Welcome to this week’s Mavericks’ Mail-It-In question and answer session.
As always, we’ll be giving away a Mavericks’ hat to the question of the week, which this week went to our email-pal Joe.
One thing about this week before we move along to questions. The exhibition season has begun and the players may not realize just how lucky they have it.
There was a time when teams played at least six preseason games, sometimes as many as eight.
This year, the Mavericks have three preseason games over 10 days. While it cuts down on the window for evaluating players at the end of the roster or who might be fighting for a rotation spot, it’s a huge win for the heavy lifters, who probably will sit out at least one of the games, if not more.
And let’s face it: Even the most diehard NBA fans – of which, I am one – grow tired of watching foul-ridden, turnover-plagued exhibition games.
Three games is plenty. Let’s hope this is the start of a trend that lasts, oh, maybe the next 20 or 30 years.
Q: There’s a lot of noise and talk online about Jason Kidd’s decision to say that Christian Wood will not be a starter, as of now. Was Wood really OK with that? And does Kidd have an agenda for making that statement now? Joe, via email.
SEFKO: I wouldn’t read a lot into it, personally. I’m on record saying that my opinion is that Wood will be a starter before Christmas. And it doesn’t sound like Kidd has any inclination to play the two big men together. At least, not at the moment. So let’s see how it plays out. Wood has lost so many games in the early portion of his career that it sounds like he genuinely doesn’t care if he starts or comes off the bench – as long as the team is winning more than it’s losing. It seems clear that Wood will be finishing games, which usually takes a player’s mind off of not starting. JaVale McGee will be the starter for the start of the season, but let’s see how things evolve. This is a new team and, frankly, I’m not even sure Kidd and the staff know exactly how the rotation is going to break down until we get into the season and see what’s what.
Q: Any chance we see Jae Crowder, or even Rajon Rondo, as a Mav this season? Eric Bledsoe also available and I think he had a good rapport with J-Kidd in Milwaukee. Chris via email.
SEFKO: Interesting that you mentioned Rondo. At a certain entertainment spot in Rockwall, the building has a sign on the door that reads: These people are not allowed on Shenaniganz property: DeAndre Jordan, Rajon Rondo, Lamar Odom. We’re pretty sure it’s a joke but either way, it’s funny. And I know the Mavericks are keeping that 15th roster spot open for a reason. They are playing the waiting game to see who might be cut and who might slip through the cracks. And if an injury were to happen, filling that position might become a priority. I have heard nothing specific about the Crowder situation as it relates to the Maverick. I still believe there are other destinations the Suns would rather send him to if it comes to that.
Q: Eddie, who do you see getting the last two-way spot and do you see us signing a plyer from camp to the 15-man roster? Adrian A. via Twitter.
SEFKO: Reading the tea leaves, it looks like the Mavericks are OK with choosing from the five training-camp invitees they have on the 20-man roster. Of that group, string-bean Mouhamadou Gueye has looked great, despite being built like a 1-iron. Tyler Hall also has had some eye-catching moments. Jason Kidd said on Tuesday that one of those five guys has the inside track to a two-way deal. The preseason games will be important for them.
Q: This is year No. 100 that you’ve covered the NBA, so your perspective is always great. What do you personally like about this squad and what are your early predictions? Got a sleeper? T.J. via email.
SEFKO: I can appreciate your chronological jab at me. All I can say is that, if you are all lucky, you’ll make it this long, too. My thoughts on the Mavericks going into the preseason are simply this: Don’t get too high or low in the first month of the season. And don’t expect Luka to carry everybody on his back, although that may be what it takes for this team to be great. The biggest question is whether Christian Wood is a keeper or simply somebody who put up hollow numbers on a bad team in Houston. He’s got great abilities. Let’s hope they translate onto a 50-plus-win team. But there are other concerns. Will Tim Hardaway Jr. be the same shooter that he was two seasons ago? Will Spencer Dinwiddie get back to the 20-point, 7-assist level he was at before his knee injury? Can a deep team coexist, particularly during tough times, which are destined to hit at some point? And remember, the first month of the schedule has 11 home games out of the first 16. Hence the cautionary note about not getting carried away if things go well early. My prediction? I’ll take 48 wins right now and call it a season. The West is going to be as tough as ever. A sleeper? I’m going to withhold that one for another week. We’ll take a crack at that in next week’s mailbag.
Q: Any details on the statue? Schedule for unveiling? Frank M. via Twitter.
SEFKO: For now, everything is being kept under wraps, but the statue is supposed to go up sometime this season. The exact location isn’t known yet, but you’d have to figure it’s going to be on the main AAC plaza in front of the building. The only thing I’m pretty certain about is that the statue won’t be of Dirk in a defensive crouch. If it’s not his one-legged fade, then we’ll have a news story. If it was good enough to emblazon on the court, it’s good enough for the statue.