Tag:Deron Williams
Posted on: September 22, 2009 7:18 pm
  •  
 

The Mavericks: Old Stars bring new success?

What do Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Dirk Nowitzki all have in common? Other than being teammates on the Dallas Mavericks of course Tongue out

They are all over 30 years old (Nowitzki & Marion are 31 and Kidd is 36), all have had great careers and are seen as one of the top players at their position in their best days, and (most importantly) none of them have a championship ring. I bring this up of course because they are now going to be all teammates with the Mavs in the upcoming 09-10 NBA season. We all remember the Kidd/Devin Harris trade between the Mavs and Nets a couple years back, and now this summer Marion was involved in a 4 way trade between the Mavs, Raptors, Magic, and Grizzlies  that sent Marion to Dallas. Kidd and Marion spent two years together with the Suns (99/00 - 00/01), but that was Marion's first two years in the league and when Kidd was in the prime of his career. Both are now "over the hill" (with Kidd WAY over the hill) and are not quite the players they were once. Kidd is still one of the best defensive PGs and a good passer, but he is much slower, can't jump to get tons of rebounds like he use to, and doesn't look as sharp on his passes or drives as he use to. Marion is still a good defender (not great anymore) and rebounder, but he hasn't been able to his scoring (shooting percentages) have went down and his athleticism isn't as "freakish" as it use to be.

Now neither one is a bad player at all, and both can still contribute a lot to a team. Kidd is still one of the best floor generals and leaders at the point, and Marion is still the "Matrix" who can defend anyone from the 1 to the 4 (even some 5's). They just are not at the top of their game anymore. This is more true for Kidd than Marion who may just have been missing an offense that allowed him to contribute a lot of offense. When he had Kidd in his prime, Kidd would set him up with lots of alley oop chances, and when he left the Suns 3 years (in which he still put up really good numbers) until they started the "D'Antoni Run n Gun" with the Anti-Christ. The all offense no defense style provided some very entertaining seasons and boosted Marion's stats. But once he left the Suns in 07 for the Heat, he didn't have an offense or a PG who could set him up and give him the scoring chances. He showed some flashes of returning to his glory days with the Raptors, but it was short lived.

However, this team isn't just about Kidd and Marion, but there is still a player I've yet to talk about who is the best of all of them: Dirk Nowitzki. Even though he is 31 years old, he is still playing as well as he ever has. He averaged 25.9 ppg last  year (3rd highest of his career, 4th in the league) and got the Mavs to another 50 win season. His rebounds have went down, but that is not because he is declining but due to the fact he doesn't need to rebound as much with the improved rebounding of the team (Kidd adding some to that). Dirk is a former MVP that is one of the most difficult players to guard in the league because of his size and ability to shoot the long ball. His biggest weakness, and the reason he hasn't been able to win a title yet (losing to the Miami Heat in 06 season NBA Finals), is his defense. But with Marion being able to cover 3's and 4's, that may not be as big of a problem as it once was.

All 3 of these players have had plenty of recognition and success for their individual success (Kidd making 9 All Star teams, 6 All NBA teams, 9 All NBA Defensive teams, being regarded as one of the best PGs ever, and having 2 NBA Finals appearances; Marion has made 4 All Star teams and was regarded as one of best defenders in his day; Nowitzki has made 9 All Star teams, 8 All NBA teams, made an NBA Finals appearance, and won an MVP), but they have yet to win NBA's greatest achievement: the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. Their time is running out on a chance to win one (especially Kidd), and I'm sure they are hoping this is the year they can do it. They have other good teammates in Josh Howard, Jason Terry, and Drew Gooden.

The West is tough, but there are only 9 teams that have a shot at the playoffs (Lakers, Spurs, Nuggets, Mavs, Hornets, Trail Blazers, Jazz, Rockets, and maybe the Suns but really probably just the other 8). There are a lot of the games top PGs on these teams (Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Chauncey Billups, and Andre Miller) so it's a good thing the Mavs have Kidd. However, the teams that look to be favored (Lakers, Spurs) and the some of the other top teams (Hornets, Jazz) have a big post prescense. Will Marion being able to help mask Dirk's bad defense? Is Erik Dampier just a waste of space that can't rebound and defend well enough anymore? Can Drew Gooden be the new defensive presence for the Mavs down low? Can this team of old stars band together and pull out a surprising title run? These are some important questions when judging the Mavs and they should be one of the interesting teams to watch this year.

