While watching Dallas Mavericks games this season, I can’t help but think to myself “I hope the new season of Shark Tank was worth it.”
It’s been a rocky start of the season for the Mavs. Granted, losing Dirk Nowitzki at the beginning of training camp due to a knee injury wasn’t the best way to get the ball rolling. That aside, there’s been some bad basketball on the court. It’s hard to believe this team is 13-20, because most of the time they’ve looked a lot worse than that. Keep in mind, the Mavs are just two years removed from winning their first and only world championship.
So what went wrong? Many believe it started with the Mavs letting center Tyson Chandler walk away before the start of last season. Chandler indicated he wanted to stay and help defend the title, but the Mavs wanted to start slotting some money to go after the big 2012 free agents. Fair enough, but when you shoot and miss on free agent after free agent, disaster looms. And it’s not that they missed the big fish, it’s how they missed.
What raised some eyebrows is the fact that it appeared the owner was, and maybe still is, too busy being Hollywood. Case in point, Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams, who is from the DFW metroplex, was one of the big fish on the radar. It looked like the Mavs plan to free up some money may pay off after all. The problem is when it came time to for the two parties to meet and talk business, Mark Cuban was marked down as absent. Williams was there with his agent, along with Mavs Head Coach Rick Carlisle and General Manager Donnie Nelson. But Cuban was off filming episodes of Shark Tank in California.
Williams appeared to take this as a sign of disrespect, went back to Brooklyn and accepted their offer. He would later state his frustration with Cuban, saying he had questions only the owner could answer. Cuban would eventually say the Mavs were probably better off without Williams. To add insult to injury, they let both guards Jason Kidd and fan favorite Jason Terry walk. Terry was another one who wanted to come back, just like Chandler the year before. However, he said the Mavs basically ignored him and left for Boston. I wouldn’t be surprised if other free agents at that time or in the near future saw how all this went down and took notice. Interesting enough, a major weakness on this current team is the point guard play.
Speaking of this year’s team, let’s go ahead and dive into it. After not making the big catches they had hoped for, the Mavs settled with small pieces to surround Dirk. It didn’t seem to be a bad idea, and I was liking the moves. The thing is once Dirk went down with the injury, none of those players outside of OJ Mayo stepped up their game. While Mayo played like an All-Star, the rest of the team played like a JV team. They gave Darren Collison the keys to drive the offense at the guard position, and he ended up driving himself to the bench. Collison showed flashes of speed and explosion to the basket, something the Mavs have lacked for a while. The problem is he was out of control, turning the ball over way too many times. It got so bad that the Mavs signed 37-year old Derek Fisher to take over, with Collison coming off the bench. Fisher would later be waived so he could spend more time with his family.
Turnovers, lack of rebounding and sloppy play have been the misdoing of the Mavs all season. In short, they make too many bad decisions on the court. A four-point deficit quickly turns into a 14-point deficit, and it grows from there. When the Mavs lose, they lose big in the blowout type of way. Even with Dirk back and Mayo continuing with the hot hand, this team still makes bad mistakes. These bit pieces that were brought in haven’t come close to paying dividends. It’s to the point where Carlisle has threatened to start suspending people if the play and “basketball IQ” didn’t start improving (he has since backed off from that). It’s a miracle he only has them at seven games under .500, but not without moments of frustrations.
I think everyone understands that owners of sports franchises have other business ventures. But I also think there is a little concern among Mavs Nation about all the guest appearances on TV shows and the Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper and Sketchers commercials while the basketball product seems to be heading in the opposite direction. I’m personally hoping that changes.
Maybe the new season of Shark Tank is good, because so far the new season of the Dallas Mavericks hasn’t been.
Written by C. James