Dallas Mavericks 2017-18 Outlook

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

Last season the Dallas Mavericks amassed just 33 wins against 49 loses to complete one of their worst seasons in recent memory. To put things bluntly, the roster Dallas walked into the season with provided little hope to fans eager to see the return of playoff basketball in Big D. The starting lineup of Derron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Andrew Bogut was never going to set the league on fire, and it resulted in the Mavs getting off to one of their worst starts since the 90s.  Things were so bad, in fact, Dallas ultimately took out a flier on a kid named Yogi Ferrell and opted to revamp its young core by trading for 23-year-old rim protector, Nerlens Noel. Sure the moves teased the possibility of Rick Carlisle’s squad sneaking into the playoffs, but in the end there just wasn’t enough depth or, frankly, talent, to overcome an abysmal 9-21 start. Dallas would get the number 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and land the electric point guard, Dennis Smith Jr.

Original photo credit Mavs.com

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What To Do About Nerlens Noel

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

When the Dallas Mavericks sent Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and what should end up being two second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a young rim protector in Nerlens Noel, the storyline surrounding the deal was that Dallas had swindled the Sixers front office. Over the remainder of the season, Noel would see action in 22 games for the Mavericks, averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and a block per contest. In those 22 games, he would start just 12 times and continue battling nagging injuries. It wasn’t stellar by any means, but there were flashes of what could be, and for Dallas, that was more than enough.

Feb 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel (3) plays in his first game as a Maverick during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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Harrison Barnes Leads Mavs Past Wizards

HarrisonBarnes
The road has not been a friendly place for Dallas this season, and the start of this road trip, a 100-78 thumping in Toronot, proved just that. But if Dallas intends to compete for that final playoff spot, they’ll have to find a way to get it done away from the AAC as 7 of their final 12 games will be on the road. Wednesday night, they found a way to beat a good team in the road unis. [Read more…]

Mavs Rout Thunder Behind Smothering Defense

Seth-Curry-Crossover

The return of Wes Matthews provided Dallas with an added spark Sunday night. It wasn’t that the team hadn’t been playing defense already -far from it. With their 104-89 victory tonight, Dallas strung together its seventh straight sub-100 defensive effort. Not bad for the boys in blue. The best example of this was a wild sequence in which Matthews took on Russell Westbrook at the top of the key and simply hounded him with active hands and solid positioning. Every time Russell turned, the Mavs flashed an added defender, forcing the triple-double machine back toward Matthews. Westbrook and Wes danced a bit, then Russ flipped up an awkward off-balance shot at the buzzer that missed everything. The crowd erupted and Wes pumped his fist. Matthews might have only chipped in 9 points, but his relentless effort nevertheless fueled a stellar effort. [Read more…]

Wesley Matthews Returns To Line-Up vs OKC

By Darreck Kirby
Dallas Mavericks Beat Writer

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Minnesota Timberwolves

After missing the past two games with a hip injury, Wesley Matthewws is finally ready to return to the Mavericks lineup tonight vs Oklahoma City. The timing couldn’t be much better as OKC, even without explosive two-guard Victor Oladipo, still boasts the triple-double machine that is Russell Westbrook. And given Yogi Ferrell’s disadvantage in size and athleticism, don’t be surprised if Wes draws the proverbial short stick. Furthermore, with this being the second game of a five-game homestand, Dallas needs a win if it’s going to remain in the hunt for the Western Conference’s 8 seed. Wes Matthews returning, even if not immediately into the starting lineup, should help that cause. [Read more…]

NBA Draft Winners and Losers

By Ryan Haidinger
PSDC Writer

The 2013 NBA Draft was supposed to be one of the worst ever. While the players it produced may not become hall of famers, the draft itself provided compelling TV and plenty of trade chaos. Here are three teams I feel had good draft nights and three teams that left me scratching my head.

WINNERS:

New Orleans Pelicans- The Pelicans kicked off the trading frenzy of the 2013 draft landing all-star point guard Jrue Holliday in a trade with the 76ers. New Orleans traded the sixth overall pick, Nerlens Noel, and next year’s first-round pick for Holliday, instantly improving their roster. Holliday will slide in next to Eric Gordon to form a very talented backcourt. Paired with last year’s top pick Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have three very good, young players to build around.

Cleveland Cavaliers- The Cavs shocked most people by selecting Anthony Bennett, who was projected to go somewhere between 5-10, No. 1 overall. Cleveland has been criticized by some for reaching to take Bennett over higher rated players. In my mind, there was no sure thing in this draft and if you can’t trade down, which Cleveland tried to do, you should take the player you like. I give the Cavs front office credit for going after the player they wanted and not giving in to the pressure to take Noel. With their second pick, Cleveland got one of the best shooters in the draft in Sergey Karasev, a 6’7 sharpshooter from Russia. Cleveland now has a freak athlete and a great shooter to surround elite point guard Kyrie Irving.

