Amar’e Stoudemire Appears to be Headed to Dallas

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

It’s hardly a secret that Dallas’ frontcourt has been glaringly thin since the Mavs were forced to send away backup center, and pogo-stick extraordinare, Brandan Wright in the Rajon Rondo deal back in mid-December. What’s even less of a secret is Dallas’ once highly efficient bench became an inconsistent, unreliable mess due to the lethal dynamic of Wright’s outragious scoring efficiency, athleticism and general production.

For several months the word was that Mark Cuban’s plan to fill this void would be through the addition of head coach Rick Carlisle’s former Indiana star, Jermaine O’Neal. Unfortunately that never happened. O’Neal had said all along that he planned to return this season after the new year, but when a trip to Germany for some unique treatment on his knees didn’t yield the desired results, the 36 year old attempting to play in his 18th season was forced to forfeit this season entirely.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Thankfully for Dallas, another unique opportunity has fallen into their lap. After months of speculation, the New York Knicks have officially bought out the final year of Amar’e Stoudemire’s five-year, $99.4 million contract from 2010. Stoudemire, being a 6’10 forward/center, is hardly the player he was five years ago when he first signed with the Knicks. Once a 25 PPG and 12 rebound machine, the six-time All Star has seen his career derailed by a number of knee and back issues over the past few seasons. This season, Stoudemire has played in just 36 games for the NBA worst Knicks, averaging 12 points and just a shade under seven rebounds in 24 minutes a night. To say this would be an upgrade for Dallas’ bench would be a massive understatement. [Read more…]

Mavs Rally Behind Dirk to Upend Thunder at Home

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

On Sunday night, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle found himself in a pickle. His starting center Tyson Chandler was going to miss the game due to lower back spasms. Further complicating the issue was the recent departure, via the Rajon Rondo trade, of Tyson Chandler-lite, Brandan Wright. What he was left with was Greg Smith, an unproven, somewhat undersized big man. But, rather than lean on Smith from the gate, a whimsical dream – a nightmare really – prompted Carlisle to craft the most Don Nelson lineup imaginable. The Dallas starting lineup for Sunday night was as follows: [Read more…]

Costly Turnovers Doom Mavs Against Hawks

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Monday night in Dallas marked just the second game for Rajon Rondo in a Mavericks uniform. His prior outing had seen a fairly stagnant offense for the most part until Monta Ellis flew in to save the day with a heroic fourth quarter charge. Unfortunately, that same calvary would not make an appearance against the visiting Atlanta Hawks.

Photo Credit: dallasnews.com

Photo Credit: dallasnews.com

Atlanta came into the game riding a hot streak, winning 12 of their previous 13 contests after a 7-6 start. Make no mistake about it, this is not the same Hawks team from last season. In fact, in his pre-game press conference, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle stated “they could very well be the team that comes out of the East this year. That’s how good they are.” On Monday night, their play validated Carlisle’s claim. [Read more…]

Blockbuster Trade Brings Rajon Rondo to Dallas

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Late Thursday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks pulled off one of the biggest trades in recent memory. Not only did the Dallas Mavericks acquire a premiere point guard in his prime, but one who has already made four All Star appearances and specializes in orchestrating offenses.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

As for the cost of his acquisition, the Mavericks were most notably forced to send away fan favorite Brandan Wright, a spark plug backup center who leads the league in scoring efficiency. Other pieces of the trade included reserve forward Jae Crowder, starting point guard Jameer Nelson, and a pair of draft picks (a 1st and 2nd). Dallas also received Dwight Powell in the deal. [Read more…]

Dirk Nowitzki: Humble Star and Top Foreign-Born Scorer

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

This past Tuesday, during a game against the visiting Sacramento Kings, Dirk Nowitzki found himself on the brink of history. Not only would a 17 point night move Dirk up to ninth on the NBA’s All-Time Scoring List, but it would also make him the league’s top scoring foreign-born player by leap-frogging Hakeem Olajuwon in the process. The game got off to a sluggish start for Dallas, falling behind by as many as 24 points, but in the end Dirk’s Mavs were able to right the ship and capture a more-or-less convincing win, 106-98.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The historic basket came with 8:56 remaining in the fourth quarter; a silky-smooth catch-and-shoot from the left elbow off a Monta Ellis dish. The bucket gave Dirk a career total of 26,946 points for his illustrious career and drew a rousing ovation from the home crowd.

But not everything about the Big German’s journey has been as smooth as his jumper. Dirk has faced down countless demons over the course of 17 years. He’s been called “soft,” a poor defender, a choke-artist in big playoff moments. It didn’t seem to matter how many points he scored. Only one thing could rewrite his legacy; an NBA title.

