Sunday, November 06, 2005

Too early to say I-told-you-so?

"Thank's Dirk. Now I have to wash my hair."
Well, yes, it is to early to say I told you so, but the Mavs did whip the Spurs last night by 19(!). Props to Wisconsin's own Devin Harris, who went 8-8 and scored 20 points in the fourth quarter.
I never thought they were as bad as everyone was saying they were. They had a quiet offseason for once (which always bodes well for chemistry), Michael Finley left, which to me was not a bad thing for three reasons: a) because Finley was clearly on the decline, b) it cleared up space for the much younger and more talented Marquis Daniels and c) it clearly established Dirk Nowitzki as the go-to guy on the team. A team is better off with a go-to guy than without one. The Detroit Pistons were a rare exception. Also, while I tended to believe the Denver Nuggets' 32-8 run under George Karl was a fluke, I tend not to think that of the Mavericks' 18-2 run under Avery Johnson. Why? Because they finally started playing some D, and because Avery really proved his coaching chops in the playoffs, coming from 2-0 down on the road against the Rockets and nearly beating the Phoenix Suns juggernaut. I was shocked to see that Doug Christie was in the starting lineup for the Mavs for opening day and apparently beyond. This is the most masochistic thing any team has done this season. Marquis Daniels is clearly more talented and Doug Christie is DONE!!!!!. (That's (Caps Lock) d-o-n-e (shift) 1-1-1-1-1 for you, Mark Cuban.) Not only that, but he proved he was done in the first game of the seaason with zero points in 20-something minutes, and has scored a grand total of 8 points in 87 minutes. Here's a head to head:
Doug Christie Marquis Daniels
PPG 2.7 8.3
APG 2.7 0.0
RPG 3.0 3.3
SPG 1.67 2.00
BPG 0.0 0.0
FG% .231 .474
FT% .500 1.000
3P% .000 .500
MPG 29.0 29.3
(Sorry about the formatting. I couldn't get it to look right)
As you can see, there's no contest. Not even good D can make up for those shooting percentages, and Daniels is even averaging more steals.

If the Mavericks are serious about winning, they'll start Daniels immediately, and use Christie only as a stop-gap until Jerry Stackhouse gets back (if ever). The Spurs' offseason was totally overrated, as are Finley and Nick Van Exel. The Mavericks are both younger and deeper off the bench. I still firmly believe that the Mavs can win the division and the championship, as long as they get Daniels in there.