NBA PM: A New Kid(d) In Dallas?
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made no bones about feeling betrayed when future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd left town for New York. It was just one in a series of offseason disappointments for the Mavs, who hoped to have Kidd backing up Deron Williams when the 2012-13 NBA season tipped off. The Mavs are seldom left empty-handed, however, and when Kidd and Williams made other choices, Dallas manufactured another option. In acquiring Darren Collison from the Indiana Pacers they brought in a young point guard with plenty to prove, and one that has the confidence of head coach Rick Carlisle.
“I think he’s a guy that can manufacture pace the way Kidd did, he can throw it ahead,” said Carlisle as training camp got underway. “I don’t think anybody in the history of the game can throw it ahead as well as Kidd did, but I think Collision can do it at a level that’s good for us. I also think he can motor it up on the dribble. I think he’s in a group of about five, six, seven guys in the league that can do it with phenomenal pace and I think (Roddy) Beaubois is also in that category. The guy I like, I mean he’s been playing well in the summer and the last couple of weeks is Dominique Jones, he does a great job of pushing pace, he can pass the ball and he gets to the rim. Our guard situation is going to be good, we are going to have a lot of competition and is going to bring out the best in everybody.”
Collison wasted no time when he learned he had been traded to the Mavericks. He immediately contacted the Mavs and asked for film of all his new teammates so he could start preparing for his new team.
“I thought it was important to get film on each guy, considering I’m going to be giving these guys the ball most of the time,” said Collison. “O.J. (Mayo) is the type of guy that can score at any time, and he can put the ball in the hoop at will. I think Dirk Nowitzki speaks for himself. For Dirk, I think it’s just a matter of playing off him. He’s going to get the ball whether it’s at the high-post or the low-post, but I think everybody has to be ready to play off him. Chris Kaman is another guy you can play off, too. He has such great skill in the post. I didn’t know how good he was in the post until I actually played with him last week and he can do some damage down there too, so we have a lot of different weapons and not just in the starting unit but off the bench, Delonte (West), Dahntay Jones, and the list goes on.”
Collison did his share of time playing against the Mavericks, especially when he was a member of the division-rival New Orleans Hornets. Playing against players is nothing like preparing to play with them.
“When you’re playing against them you don’t see as much as when you’re on their team,” said Collison. “Then when you’re watching film, you’re like, ‘Okay. He can do that.’ And Dirk Nowitzki, just watching him in person, I can’t remember the last time seeing a nice seven-foot shooter that can shoot the ball the way he does. It should make my job a lot easier coming off the pick-and-rolls. I got a chance to play with David West and he’s a good pick-and-pop guy, and he’s going to be something similar, but I think the difference between Dirk Nowitzki and him is that he can stretch the floor out a little bit more.”
There’s a little more pressure on the point guard in Carlisle’s system because there is very little play calling in the flow of the game.
“My goal, my continuing goal, my ongoing goal is to call less or no plays, if we can,” said Carlisle. “That’s bad, right? We want our guys to make plays, not call plays. Philosophically and categorically that’s where I stand with it. You are going to have to call plays in crunch time and after timeouts and things like that. I want our system to be based on simplicity and counters and guys knowing which counters are there and how to react and respond appropriately. Not having seventy-five plays and each have five options. That’s too confusing. With a team with eight new guys, simplicity, hard play, efficient play all those things are going to carry the day in terms of importance. In the NBA season, to be a very good team you have to get out to a good start. You can’t just say we are going to be a work in progress and we will see how it goes. You’ve got to hone in on developing some kind of level of excellence over the period of training camp. When the ball goes up on whatever day it is, at the end of October that’s what we are shooting for.”
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel may have unintentionally helped prepare Collison to run Carlisle’s system because he gave his young point guard a similar responsibility in Indiana last season.
“Coach Frank gave me a great deal of control to play call,” said Collison. “My second year there he gave me the keys, call my own plays, and make sure everyone was getting the ball where it needed to get to. I’m not sure how it’s going to be here, but I like to be in control of the game as well, I like to make Coach’s job easier. When you’re playing with Dirk or Chris Kaman or O.J. Mayo, it’s going to be easy to give them the ball, because they pretty much know what to do from there.”
As for Deron Williams and Jason Kidd, Collison promises to quickly turn the attention of Mavs fans from what was and what might have been to what is.
“I don’t get into that,” Collison said of the pressure of comparing himself to other point guards. “I don’t believe in pressure, and I don’t get into that. I always feel like in the NBA you’ve got to be your own player. Deron Williams is a good player, and I’m pretty sure Mavs fans would love for him to come here, but I’m my own player. I have a job to do here. My job is to win and make this team successful, and that’s it.”
If the new-look Mavericks are as good on the court as they look on paper, winning may, indeed, be the ultimate salve for the wounds of disappointment that stung Dallas over the summer. Collison will clearly be the focal point, one the Mavericks hope will lead them into a continued era of success.
Chris Kaman Seeks Redemption
There are a number of Dallas Mavericks looking for a fresh start this season, though none more than Chris Kaman. He was upset over the way the Clippers trade went down, even more upset over the way things went in New Orleans, and he’s looking forward to a fresh start to put all of that behind him. Kaman talks with HOOPSWORLD about his fresh start with the Mavericks, getting back to All-Star form, and whether or not his team can compete with the impressive front line of the Los Angeles Lakers in this exclusive interview:
The Anti-Flopping Rule Arrives
The NBA will adopt an anti-flopping rule beginning with the 2012-13 season, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson announced today via press release:
“Flops have no place in our game – they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” Jackson said. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should – after a warning – be given an automatic penalty.”
“Flopping” will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact.
Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.
Any player who is determined to have committed a flop during the regular season will be subject to the following:
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine
If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.
The league will announce at a later date a separate set of penalties for flopping that will apply during the playoffs.
What will be interesting is to see how effective the league is at dissuading players from flopping. The reason it has become such a widespread part of the game is precisely because it is so hard for referees to make a distinction between a real foul and a fake one when the game is moving in real time. Granted, the penalties and fines will be announced after the fact and following a video review, but how many times will the NBA have to issue fines before players start to take it seriously? How many times will the NBA be able to say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a flop has been committed?
Sure, there are players like San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili and Phoenix’s Luis Scola who have turned flopping into a standard defensive play. They and others like them will have to adjust their games to reflect the new rule. But there are plenty of players who do it more selectively and more craftily, who will likely create a massive gray area that will be difficult for the NBA to police.
What do you think? Is flopping out of control and in desperate need of an effort to eliminate it, or is it just part of the game that the NBA can’t and shouldn’t worry about? Drop your thoughts in the comments section below!
HOOPSWORLD Season Previews
The 2012-13 NBA season is rapidly approaching and there are plenty of early storylines emerging.
Can the Miami HEAT repeat their championship quest from last season? Is this the final championship run for the aging Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs? Will Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks finally put all of their talent together and join the league’s elite? Can the new-look Los Angeles Lakers, now boasting Dwight Howard and Steve Nash unseat the Oklahoma City Thunder as Western Conference champions? Is this the year the Minnesota Timberwolves reach the playoffs behind All-Star Kevin Love? Likewise, the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors are poised to make playoff runs of their own, but can they seal the deal? Are the Dallas Mavericks toast, or will their new group of hungry veterans surprise us all?
The HOOPSWORLD team has these questions and more all covered and you can find season previews for all 30 NBA teams by following this LINK.
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