Dirk had been to the Finals once before, going up two games to none over the Miami Heat before an epic collapse derailed Dallas’ title hopes. The team would then fall in the first round of the playoffs in three of the next four seasons, leading many to doubt whether or not Dirk would ever lead the Mavericks to the promise land.

2011, however, proved to be the defining moment in Nowitzki’s career. Leading a team of castoffs, Dirk led a furious charge through the Western Conference, derailing the feisty Portland Trailblazers, sweeping the reigning, defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, and overpowering the up-start Oklahoma City Thunder on his way back to the Finals. There, Dirk would not only have to face his greatest failure in a rematch with Dwyane Wade’s Miami Heat but he would also have to contend with the self-proclaimed most hyped and publicized dynasty-in-the-making.

While the Mavs were hardly the same team that had fallen in 2006, the Miami Heat could say the same. This Heat club now featured the likes of two-time MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh to compliment Wade’s own stellar skill set. But behind the leadership of Dirk, Tyson Chandler, and Jason Kidd, the Mavs felt they had the pieces necessary to stun the NBA world.

The turning point of the series came in Game 2 after Wade sank a corner three to put Miami up 15 midway through the final frame. The win would have given the Heat a commanding 2-0 lead the Mavs surely wouldn’t have been able to come back from, though thankfully it would never come to that. Rather than lie down and accept their defeat, Dirk led a furious comeback that would find a place in NBA Finals lore for all time, outscoring the over-confident Heat 22-5 over the final seven minutes and change to win 95-93 and tie the series at a game a piece.

Although Miami would answer with a win in Game 3, Dallas’ confidence was at an all-time high. The Mavs would rattle off three consecutive victories, overcoming everything Dwyane Wade and LeBron could throw at them and even Nowitzki’s illness in Game 4. The Mavs would claim the series in six games and Dirk would be named the Finals MVP with averages of 26 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Since that time, Dirk has watched his team’s roster turn over four times, though this year’s squad appears to have more firepower than any he’s ever had – which is saying something considering he played with Steve Nash and Michael Finley in their primes.

Even with every challenge Dirk has faced down over his illustrious career, his consistency and longevity continue to amaze. This season he’s averaging 20.6 PPG on 52.3 percent shooting. And despite everything he’s accomplished, he remains as humble as ever with regards to his place in history.

“Passing the Big O and knowing that only nine guys ever in this league scored more than me – that’s crazy to think,” he told reporters back in August. “From where I came from, a little dump in Wurzburg, Germany, it’s been an amazing ride. So, you know, hopefully I can have a couple more good years and we’ll see where I end up.”

Rick Carlisle – someone familiar with all-time greats – calls Dirk one of the greatest ever. And at the rate he’s going, Dirk could potentially climb as high as sixth spot all time in scoring before he completes the three-year, $25 million deal he signed this past offseason. If he plays beyond that, Wilt Chamberlain’s fifth place mark remains a possibility. Not bad for a gangly 20-year-old kid who started his career coming off the bench for Don Nelson.

To see some of Dirk’s greatest scoring milestones, checkout the video below. The compilation was done by the NBA and includes not only his first career points but several milestones and game-winning shots along before the way to Tuesday night’s latest record.

And as always, follow Darreck on Twitter @DarreckWKirby and be sure to checkout ProjectShanks.com for the latest in Mavs news and updates.

Mavs Fast Break Ep. 2 with Chris Stuckey & Darreck Kirby

Mavs-Fast-Break

CLICK HERE to listen.

With the NBA season underway, Chris Stuckey and Darreck Kirby continue Dallas Mavericks coverage on ProjectShanks.com with another episode of Mavs Fast Break. Topics discussed on the podcast include:

– First impression of Chandler Parsons in Rick Carlisle’s offense
– Parsons vs Ariza through six games
– Mavs stellar first halves vs third quarter woes
– Tyson Chandler’s impact on both ends of the floor
– Re-evaluating the Western conference playoff picture

Follow Stuckey on Twitter: @TheChrisStuckey
Follow Darreck on Twitter: @DarreckWKirby

Dallas Mavericks Blow Huge Lead, Hold Off Feisty Celtics

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

Dallas, TX: The AAC was rocking as the Mavs reutrned from their brief road trip to New Orleans looking to push their winning streak to three games against the Boston Celtics. Much like their home opener, the Mavs raced out to a towering lead, only to watch it melt away in yet another third quarter letdown – the primary storyline for the team as a whole through its first four games.

