Mavs with Jeff Caplan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, Dallas Mavericks reporter Jeff Caplan stops by to chat about the team.
Caplan covers the Mavericks, Stars and colleges for ESPNDallas.com. He joined ESPN in December 2009.
Send your questions now and join Caplan Tuesday at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET!
Jeff Caplan (2:00 PM)
Good afternoon everybody and thanks for joining me for another Mavs chat. First things first, Dirk Nowitzki will not play tonight against Toronto. The MRI revealed a sprain to his right knee. He is being listed as day-to-day. He'll do everything he can to play Thursday against San Antonio, but we'll see. OK,other than that let's get going.
Eddie (fort worth)
What do you think about richard hamilton to the mavs? The pistons seem like they are ready to blow the team up and start over, would Hamilton be a good fit that we could get for cheap?
Jeff Caplan (2:01 PM)
Eddie, way to open a chat with a trade question for a team that is 24-5. I don't understand why changing the roster is foremost on so many minds. It makes no sense. OK, getting Carmelo makes sense. But, Rip Hamilton? Really?
The Mavs did an excellent job winning the game without Dirk. Has there been new information on Dirk? Is he playing today?
Jeff Caplan (2:02 PM)
Oops. Already answered this. See my intro.
Rob (Dallas, TX)
How are the Mavs going to utilize Roddy B. when he gets back? I know Carlisle was hesitant in playing him in the past, but I think that one of the main impediments that the Mavs have had when it came to the playoffs (and against good teams for that matter) is that they lacked a guy that can penetrate on a consistent basis. Having a guy like Roddy opens up the floor for the offense that much more, the Mavs are primarily a jump shooting team and the only way it seems to me they can compete with Boston and the Spurs is by forcing those teams to respect Roddy's presence.
Jeff Caplan (2:03 PM)
Rob, How Rick Carlisle will utilize Roddy B is the great mystery of 2011. We'll see. Originally, Roddy B was slated for the starting lineup. But, all bets are off with the way DeShawn Stevenson has played all season, plus with the Mavs winning at the rate they are. On top of all that, no one had any idea Roddy would still be out. They now have the luxury of easing him in and that's what I think they will do.
andrew (des moines)
do u see dallas fading at all as the season? we're all used to the awesome regular season and then the early playoff exits. also, if we dont get carmelo, who else could dallas go after as a legitimate 2nd scoring option?
Jeff Caplan (2:04 PM)
Andrew, the Mavs have won 17 of 18. Do I think they'll keep up that pace? No. At some point they'll level off some, but they are playing with great emotion and that's great to see.
How long will Dirk be out. and for fantasy goers, does this make marion a whole lot more valuable
Jeff Caplan (2:05 PM)
Sebastian, Yes, with Dirk out Marion becomes more valuable. He played 32 minutes last night, tying a season-high. He also had 20 points and nine boards. Marion could get more minutes than that tonight and then we'll see depending on Dirk's status.
Sam (Fort worth)
We had an opportunity to lock up Alexis Ajinca a few weeks ago for next season with that team option on his contract for a litttle over a $1M or $1.5M. But we didn't. Why did we run the risk of losing a potentially very good player that was gonna cost nothing. now when other teams see him perform they will either offer more or we will have to pay more to keep our own talent.
Jeff Caplan (2:06 PM)
Sam, Ajinca is a fourth center. They could have locked him up, but he's been on the trading block since he came to town so it made no sense to put more money into him. Look, it's been great that he's contributed, but he's played in three games for a total of 19 minutes. Relax.
Rodney D (Knoxville)
No respect. No respect I tell ya. Do you think Dirk still doesn't receive the respect by the media and public (outside of Dallas) that should be due commensurate of his abilities and contributions to the Maverick organization and the NBA?
Jeff Caplan (2:07 PM)
Rodney, I really believe Dirk has changed the tune on the no respect thing. I think Dirk gets great respect around the league these days.
Monsieur Tex (Washington, D.C.)
