Grizzlies vs. Mavericks: In Which We Ask SB Nation Dallas For Some Insight

Feb 29, 2012; Memphis, TN, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) drives to the basket in the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

I had the great pleasure of having a quick back-and-forth today with Jonathan Tjarks, who is the managing editor over at SB Nation Dallas. With the Grizzlies taking on the Mavericks tonight in our third game in three nights, I figured it will do all our readers a great service to have a Mavs expert give a little insight on the team. Since, of course, we're all trying to catch our collective breath with this back-to-back-to-back set.

Jonathan asked me a few questions about the Grizzlies for SB Nation Dallas, to which I was happy to answer.

For a look at what I had to say, click here: Five Questions With Straight Outta Vancouver

First, can you talk to us a little bit about the Jason Kidd injury. Certainly, given his age, there has to be some long-term concerns here, right?

Probably. His play has (understandably) fallen off a cliff this season, given his age as well as the ridiculous schedule. I'm firmly in the camp who thinks it's time for the Mavericks to get younger, and I'd much rather have Delonte West and Rodrigue Beaubois getting minutes at the PG position going forward.

Those are the only two Mavericks players who can penetrate into the lane, and when they aren't in the game Dallas' offense becomes incredibly stagnant, with a bunch of 30+ jump-shooters standing around the perimeter and watching Dirk, whose hardly the most spry player himself these days.


Now, as many Grizzlies fans are still coming off the high of winning a playoff series (and taking the Thunder to 7 games), are Dallas fans less anxious about this season, since, of course, you're coming off a title run and, as we love to talk about, you guys are primed to re-tool your team this summer? More simply, are they willing to give this year's team a pass because they won the title last year?

Undoubtedly. After watching the Mavericks come up short 10 straight times and having their heart and
character questioned by nearly everyone around the country after '06 and '07, the dramatic way they came won in '11 was one of the all-time great sports moments in DFW.

If they hadn't won last year, their decision to let Tyson Chandler walk, which essentially ended chances of them contending this season, would have been a far more controversial decision. As is, people are willing to give the Mavericks a pass on the assumption that the front office knows what they are doing.

Is there any hope at all for Lamar Odom becoming, how do I say it... useful this season?

While he hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard statistically, it's not a coincidence that Dallas is 0-7 without him in the line-up this season. With Odom out, the Mavericks have nothing at the 3/4 positions behind Dirk and Marion and very little playmaking and athleticism on their second unit.

One thing to watch out for in the last two weeks is the Odom/Brandan Wright pairing. Part of what made him so dangerous in LA was his ability to make big-to-big passes over the top of the defense to Bynum and Gasol, but Haywood and Mahinmi are two of the worst finishing big men in the NBA. If they aren't wide open for a dunk at the front of the rim, there's no guarantee they score.

Wright, on the other hand, has good footwork, length, touch and hands around the rim, and him and Odom could be a devastating combination against second-line big men. Now that he's finally earned his way into Dallas rotation, it's something I'm keeping a close eye on.

Brandan Wright was a highly-touted kid coming out of college, but just hasn't seemed to find the right fit. What can you say about his game and how it fits into the Dallas system?

Actually answered the last question before I saw this one. I wrote a longer column over at RealGM talking about why Wright has finally come on in his 5th season in the NBA last week.

TL; DR: Finally healthy, can't create his own shot or defend bigger 5's, but has length, athleticism and skill to finish shots of others penetration as well as protect the rim. One of best bargains in the NBA at $1 million.

CLICK HERE FOR MY ANSWERS ON THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

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