Dallas may have squandered all but one of its 31-point lead but more than anything what stood out to me was the grit that both teams played with. Give credit to the Celtics for coming out of the half firing despite a big deficit. Brad Stevens has done a great job with his young team, rallying the troops time and time again despite Dallas runs that continously pushed the lead back to double digits. In the end, it was simply too much to overcome. Mavs 118, Celtics 113. [Read more…]

Dallas Mavericks Fall In Season Opener

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

The NBA season opened with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs hosting the new look Dallas Mavericks. And while the game might have gotten off to an ugly start, the champs looked every bit the part and edge the visiting Mavs 101-100.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

For Mavs fans, the good news is that the team really had a chance to win this one. In his Mavs debut, the $46 million man, Chandler Parsons was just 2-of-10 from the floor for five points, had four rebounds and two steals to go along with zero assists in 33 minutes. The team’s chemistry looked out of sorts – which is to be expected – and STILL had the final shot with a chance to steal one. [Read more…]

Project Shanks NBA Preview: Southwest Division

By Matthew Carpenter
PSDC Writer

NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION PREVIEW

tim-duncan

Since the NBA realigned to six divisions in 2004, this might be the best division ever assembled. All five teams have the ability to make the playoffs. It will be fun to watch and is really difficult to project.

Projected Order of Finish

1. Spurs. The coolest thing about the Spurs’ 2013-14 regular season run is that they won 62 games and had no player average more than 30 minutes-per-game. (Tom Thibodeau please take note.) I won’t hide my bias. Gregg Popovich is my favorite coach in any professional sport in my lifetime. If you’re into stats, check out just how valuable Pop has been to his team relative to win expectancy.

Say ‘Hello’ to: (assistant coach) Becky Hammon. This is only a cool story because it’s not a gimmick. I know very little about Hammon but I know GM R.C. Buford and Pop wouldn’t hire her if it didn’t help the team.

Outlook: No one manages a roster better than Pop, but he can’t control Father Time. In the playoffs, will San Antonio have 2012 Manu Ginobli or 2013 Manu? Sure the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills helps age-related concerns, but each year the core gets older, the tighter the fingers are crossed. They’re a team capable of another title run, but matching last season’s greatness will be a tall order. [Read more…]

Mavs Fast Break with Chris Stuckey & Darreck Kirby

Mavs-Fast-Break

CLICK HERE to listen.

With the NBA season on the horizon, Chris Stuckey and Darreck Kirby get you ready for another season of Dallas Mavericks coverage on ProjectShanks.com with the debut of Mavs Fast Break. Topics discussed on the inaugural podcast include:

– Tyson Chandler’s return to the Mavs
– Impact of Chandler Parson’s acquisition
– Point guard rotation
– Replacing Shawn Marion
– Dirk Nowitzki’s minutes
– Can Dallas contend for the title this season or are they still a year away?
– Projecting the Western Conference
– Final impressions heading into the season

The Dallas Mavericks get the regular season started Tuesday in enemy territory as they head to San Antonio to take the rival Spurs. Tune into TNT at 7:00 p.m. for all the action.

Follow Stuckey on Twitter: @TheChrisStuckey
Follow Darreck on Twitter: @DarreckWKirby

Chandler Parsons Shows Promise in Preseason Debut

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

In the team’s preseason debut Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks small forward and star acquisition, Chandler Parsons, flashed the potential that led the Mavs to sign him to a three-year, $46 million deal this July. Scoring 13 points in 24 minutes, Chandler showed the home crowd a little bit of everything. He attacked the rim, he knocked down the long ball, took a charge – everything you could ask from a guy in a preseason game.

chandler-parsons-mavs

While the rest of the game was far from pretty – a combined 81 fouls, 109 free throws and 48 turnovers – Parsons and fellow wingman Monta Ellis still showed their games could gel nicely together. With Parsons’ versatility and Ellis’ playmaking, Dallas looks to have one of the best 1-2 punches on the perimeter this season. [Read more…]

Mavs Introduce New Players, Jerseys

By Darreck Kirby
PSDC Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

DALLAS – Tuesday afternoon, Mark Cuban unveiled his newest additions; six of his now eight new players (Charlie Vilanueva’s non-guaranteed contract wasn’t yet official and Richard Jefferson was…?), as well as the newest alternate jerseys designed by Mavs fan Geoff Case. Case’s design was selected out of more than 1,000 entries, and features the Dallas skyline as its backdrop. Since entering the contest, Geoff Case has left the digitial marketing field and opened the design company 1 Man Agency. He received $1,000 and season tickets as his prize.

New-Dallas-Mavericks-Uniform

The idea behind Case’s design is that players will “pop” their jersey fronts to represent their city. [Read more…]