Assuming the Mavs were to reach the NBA Finals, who do you think they would match up better against -- Miami or Boston? Would Miami's athleticism or Boston's experience/veteran savvy be more difficult to deal with over a 7-game series?
Jeff Caplan (2:08 PM)
Wow Tex, let's not put the cart before the horse, but since you did, I think Miami is the better matchup because they are far weaker inside and the Mavs are stronger than ever at the position. Boston is loaded inside and outside and you have to deal with Rondo. Give me Miami for the revenge factor, too.
Bob (Right Behind You)
Jeff, I'll put you on the spot. The Mavs have had the worst luck come playoff time with matchups. Sure there were plenty of times they didn't deserve to move forward in the playoffs but the simple fact that they drew the worst team imaginable for their style of play, did them no favors. My question is, if the playoffs started today, who would you like to see the Mavs play against to make it to the finals? What's their "easy route" (as though there is one in the west)? Does the improved defense shorten the list of "possible upset" teams? I just don't want another Golden State thing happening this year.
Jeff Caplan (2:10 PM)
Bob, stop sneaking up on me. Not cool. Playoff matchups huh? Well, look, right now I don't believe the West is all that strong. Leave LA out of the conversation and who do you think the Mavs don't matchup with right now? As long as they can get balanced scoring in the playoffs, they'll be OK. They did not have that against the Spurs and SA's guards tore up the Mavs. We still have to get a look at Roddy and see if he'll be able to be the self-creator the Mavs have always needed come playoff time.
Eddie (Fort Worth)
Last night casey used ajinca at the 4. Do you see him getting more playing time there? He seemed to do a decent job and his 3 stopped the thunder from gaining any type of real momentum
Jeff Caplan (2:11 PM)
Geez Eddie, I was only going to give you one question and I go and give you a second in the opening 11 minutes. Sorry everyone. Anyway, no, I don't see Ajinca getting more minutes at the 4. If Brian Cardinal wasn't out last night with a stomach bug, Ajinca likely wouldn't have even been active. That was a sweet 3, but let's get real here.
If Dirk plays on Thursday who wins between Mavs and Spurs?
Jeff Caplan (2:12 PM)
If Dirk plays, I like the Mavs. I think they are deeper than the Spurs.
Fei (London, UK)
Hey Jeff. Who do you see from the Dallas bench taking the bulk of the load at PF as the season progresses? It seems that Marion's doing the job right now, But he can't play SF and PF at the same time when he needs to backup Butler as well. Is Cardinal a good enough player to back us up in the Playoffs? Or are the Mavs just going to stick with playing Marion a lot?
Jeff Caplan (2:14 PM)
Fei, Marion's the man. Look, Dirk averages 36 minutes, so you're only talking about 12-14 minutes on most nights and definitely 10-12 when you're talking playoffs. Marion has handled the position well. From the beginning, I've said the only thing the Mavs really lack is kind of the bruiser, blue collar PF off the bench. That kind of player, such as a Kris Humphries (although bruiser might be too strong for hinm) would be a nice addition.
Will we be able to keep Tyson Chandler after this season? Do you think that Cuban do whatever it takes to keep him? He seems like the missing piece and I would hate to see him leave.
Jeff Caplan (2:15 PM)
William, how's that Austin traffic treating ya? Yeah, thought so.Keeping Chandler beyond this season is the great task in front of Mark Cuban. Chandler's stock is skyrocketing and he will be the most sought-after C on the market if he keeps this up and stays healthy. The thing is, we have no idea what the salary structure is going to be next season or if there will even be a next season. Unfortunately for the Mavs, they locked up Haywood to $40+ million over 5 years, and that's going to be hard to move. Cuban has said keeping Chandler is a top priority and wow it would hurt to lose him.
SUPAKOOLGREGS (BadNews Va.)
Hey Jeff thanks for the Q & A. Should the Mavs be looking to move BigWood
Jeff Caplan (2:16 PM)
Looking sure. But, able to actually do it? Very very very doubtful.
