The Summer League is officially finished, and the training camp invites have been dished out. My fellow blogger Nate gave a breakdown of each player invited to camp earlier today, so my task is to delve a little deeper and break down exactly who we believe should and who will be wearing a Mavericks jersey (or very nice "street" clothes) on opening night.
In a COMPLETELY ideal world, DallasDedicated would like to see Charles Rhodes and Shan Foster nabbing the final two roster spots, waiving James Singleton and his guaranteed money (or possibly an unproductive veteran). Simply put, Rhodes showed more talent than Singleton, and Foster is a much needed shooter. Ranking the hopefuls--in an ideal world, remember--would look like this:
1) Shan Foster--Needed the most on the roster. For years Dallas has lacked a pure shooter.
2) Charles Rhodes--Performed so well it would be foolish not to have him on the roster...which could happen due to some premature contractual dealings.
3) Reyshawn Terry--Rick Carlisle noted Terry's improvement after his move to power forward this season (played the 3 last year). Like Rhodes, he is 6'8", so in a man for man decision, Rhodes has the upper hand as of now.
4) JaJuan Smith--Would be a much better prospect and would have a much greater chance to make the roster if he wasn't so undersized. As a 6'2" shooting guard, he has point guard height and shooting guard skills.
Now, of course, this is not a perfect world, and there are many hitches and bumps in every plan.
Bump #1: James Singleton is not only already signed, but his contract is guaranteed. We've beat this like a dead horse, but it is such a shocking move by the Mavs front office that we are still puzzled. Donnie Nelson, however, is not closing the door anything. If current performances continue throughout camp, don't be surprised if Donnie decides to take the hit and make room for Rhodes. This is a lot of maneuvering for a player who will most likely get few minutes, though.
Bump #2: Again with more Charles Rhodes. Art Garcia reports that Rhodes has gotten "various European offers" and is weighing the pros and cons of pulling a Josh Childress. All this talk and petition about Charles being on the final team could be for not if he decides to jump the pond. Really, anything could happen at this point in the hunt for Charles "Rocky" Rhodes.
Bump #3: Mark Cuban. This is not a bad bump. This is a bump of unpredictability. Don't count out Cubes to make a drastic roster altering trade before the start of the season. Predicting the final roster is easy now, but throw in a trade and every is changed. In the blink of an eye an integral part of this team could be on his way out (see: Artest trade rumors. But now he is gone to Houston).
Hitch #1: This is a "hitch" rather than a "bump" because it is not as deterring to opening up room for the final roster. Another viable option--if the front office wants to make room for any of the competing players--would be to cut a veteran. This would most likely be Eddie Jones. In a period which the Mavs are beginning to age, this would make the team younger and would give it more potential to grow.
Hitch #2: The Mavs say no to Shan Foster. Although illogical in the eyes of DallasDedicated, this also seems quite possible--judging by the organization's reaction to his play. The front office has shown more of an interest in JaJuan Smith and his incessant hustle than the 3-point Vandy bomber. Hopefully this is just a momentary infatuation and Foster will have no problem. Yet another undersized two-guard is not what the Mavericks need; a pure shooter with size, however, is in their best interest.
OVERALL, look for Singleton to become even more motivated as he now has Charles Rhodes and his large fan club breathing down his neck. Shan Foster should take the final spot regardless of what happens with Rhodes and Singleton. Terry and Smith will most likely be left off, but should have the ability to land with other, not as talented teams.
ELSEWHERE around Dallas...
The Rangers pulled off a bottom of the 9th comeback against Seattle, thanks to Ramon Vazquez's walk off double. He was able to redeem himself after a sub-par day in the field, in which he committed three errors. It wasn't a pretty win, but the squad won on a night in which most wild-card contenders lost. With the Angels running away with the division (and Mark Teixeira), the Wild Card Race is now just that...a race. With a lot of teams.
Positivity ensues around Terrell Owens. ESPN.com's Matt Mosley caught up with T.O at training camp and has this to say about him:
"Well, it appears we're still waiting. Believe it or not, Owens is viewed as the consummate teammate in the Cowboys' locker room. He's the one player who somehow remembers to text birthday messages to all the quarterbacks and wide receivers. And when he burns a young cornerback in training camp, he'll stop and explain to him why it happened. Oh, and he keeps bringing hundreds of T-shirts to camp for his teammates, which isn't normal protocol for All-Pro receivers. Yesterday, tight end Jason Witten was wearing his "iCatch" T-shirt while Leonard Davis had on an XXXL "iBlock."".
Very lofty compliments towards a guy who, a couple years ago, was the most hated man in the league. And they seem like well deserved compliments at that.
Be on the look out for a report on how the Rocket's acquiring of Ron Artest will affect the Mavericks.