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Project Shanks 2013 NBA Draft Review

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

The 2013 NBA Draft started off with the Cleveland Cavaliers pulling off the biggest trolling act any team in any sport has ever pulled off during a draft. Nerlens Noel went free falling down the draft boards as if someone confused him for Aaron Hernandez. Indiana shocked the world by not drafting a white guy, and every team from the late 20’s of the first round to the first 10 or so picks of the second round traded picks around like they were playing hot potato with a bowl full of AIDS. And most wonderfully of all in this draft lacking of NBA talent, we got the greatest David Stern photo of all-time.

First Round

1. Cleveland Cavaliers Anthony Bennett PF (UNLV)

Cleveland started the night off with our first shock that immediately sent everyone’s mock draft down the toilet. Bennett’s agent said on Thursday before the draft they were expecting to go from 8-10, and he goes first instead. Bennett could be the best offensive player in this draft. With his athleticism, size and shooting touch, he could be very good in Cleveland. His lack of a motor, weight gain and asthma are red-flags, but, hey, when you are tanking to get Andrew Wiggins, you might as well take the best high-risk/high-reward player in the draft. If he turns out great you win, if he’s a bust you still have a good shot at Wiggins next year.

2. Orlando Magic Victor Oladipo SG (Indiana)

With Nerlens Noel not going first, it was perceived that Orlando would snatch him up, instead they went with the most NBA-ready player in the draft. Orlando is still in talks with the Clippers to get Eric Bledsoe for Arron Afflalo, if that happens Oladipo and Bledsoe would make the most athletic backcourt in NBA history. Oladipo will immediately be a lockdown defender, and will always leave it all on the floor.

3. Washington Wizards Otto Porter SF (Georgetown)

Washington was the only team that was never a threat to take Noel, and with the only other player they were looking at, Anthony Bennett, being gone Porter was the pick. He was the pick all along. Porter is my winner of “You Know What You Are Getting Award” of this year’s draft. He will be a long-time pro that plays defense, makes the right decision and knocks down open jumpers. [Read more…]

Project Shanks 2013 NBA Mock Draft 4.0

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man

First Round 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Alex Len C (Maryland)

Nerlens Noel has been in this spot for every mock I’ve done, but with Chris Sheridan of sheridanhoops.com reporting Len is the pick unless a trade is made, I have to put Len here, because the likelihood of a trade is very slim. Len is the quintessential high-risk/high-reward player of this year’s draft. Len spent two years playing less than stellar ball for the Terps, but his size, athleticism and upside have scouts buzzing. If he lives up to his potential, he will be the best player in the draft. If it turns out the reason he wasn’t productive at Maryland had nothing to do with bad guard play, you have a bust on your hands. There is plenty of room for Len to progress as a player, but his similarity to Darko Milicic scares me.

2. Orlando Magic- Nerlens Noel PF/C (Kentucky) 

Orlando has had a tough time trying to peg who is going to be the second-best prospect in this draft. They have been linked with Burke, Oladipo and McLemore, but the consensus out of Orlando is that none of them have solidified themselves as the top choice. If Len does go No. 1, Orlando’s mind is already made up, they would snatch up Noel in a heartbeat. He is defensive-minded, very athletic and improved vastly upon his arrival at Kentucky up until his injury.  In my opinion he is the best prospect in the draft.

3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter SF (Georgetown)

If I was a GM, Porter would be the top player on the board. You know what you will be getting from Porter. He’s not a future all-star player, but you will be getting a Nicolas Batum-type player for the next 10 seasons.  And, me personally, I like safe picks. He is smart, passes the ball well, defends well, rebounds well and is a decent shooter. He doesn’t blow you away, but he will be a solid player. [Read more…]

Project Shanks 2013 NBA Mock Draft 3.0

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

First Round                   

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel PF/C (Kentucky) 

Cleveland likes to draft young players with big upside, even if there will be some bumps along the way. If you are looking for upside, look no further than Noel. He has a chance to be a dominant NBA defender. He met with Cleveland recently and was cleared by their doctors.

2. Orlando Magic- Ben McLemore SG (Kansas)

I honestly have no idea what Orlando is thinking. I have had Trey Burke at this spot since the first mock draft, but he has not wowed any team in workouts, and the Magic have hopes of bringing in Eric Bledsoe. Who knows what will happen, but if Orlando doesn’t want to draft a player to fit their biggest need I guess getting the best shooter in the draft isn’t a bad consolation prize.