Because the Mavs are doing so well right now, many people are starting to believe that no changes need to be made. But isn't this a great time to make a move because the Mavs have leverage with their great record?
Jeff Caplan (2:17 PM)
Again with the roster changes. Kevin, who do you suggest moving and how do you suggest bringing in? This team is 24-5. I understand they have won a lot of games over the last decade and had some playoff flameouts, but this team is showing signs of being a different animal. Can't we let this play out a little while?
Wes (Lexington, KY)
Jeff, I have been very impressed with Deshawn Stevenson this yr. Could he win Comeback Player of the Year or participate in the all star game 3 pt contest?
Jeff Caplan (2:18 PM)
Wes, yes Stevenson has been a tremendous player going from 11th man to starter at the 2. he's shooting a ridiculous percentage from 3-point land and he's playing with supreme confidence and an edge the Mavs haven't really had the position even though his minutes are rather limited. But, Comeback Player of the Year. Hmm, your starting center might have the edge there.
Luke (Forney, TX)
Hey Jeff, I have two injury questions. Dirk's knee injury is different than his ankle injuries so I am a little concerned. If he is out for longer than three weeks, would the Mavs look into finding a backup for Marion or would they just role with Cardinal? What is the latest on Roddy?
Jeff Caplan (2:19 PM)
Luke,I'm not concerned that Dirk will be out anywhere near 3 weeks. He's out tonight, then we'll see about Thursday, but it appears to be a minor setback.
What roster changes, if any, should the Mavs be looking at right now? Is Beaubois' potential return going to mess with the Mavs rhythm?
Jeff Caplan (2:21 PM)
Patrick, the only reason I'm answering your question is because I'm ignoring the part about roster changes. As for Roddy Beaubois, his potential return still remains a mystery. It's at least a couple weeks away, he's still not practicing or even allowed to jog or jump. I don't think his return will mess with chemistry. It's just adding an other good player to the mix.
Will i be a maverick by the trade deadline?
Jeff Caplan (2:21 PM)
How do you think the Mavs will fare against LA?
Jeff Caplan (2:22 PM)
Bryan, the Mavs won't face L.A. until Jan. 19 in Dallas. By then Andrew Bynum should be about fully healthy and integrated and the Lakers will probably have their scene worked out, so it should be a great matchup. I think with the defense the Mavs are playing, they can give the Lakers a great game. As for the playoffs, well that's just too far away.
Jeremy (Fort Worth, TX)
In my opinion the Mavs are the best 4th quarter team in the NBA bar none. They're now 7-2 in games they trail going into the fourth quarter. Is the confidence just from Chandler's presence, or just an overall attitude overall from last year?
Jeff Caplan (2:23 PM)
Jeremy, you are right, the Mavs have been a great fourth quarter team. They've taken down Boston, S.A., Utah twice, Oklahoma City twice, Miami, Orlando all with big fourth quarters. Did I miss anyone? It really seems like if the Mavs keep things close through three, they know they can get the job done defensively in the fourth. That's new for this team. They did it again last night, holding OKC to 4 of 18 from the floor in the fourth and to just 12 points.
dc (big d)
haywood is really stinking it up this season 18 minutes, 4 fouls three boards last night, is there anyway we can move hm to fill out other positions? maybe haywood, stevenson, barea for jax and diop?
Jeff Caplan (2:24 PM)
dc, nice one, bring back Diop.
with our lack of fowards, do u think craig smith would be a good option behind dirk. butler and marion have a history of misses games so if one goes down i dont want to see cardinal or novak
Jeff Caplan (2:25 PM)
Lamont, interesting suggestion on Craig Smith. And you are right, Butler and Marion have been known to miss games. Butler missed three early with back spasms, but both have otherwise been healthy and neither is logging heavy minutes.
harry xu (new york)
what's the real story on roddy beaubois? his recovery is about 3 months behind schedule
Jeff Caplan (2:27 PM)
Harry,let's go through this one more time. Roddy had a setback more than a month ago. he tried to come back too soon and had a bad reaction. I don't know if he actually re-broke the foot or not, but whatever, it set him back. So now the Mavs are making sure he is fully ready to go. They are in no hurry with the team rolling. Yes, it has taken much longer than expected, but it is what it is.
