s why the recent acquisitions of Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut are so important.
Might Barnes be overpaid in his new contract? He might be. Might he also be able to thrive in a system where more is going to be asked of him then it was with the Warriors? He might.
To his credit, while he understands what more touches could mean as far as his individual numbers are concerned, he also knows it means there are likely more decisions to be made.
Barnes also knows what you expect, but he’s not going to allow himself to be defined by those expectations. If you had told a Mavs fan that at some point they’d be able to land a healthy 24-year-old former lottery pick, who has been a starter for the most successful team in the NBA the last two years, they wouldn’t believe it possible. And yet that’s what Barnes represents. Someone who can walk the line of contributing to the Mavericks present, while hopefully ensuring their future.
Bogut could very well be a 2017 version of 2011 Tyson Chandler. While he won’t play as many minutes as Chandler did, his ability to screen, roll, and catch on offense, as well as rebound, rim protect and block shots on defense, are things the Mavericks desperately need. Like Chandler, he has been an injury prone player, but, like Chandler, he also has the sense of how to be a part of a great locker room.
None of this is meant to disparage the exiting Zaza Pachulia, who ironically takes Bogut’s place at Golden State. Pachulia is as good a person and teammate as you’ll ever see, but when you see a lob to the rim caught and dunked, or when you see a block from the weakside, or a shot altered, you’ll see the value of Bogut.
And none of this even takes into account the fact that both Barnes and Bogut have been part of a lot of winning lately. They are also good friends, and that they’re coming to a low-key room should make their transitions that much easier than if they had to go at it alone. The two of them allow the Mavericks to compete for a playoff spot this year, while at the same time ramp up their desires to get younger, stronger and more athletic in their future.
Barnes, as mentioned earlier is 24. Justin Anderson entering his second year is 23 years old. Second round pick A.J. Hammons, whom the Mavs are convinced is a first round talent, will be 24 when the season begins. Seth Curry, acquired as a free agent after an intriguing last month in Sacramento, will be 26.
This sets the stage for next summer when the Mavericks will own their first round pick in what is setting up to be an exceptional draft year. That, combined with what at the moment appears to be around $40 million in cap space, and the Mavericks, in their own seemingly Byzantine way of doing things, are rebounding after their initial plans blew up – again. They’ve gone and cobbled something together that encompasses it all. Blow it Up…Rebuild…Do right by Dirk…Don’t tank…Try to win…Get Younger.