If you are a Dallas Mavericks fan, I want you to do me a favor. For the last 19 games of the season, no more talk of the offseason or Deron Williams. None. The Mavericks have more important things to worry about, and all of this talk about playing for next year is doing nothing but distracting the players. Whether it’s Lamar skipping games and asking for buyouts or Terry “auditioning” for 29 other teams, this behavior cannot be allowed to spread to the rest of the Maverick squad in this crucial part of the season.
The Dallas Mavericks are the defending NBA Champions damn it; it’s time they started playing like it.
Despite only going 2-7 in the Maverick’s recent 9 games in 11 nights stretch, they seem to have hit a stride here recently. Having won their last 4 games, Dallas is looking to go on a run. Four in a row without some of their best players mind you. No Marion, no West, no Haywood? No problem.
Enter Rodrigue Beaubois; he is averaging 15.8 points a game and shooting an efficient 54.7% from the field in the 4 wins by the Mavs. The word efficient is the keyword there. We all know this kid is flashy and entertaining, but the team needs more than just a spark off the bench from him. They need consistency, something Roddy B has been lacking ever since he scored 40 points against the Golden State Warriors in his rookie year. With all of the injuries and his insertion into the starting lineup, we have seen a more of a playmaking type of style from the French guard. He’s creating opportunities for his teammates, he is not quick to shoot or drive like the fans are used to seeing; although, he will still do that on occasion.
And what about Brandan Wright? In Haywood’s absence, Wright has had to embrace the backup center role now more than ever. In Monday’s game against the Nuggets, Wright played his second highest number of minutes in a game this season (27) and went 7-9 from the field for 15 points. He brings an edge to this Mavericks team that they have been lacking since the departure of Tyson Chandler, combining a high basketball I.Q. with pure athleticism. Playing out of his position at the 5, Wright has shown his versatility; he will be given more playing time as a result. Rick Carlisle has a lot of options at the 4 and 5, a problem he hasn’t had since he began coaching in Dallas. It’s a good problem to have.
The amazing thing is that the Mavericks have rarely had the entire team healthy at the same time this season, yet they still find themselves sitting as the 5th seed in the Western Conference. Despite their lack of effort, conditioning problems, and injuries, the Mavericks are still in a position to make noise in the playoffs. You have to wonder if Lamar Odom sees all of this and thinks, “Hey, these guys are winning even when I contribute nothing. Imagine if I start producing, how could we ever lose?”
That is the mindset the Dallas Mavericks need to have. With the depth they have, and a superstar in Dirk Nowitzki who has been on a tear as of late, the only team that can beat the Mavericks is…well the Mavericks. If they are fully healthy heading into the playoffs, it honestly shouldn’t matter who they play. The next four games should put this to the test, as they are against Western Conference playoff teams starting with the Lakers tonight in Dallas.
So get your popcorn ready Dallas Mavericks fans, because the next few weeks can be the difference between a repeat – or a defeat.