Mavs Renew Their Quest!
We know their names. Their favorite colors. Their know;ledge of the airspeed of an African swallow. And we know their quest. To bring the NBA title to Dallas.
That quest was rebirthed tonight in Oklahoma as the Mavs began the preseason and started to put the final touches on the roster for the season opening showdown with the Spurs. The result: an 84-81 defeat at the hands of the Bobcats.
But no worries, mate. Preseason isn't about W's. It's about building a title team. Finding out who's at the back end of the bench and the rotation. This is why Dirk, Jet, Jerry Stackhouse, and Devin Harris did not travel to the OK state. Avery needs to keep them fresh and and learn as much about the other players in camp as he can.
A big concern is getting more offense from the center position. Erick Dampier posted six points and 11 rebounds in 20 mintes of preseason scrub minutes. More importantly, D.J. Mbenga (my new favorite Mav with Marquis Daniels in Indianapolis literally going to war with his Pacer teammates) posted six points and five rebounds with two steals and a blocked shot, all while staying out of foul trouble. This suggests he is learning the game, which is huge concerning his athletic ability and the fact Amare Stoudemire is returning to action this season. As for Diop, the projected starter saw limited action tonight. His will be an exciting storyline with the vast improvement he made last season.
As for the new vets, they all seemed to contribute in some way. Greg Buckner posted ten points and likely did plenty on defense that doesn't show up on a stat sheet. Anthony Johnson distributed five dimes. Austin Croshere did a little scoring and a little rebounding. And Devean George scored eight points to go with five rebounds and a pair of blocks.
What does all that mean? Not much. It's preseason game number one. We'll know more in a couple of weeks.
But now down to the brass knuckles of camp. Draft pick Maurice Ager was solid in his debut. Pops Mensah-Bonsu posted scant numbers in seventeen minutes but has a guaranteed contract so he has the fourteenth roster spot. The final spot comes down to four players: Darius Washington, Pat Carroll, Jose Barea, and Ndubi Ebi. With eight points and seven assists in 23 minutes, consider Barea in the early lead.
Next game is Thursday against Sacramento, so we'll talk again then.