Like The Jeffersons, DallasDedicated is moving on up. We are slowly gaining popularity, and we couldn't be more thrilled...
Recently Most Valuable Network e-mailed us and asked if we wouldn't mind giving our Mavs expertise on some related questions. We obliged and this is all that went down in the exclusive interview:
MVN: I've read where Charles Rhodes is likely to be invited to training camp, but is not a lock. What do you think?
DallasDedicated: I think that as long as he does not decide to go to Europe, he is a lock for camp. Hopefully he doesn't chase that very enticing Euro. He has gone from being a forgotten and un-drafted rookie to a guy with a legitimate shot at being in the rotation on a title contending Dallas Mavericks team.
MVN: Does the presence of Brandon Bass (an SEC product out of LSU) hurt Rhodes' chances? The Mavericks offered Bass and Jerry Stackhouse to Sacramento for Ron Artest, but the Kings chose to send Ronnie to another team in Texas, which leads to my next question......
DD: Bass and Rhodes are very similar, which in the long run could end up hurting one or the other--obviously at this point most likely Rhodes. But last season, the front line was very thin and another Bass-like player could do nothing but help. One thing that critics say hurts the Mavs team is that they do not have enough tough inside presence, which Charles Rhodes can definitely help provide.
MVN: What's Bass' trade value and are you willing to give him up? If it's your opinion that the Mavs must make a move to get back to the NBA Finals, what would be a reasonably hypothetical dream trade scenario?
DD: Obviously, if the right deal came about, we would have to part ways with Bass. He still has a lot of potential and could develop into a very good player, but he still will play behind Dirk. A strong two-guard with nice range would be about the only offer for Bass that could improve the team...especially if Rhodes proved he could take Bass' spot.
Jason Kidd should be much better under Rick Carlisle--freedom to do what he does best: run the break. That should cover the one, three (Howard) and four (Dirk) spots. A move like Terry/Stackhouse and a reserve for someone like Corey Magette or Monta Ellis would be solid. Ideally, an upcoming free agent after this season (LeBron, Wade, etc.) would be a finals-clinching pick up. Then the only weakness would be at the five. Good centers are a rare commodity, and if Diop and Damp can play strong together, then that would be an ideal squad. But, the fact alone that we offered Bass in a trade for Artest shows that the Mavericks organization thinks of him as expendable.
MVN: From watching Rhodes, what's your opinion of his NBA-level strengths and weaknesses?
DD: He shoots a very high percentage, and even has a pretty decent mid range jumper. Though he is relatively short for a power forward, he rebounds adequately, similar to Bass. His post defense has been impressive, but he is not a big shot blocker and can get in foul trouble quickly. His biggest improvement will need to be overall basketball IQ, which many rookies need work with. He is a very raw scorer, and can easily be molded into a power force. He has nothing but potential, which I know Rick Carlisle and the Mavs assistants could turn into more strengths.
MVN: James Singleton or Charles Rhodes: who do you pick? (factoring in Singleton's guaranteed contract)
DD: Charles Rhodes and James Singleton are too much alike to give both contracts too, especially when factoring in that Brandon Bass will already consume most of the backup power forward minutes. While Singleton's contract is guaranteed, GM Donnie Nelson has already made it clear that buying out a player's contract that is guaranteed is not out of the question. Also, Singleton is coming off major knee surgery and has had multiple shots at the NBA-level. Rhodes over Singleton easily.
MVN: The Mavs have another Mississippi State product in Erick Dampier, who led the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996. What do you like, and dislike about his game? Was signing him to a 7-year, $63 million contract in '04 a mistake? Is Erick Dampier a center the Mavs can win a championship with? And, are we looking at a time-share at center between Big Damp and the returned DeSagana Diop?
DD: Dampier is an up and down player. He doesn't have to score a lot of points, and gets a lot of buckets from working the offensive glass. When he wants to be, Damp is one of the best rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive end. Also, his scoring has improved since Jason Kidd's arrival. However, he tends to get into early foul trouble too often and sometimes plays soft. While Dallas let Steve Nash go and used the money saved to sign Erick Dampier, his contract in '04 was not a mistake. He was coming off of a career year of (12 points and 12 rebounds per game in '03) and the Mavs had been lacking a good center for many years (see Shawn Bradley). The way Dallas is most effective is a split between Damp and Diop. This eliminates the worry of foul trouble and they are able to play tougher defense. Together, when on their games, they can rival many centers in the league, and proved it in the '06 Finals run. Damp did not have any competition for minutes after Diop was traded, and having Diop back will motivate Damp to play and practice hard or else Diop becomes the starter. Not many teams have two legitimate centers, and I believe the Mavericks have that again with the signing of Diop.
We want to thank Kyle at MVN for thinking highly enough of our opinions to ask us for an interview. Take some time to check out Kyle's homepage at MVN's site.
In Rangers news: The Rangers could not get the rally going last night, as they lost to the Yankees 5-3. To make matters worse, David Murphy collided at the plate with Ivan Rodriquez and hurt his knee in the 2nd inning. The early prognosis is that the rookie will be out 2-4 weeks. Texas can still get the series win tonight, as Scott Feldman takes on Mike Mussina on the mound.
Speaking of the Mavericks, the season schedule is out! Opening night is October 30 against Ron-Ron and the Rockets. That should be a very interesting matchup. I can't wait to hear the sweet voice of Mark Followill coming out of my television.
Dirk is the official flag-bearer for Germany, and assuming by his haircut, I think he is pretty excited!
Next time: It's football time in Texas again! The Cowboys play Saturday in their first preseason matchup versus the San Diego Chargers. We will bring you all the latest from training camp and give you our thoughts on what it will take for the Cowboys to not just get past the playoff win drought, but also earn a trip to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.