Chat with Jeff Caplan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT/3 p.m. ET!
Jeff Caplan (3:00 PM)
Hello everyone, thanks for joining me. Let's get right to it. I'm headed to the airport shortly bound for the A-T-L. So let's go.
i feel that this regular mavs season was not worthy of a championship a?? in terms of gutting their team of key players such as chandler, barea, hell even brewer ... i know the nba is a business and that they demanded a lot of money and cuban was going for the future aka the BIG price (howard, williams), but still... . at least give a team the chance to repeat. they deserved it.
Jeff Caplan (3:02 PM)
Well Mike, I see your point, but if you brought that team back, there's no guarantee they win it again and the payroll would have been stuck above the luxury tax for years. The new CBA makes it very difficult for luxury tax teams to alter their roster through trades and free agency. You would have been stuck with a very old team. In many respects, Cuban did the only thing he could.
MavsFanatic (MAVS Nation)
Hey Jeff! How goes it? Time to put you on the spot. Assuming standings hold up, how do you see the Mavs Playoff run going?
Jeff Caplan (3:04 PM)
It's a crapshoot, really. Look at the situation now, if they play the Lakers, Metta World Peace is a non-factor due to the suspension. He's been very good for them against the Mavs, so the door opens there. Against OKC, this team has a lot of confidence and now we don't know James Harden's situation. If Harden misses games, the Thunder will struggle. He is their best playmaker. The Mavs are underdogs against both teams, but what is truly intriguing is that the Mavs have not really had their full team together but for a few games this season. So really, we don't even know what they are capable of doing.
Ms Letti C (Dallas)
Given Mavs work this season, can we pass 1sr round of playoffs? ur professional opinion
Jeff Caplan (3:05 PM)
Yes, the Mavs can get by the first round. Their margin for error is slim. Dirk has to be fantastic. Vince Carter has to score. Jason Kidd has to hit a couple of 3s each game, Marion has to be at his defensive best. Get the picture? Again, if the Mavs can put a few things together and get on a roll, yes, they can win the first round.
Deven (Dallas, TX)
Is this the JET's final year in Dallas?
Jeff Caplan (3:06 PM)
Well, according to his contract it certainly is. Everything depends on the Deron Williams situation. If the Mavs get him in free agency, don't expect Jet back unless he wants to take a real low salary just to stay here. If there is no D-Will, then that changes everything and Jet's odds of returning rise.
Is wright the backup for Dirk in the playoffs or is he a backup at center?
Jeff Caplan (3:07 PM)
Nish, Wright will play center. Shawn Marion is going to take most of the backup power forward minutes. Carlisle is not big on Wright at the 4 because he ins't capable of spacing the floor in their offensive system.
Which is better for the Mavs, no Artest in round one or a not 100% 3rd scoring option Harden?
Jeff Caplan (3:09 PM)
Tyler, I think OKC is in big trouble if Harden is not 100 percent. He is their best playmaker and makes so much happen for that team on both ends of the floor. OKC is a limited offensive squad beyond Durant, Westbrook and Harden, so you take away Harden and I believe they become a stagnant and vulnerable offense. World Peace is a big loss, don't get me wrong, but Lakers still have the inside force of Gasol and Bynum plus Kobe.
Quick thought...Kidd said he wants to backup Deron Williams, I heard a couple of weeks ago during a Mavs game that Kidd's son is going to high school in NJ next year so does that tell us that Williams will be staying w/ NJ?
Jeff Caplan (3:10 PM)
I don't think it tells us anything, but I do think that any notion that D-Will is a slam dunk here is foolish. I know some people assume that because he grew up here and his time in NJ has been rough to say the least from a wins perspective that he's on his way. We'll see, but there are many reasons for him to say up there, too.
Hi Jeff! What do you think are the biggest weaknesses for the Mavs going into the playoffs?
Jeff Caplan (3:12 PM)
Hi Trisha,The Mavs have not been a good offensive team all season, which is a real change for a year ago. They really miss Barea's ability to penetrate and get to the rim or kick it out to an open shooter. Roddy B has not filled that role yet and they've relied mainly on a 35-year Vince Carter to attack the basket, with Jet doing it more here recently. Beyond that, rebounding has killed this team all season, particularly giving up way too many offensive boards and second-chance points.