Posted on: December 4, 2008 7:24 am
 

Paul Millsap: How good is he?

With last night's performance from Paul Millsap against the Heat, I just can help but being impressed with how great this guy is playing. I don't hear anyone ever talk about him, yet he is continually playing at a such a high level this year. The big man is just unbelievable right now coming off the bench. He has started a few games this year (7 to be exact), but for the most part he is coming off the bench. Whenever he starts and/or gets big minutes, he plays like top power forward.

In his last 6 games, he's got 6 straight double-doubles is averaging:

16.0 ppg 11.8 rpg (4.3 offensive) 1.5 spg
.

On the year he is averaging:

13.0 ppg 7.9 rpg (3.0 offensive) 1.1 bpg 54.2% field goal shooting  73.6% free throw shooting  28.9 minutes per game
.

He has always been a good defensive player and rebounder, but this year he has been stepping up with his scoring as well. He has scored 20+ points five times this year for the Jazz. He is so good at getting offensive rebounds, and he gets a lot of second chance points. He is developing into a very good player, and if it wasn't for Carlos Boozer he would be starting full time for the Jazz. He could definitely start for quite a few other teams in the league.

Right now he has been amazing, and I think he is the front runner for 6th man of the year. I just wanted to shed some spot light onto Millsap because he's a guy that doesn't get much credit or mention, and I think he deserves it. He has been a big part of the Jazz success this year (especially when they didn't have Deron Williams), and I think the Jazz should think about trading Boozer soon to let this guy start full time. He is a much better defensive player, can rebound just as well, and is starting to learn how to score much better as well. Soon I think could be even a better player than Boozer.
Posted on: September 1, 2008 6:44 pm
 

Manu Ginobili's injury

Anyone who watched the Olympic game with USA vs. Argentina in the semi-finals saw Manu Ginobili's injury. If you saw it, you would know it was a lot more than just a minor injury. He know will have to arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle. He should be having it sometime later this week and as of right now there is no timetable for when he will recover. The best guess would be somewhere around 6-8 weeks, but it could be longer or it could be shorter. Then again, if the doctors say he will recover in a certain amount of time, that doesn't always mean he will actually be recovered by then. Remember Andrew Bynum last year? He was suppose to recover from his injury within 6-8 weeks, but he never returned all of last season.

Best case scenario let's say he's back just in time to get a few practices in and be ready for the next season. That is his left ankle and he is a left handed player and he goes to his left more than his right. The point is that that injury could always reoccur and come back, and/or it just bother him for the rest of the season. The ankle is a key joint for a basketball player like Ginobili because he will need it to be okay for him to make quick cuts and turns on it as well as using it to lift him high into the air to make those crazy layups.

Worst case scenario he is out for around half the season or maybe the whole season. He isn't able to do much at all for the Spurs thus leaving everything up to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Bruce Bowen. With how good the Lakers are, how good the Rockets could be now with Ron Artest, how much the Deron Williams and Chris Paul are improving the Jazz and Hornets, the Spurs would find it very hard to have success in the West.

Most likely scenario is that he is able to play within the first two weeks of the next season. He probably won't re injure himself but that ankle injury should linger with him most of next season. He won't be as good as he normally is, Timmy is getting a little older and can't carry the whole team on shoulders all the way to the Finals anymore, and Tony Parker is too busy with Eva Longoria to having a monster year for the Spurs. The Spurs will make the playoffs around the 3-6 seed and possibly make it out of the first round but not likely any farther than that.

No matter which scenario it is, this injury is not good for the Spurs and will impact them negatively in a big way. Ginobili won't be able to be at 100% all season for the Spurs and won't be able to do enough to get them deep into the playoffs. With how much the Rockets have improved, how much better than Laker will be with a healthy Bynum than they were last year (scary) I just don't see the Spurs making themselves a contender this year with Ginobili's banged up ankle.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com