3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter SF (Georgetown)

If I was a GM, Porter would be the top player on the board. You know what you will be getting from Porter, it’s not a future all-star player, but you will be getting a Nicolas Batum type player for the next 10 seasons. He is smart, passes the ball well, defends well, rebounds well and is a decent shooter. He doesn’t blow you away, but he will be a solid player. [Read more…]

Project Shanks 2013 NBA Mock Draft 2.0

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man 

With the 2013 NBA Draft only two weeks away, what better time than now for our Mock Draft 2.0? NBA teams have been having workouts with players for the past couple of week, so we can get an idea of the players and types of players each team is looking for. Since this year’s class is considered a weak class without a sure-fire star, we have given you the good and bad of each player.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel PF/C (Kentucky)
Pro: Big-time leaper, has a high motor, great defender, and solid rebounder

Con: Needs to add bulk, coming off ACL injury
31. Cleveland Cavaliers- Tony Snell SF (New Mexico)
Pro: Very good athlete, good defender, nice standstill shooter

Con: Needs to add bulk, work on ball-handling and finishing
2. Orlando Magic- Trey Burke PG (Michigan)
Pro: Smart point guard with very deep range on jumper, good court-vision

Con: Short, not an explosive athlete
32. Oklahoma City Thunder- Giannis Adetokunbo SF (Greece)
Pro: Smart player, good court-vision, strong with the ball

Con: Only 18 years old, hasn’t played against good competition
3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter SF (Georgetown)
Pro: Smooth, rangy forward, great passer for a wing, good defender

Con: Not very athletic, not a consistent jump-shooter
33. Cleveland Cavaliers- C.J. Leslie PF/SF (North Carolina St.)
Pro: Great athlete, good defender, decent ball-handler

Con: Very thin, needs to improve jump-shot and post-game
4. Charlotte Bobcats- Ben McLemore SG (Kansas)
Pro: Great shooter, super athletic

Con: Needs to work on ball-handling, be more aggressive
34. Houston Rockets- Ricky Ledo SG (Providence)
Pro: Explosive athlete, gets in the lane well

Con: Hasn’t played in a year, can be turnover prone 
5. Phoenix Suns- Anthony Bennett PF (UNLV)
Pro: Great athlete, great rebounder, nice stroke for a big

Con: Needs a position (SF/PF?), doesn’t score with back to the basket
35. Philadelphia 76ers- Archie Goodwin SG (Kentucky)
Pro: Very good athlete, gets to and finishes above the rim well

Con: Inconsistent jumper and motor [Read more…]

DeMarcus Cousins and the NBA Draft Trade Market

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man

Sacramento Kings trying to trade DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins is the biggest name on the trade marked right now. He is a phenomenal talent, but he is also a phenomenal knucklehead. He has been sent home after fighting a teammate, he has been suspended for an altercation with San Antonio Spurs commentator Sean Elliott and he tried to fight Blake Griffin. Even with all those red flags, he is still a very good player. Last season, he posted 17.1 ppg and 9.9 rpg in 30.5 mpg. [Read more…]

2013 NBA Mock Draft 1.0

By Robbie Marbury
PSDC Big Man

1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Nerlens Noel PF/C (Kentucky)

Cleveland will try really hard to move this pick, but if they are unsuccessful Nerlens Noel is a nice consolation prize. Noel is the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft, plus he is athletic enough to guard face-up fours on the perimeter. Needs to add some bulk, but he is only 20 years old and has some growing still to do. Noel would be a good insurance policy for often injured Anderson Varajeo, as well as give the Cavs a good, young tiro of bigs with Noel, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller. If Cleveland is able to move this pick, or their doctors are worried about Noel’s revovery from knee surgery, then look for them to take Otto Porter.

2. Orlando Magic- Trey Burke PG (Michigan)

Burke was the best player in college basketball last season, and the Magic are in need of a star. Jameer Nelson is the only point guard under contract next season, and he is 31 years old and overpaid. Orlando really hopes that Cleveland passes on Noel, because he would be a perfect for the Magic, but Burke is an upgrade at a major position of need for Orlando. He has NBA-range on his jump-shot, he finishes in the lane with floaters and pull-up jumpers, and he has excellent court-vision.

3. Washington Wizards- Otto Porter SF (Georgetown)

Other than Noel, who is not going to fall to number three, Porter is the best prospect in this draft for the Wizards. Washington already has a future All-Star at point (John Wall), a very young and talented shooting guard (Bradley Beal), Porter would fill out the Wizards wing positions. Porter is the most NBA-ready player in the draft. He is a very intelligent player, he always plays hard, he is a good defender, and good passer. He could very well make this team a playoff team by next season. [Read more…]