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News » Dallas Mavericks Notes, Quotes 2008-10-24

Dallas Mavericks Notes, Quotes 2008-10-24

Dallas Mavericks Notes, Quotes 2008-10-24
--G Antoine Wright has been the big surprise of the preseason. The 6-7 fourth-year swingman out of Texas A&M had a leg up in learning the new offense because it's similar to what he ran with Jason Kidd in New Jersey.

Wright's size, defense and ability to penetrate has put him on the precipice of nailing down the starting job at shooting guard, which would allow Carlisle the luxury of bringing Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse off the bench.

A reserve with the Nets, Wright was having his best season a year ago, but after the trade he found few minutes in Avery Johnson's rotation and largely remained a mystery.

"Nothing is penciled in yet. There's always an eraser," Wright said of starting. "It's just important to stay sharp and try to look at this as a steppingstone and try to secure a position in the rotation."

--G/F Jerry Stackhouse played for Rick Carlisle in Detroit and put up big numbers as a full-time starter. Neither Stackhouse nor Carlisle is certain what role Stackhouse, who turns 34 on Nov. 5, will fill this season.

One thing is certain. Stackhouse, slowed by groin and hamstring injuries last season, said he's in better physical condition than he's been in recent seasons.

"I probably short-changed myself a little bit by not being in the best shape as possible because I felt like I could come off the bench and play 18 to 20 minutes without being in top-notch shape," Stackhouse said. "With him (Carlisle) coming in and putting the onus on me, just getting my butt in shape, I did that."

--G Gerald Green, with his fourth team in the span of a calendar year, said if anyone thinks he underestimated the level of commitment required to survive in the NBA, let alone star, they're flat wrong.

"I never underestimated. Never, never," Green said. "I know how hard I worked. I always wanted to be great and I still do. Now people may think I have, people may have misjudged me, but I know."

Traded by Boston to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett deal, then sent to Houston in February and cut by the Rockets in March, Green is entering a crucial fourth season in the NBA and first with the Mavs.

"Now, have I always been ready? Nah," Green said. "Sometimes I'd get in a game as a young player and I just wasn't ready to play. Me not putting the dedication in? No, I've always been dedicated to this basketball game."

The former high school prodigy and NBA dunk champion will likely have to test his patience on a veteran-laden team. He's behind Antoine Wright, Jerry Stackhouse, Jason Terry and possibly Devean George at shooting guard.

Green did put together an eye-raising preseason that included some spectacular high-gliding dunks, which he figures to get more of in the Mavs' new up-tempo offense. He scored 29 points in 20 minutes on 10-of-12 shooting against Sacramento and followed up with 19 points in under 16 minutes on 8-of-13 shooting against Chicago.

Coach Rick Carlisle said Green has clearly stated a case to be part of the rotation.

"It's more about being focused and dedication and being ready at all times," Green said. "I don't know how the situation is going to go, but I have to be ready at all times and that's what I'm going to be."

--G J.J. Barea is being trusted to handle backup point guard duties, mostly spot duty, behind Jason Kidd and at times, Jason Terry, who looks to be Carlisle's Sixth Man.

The Mavs made that commitment when they waived journeyman G Keith McLeod on Thursday (Oct. 23). A hamstring injury sidelined McLeod for the entire preseason, but the Mavs had tweaked his contract to enable them to get a longer look without having to cut him by deadline day. Apparently they lost patience.

Coach Rick Carlisle ideally wants to keep Jason Terry at shooting guard as much as possible. He foresees Kidd playing in the low-to-mid-30-minute range, which means about 12 to 15 minutes a game either Terry or Barea will be charged with keeping the pace high and the defense strong.

That didn't always happen in the preseason. The Mavs lost substantial leads to Detroit and Chicago in Kidd's absence. Carlisle called the rotation at point guard "fluid," and the Mavs, with an available spot on the roster, have the option to bring in another point guard.

"The only thing that's safe to say is Jet's going to play it some, J.J. will play it some and Kidd is going to be point guard whenever he's in the game," Carlisle said. "But, Jet's going to play a lot of 2, so in certain situations he may be out there with J.J. and he may be out there with other guys as the point."

--C DeSagana Diop said he quickly realized he needed to get in better shape to handle a season of coach Rick Carlisle's practices and up-tempo game style.

He's not alone. As the preseason concluded, Carlisle admitted that the team needed work.

"Our team is struggling conditioning-wise," Carlisle said. "We've got to keep on working on conditioning. Playing a faster pace is more demanding. You have to be at a higher level of conditioning. We'll get there."

Carlisle has a deep roster, which he said he won't be afraid to take advantage of to keep players as fresh as possible.

"We've got a lot of bodies, which is a good thing," Jerry Stackhouse said. "That's going to hopefully make us stronger down the stretch. We've got a lot of guys we can throw into a lot of different situations. The thing is to just find a way to put it all together and that's Rick's and his staff's job to do that."

MAIN REASON MAVS CAN WIN: They have all the veteran leadership a team could want, especially now at point guard, and a coach who knows how to deal with them. The offense is catered to Jason Kidd's strengths, and in a motion half-court set, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard could be even tougher to guard.

MAIN REASON MAVS CAN LOSE: They don't have the personnel to carry out a fast-breaking offense over an entire season. Six key players are 30 or older and their young players are mostly unproven. Still lacking a consistent interior scorer, the Mavs could resort to becoming a jump-shooting team again.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've got to coach these guys to have a nastiness about them at the defensive end. A lot of them have it naturally, others not as much. But, we have to have a strong collective will at the defensive end and if we do we'll be a good running team." -- Coach Rick Carlisle, when asked the key to becoming a successful transition offense.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: October 24, 2008


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