What is the scouting report on the Raptors for tonights game?
Jeff Caplan (2:28 PM)
Keep an eye on Bargnani (sp?), who was kind of billed as another Dirk, but this 7-footer is not quite Dirk, although he has shown flashes. Obviously this team is struggling. The Mavs will be without Dirk and they've tended to grind things out at home, so I never count anything as an automatic win. But, even without Dirk, I would expect the Mavs to stay hot with a chance to catch the Spurs on Thursday.
If Chris Paul gets over his knee issues, and Roddy comes back to have an impressive second half and subsquently impress some more GM's, what are the chances we send a package deal over to New Orleans for CP3? Or any deal with Roddy for that matter?
Jeff Caplan (2:29 PM)
Will, how about no chance. The NBA now owns the Hornets and you're nuts if you think they're going to trade the only commodity they've got before finding a new owner.
With Jason Kidd running the offense and Chandler leading the defense do you think winning against the Spurs without Dirk on Thursday is crazy? I don't?
Jeff Caplan (2:30 PM)
Vernon,No, it's not crazy, but it will be much more difficult. I do believe at full strength the Mavs are the better team.
Jeff, it seems like the Mavs are becoming rather dependent on their zone to get out of tight situations. Is this going to be detrimental when we come across a hot shooting team like the Spurs?
Jeff Caplan (2:30 PM)
John,We'll see. It didn't hurt the Mavs in the first meeting. The Spurs have been excellent from the arc this season, but you live by the 3 and you die by the 3.
Everybody is giving credit to Dirk lately but have you seen Butler the guy has become a 3 point machine as well, yesterday was 3-5 I guess he has been stepping up, yesterday a 3 point shoot that puts Mavs 90-83 do you think Butler could bring that help on playoffs because it looks since that back spams, he has steeped and have seen a new Caron!
Jeff Caplan (2:32 PM)
Jaime, Yes, Caron Butler probably hasn't gotten the attention he deserves. He has stepped up big time from the 3-point line. His percentage was a down there about a month ago and now he's up to close to close to 45 percent from 3, the best percentage on the team. he's also above 45 percent overall, up from below 38 percent not long ago.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City)
How did I get completely outplayed by 37 year-old Jason Kidd last night? I'm an MVP candidate for crying out loud?
Jeff Caplan (2:34 PM)
Russell,You and the rest of your teammates got suckered into hurried, perimeter jumpers and totally lost your focus, stopped driving to the hole. But, that's what the Mavs have been doing to teams this season.
Are you as tired as I am of hearing people complain about how old Jason Kidd is? He's awesome!
Jeff Caplan (2:35 PM)
Marc,He certainly is playing well. One rebound from a triple double last night, but he's been an exceptional floor leader this season and Rick Carlisle has done a great job managing his minutes and keeping him around 32-33 minutes most games.
Afternoon Jeff,Do the players read the same sources we do. Do they follow guys like Stein and Bucher as far as rumors about trades and such? And do you think that affects their production on the court?
Jeff Caplan (2:36 PM)
Yeah, a lot of players do follow those guys and keep up with stuff. No, I don't think it affects most of them. They filter it out and go about their jobs. It's all part of the business. As it gets closer to the trade deadline and a guy is heavily in rumors, that might change. Caron Butler is a guy to watch on that front as February approaches. He's in a contract year if mavs are going to make a deal, he's the first guy that will be involved.
Jeff Caplan (2:38 PM)
OK, everyone, thanks for all the question. That was a rapid fire session. We'll do it again next Tuesday. Just keep an eye on the time, it varies with travel and practice schedules. Who knows, the Southwest Division might have a new leader come next week. Remember, Mavs-Raptors and Spurs-Lakers tonight. Get all your Mavs news at espndallas.com. No other outlet has much continuously updated content as we do. Go ahead, test us.