Hello Jeff! Do you think the Mavs would fair better against OKC or LAL w/o MWP? It seems to me they match up better with OKC because they can't stop Dirk and Marion does a decent job on Durant. LAL still has the bigs and the Mavs just can't match up with Bynum, much less Gasol.
Jeff Caplan (3:13 PM)
I agree. It will be interesting to see if Denver tanks their last 2 games at OKC tonight and Minny tomorrow to get OKC and not the Lakers. OKC is a far better matchup for Dallas. The Mavs have no one to guard Bynum, it takes Wright out of the rotation and Gasol does a nice job defending Dirk. No MWP is a problem for L.A. because the like to switch him on Dirk occasionally and he's a muscular force on the boards.
Thomas Brunt (North Riclhand Hills )
Would you be surprised to see the Mavericks go as far as the Western Conference Finals? Why or why not
Jeff Caplan (3:14 PM)
Thomas, Yes I would be surprised if they got that far. I just don't think they've shown the consistency all season to suddenly turn it on. Now, of course you can say that they've been injured, etc etc, but I just don't see it. I don't see them beating the Spurs, for one, if they even make it out of the first round.
Neil (College Station)
If we don't get DWill it seems like everyone thinks Nash is the backup plan. But what about Goran Dragic? He's a restricted free agent, who's 25 and is averaging 17 points and 9 assists since becoming the starter. I think he would be a nice pickup, maybe a better option than Nash because of age.
Jeff Caplan (3:16 PM)
Dragic is going to have a lot of suitors, same with Eric Gordon, another restricted free agent in New Orleans, and how knows if the Hornets will match a big offer, although Tom Benson is now the owner, so that will be interesting. Nash is definitely on the radar if there's no D-Will, but he's said he will stay in Phoenix if he sees them making moves to improve the squad. Also, he loves New York and the Knicks would surely love to have him running the point with Jeremy Lin as his backup for a few years.
Do you think the Mavs will rest Dirk and some of the other starters on Thursday versus the Hawks? Thanks.
Jeff Caplan (3:17 PM)
Rick Carlisle has said that Jason Kidd is the only one he will consider resting. Dirk doesn't like to sit out, he wants to keep a rhythm going. If I had to guess I would say that Kidd will not play.
clayton (american airlines center)
which jason would u sign to a contract extension? kidd and terry r both free agents when the season is over ? do u think the mavs will land williams?
Jeff Caplan (3:18 PM)
Great question Clayton and again, one that will only be answered with the answer to D-Will. If D-Will is here, I almost guarantee that Kidd stays to back him up and that would probably send Jet elsewhere. I think no matter what, the Mavs have to look at getting another starting point guard here. I don't see how Kidd can play an 82 game season as he turns 40 after watching him this year.
Tony(dallas) [via mobile]
Rumor is that jj barea is not happy in with the t-wolves whats the odd of us making a trade for him in summer??
Jeff Caplan (3:19 PM)
I wouldn't hold your breath. JJ jumped his team after Sunday's loss to Golden State. He was frustrated by losing 12 of 13 games and said he thinks some guys don't care. But remember, the Wolves brought him in to back up Rubio and show him the ropes. With Rubio and Love back next season, Minny can pick up where it left off when Rubio went down and that was a team nipping at a playoff spot and only getting better.
Right now, the Mavs would have to face OKC in the first round. How important will the last game versus Atlanta be so that they can potentially play the Lakers instead? Probably a much more favourable matchup for them.
Jeff Caplan (3:21 PM)
Brad, I wouldn't expect the Mavs to win in Atlanta. The Hawks need the win to get homecourt advantage in a first round series against Boston. But, it's Denver who controls the matchups. If they lose tonight at OKC and Thursday at Minny, they get OKC and they just might try to make that happen.
Does OKC play their big guns against Denver tonight to try and send a message to the Nuggets, or rest them and show no respect to the Mavs??
Jeff Caplan (3:22 PM)
I don't think they need to send a message. What's interesting in that Kevin Durant is right on Kobe's heels for the scoring title. How badly does he want it? Very doubtful Harden plays even if he's cleared by doctors. It will be interesting to see how that one plays out.
Cuban said that he believes this team could be better then last years team. I know that he's the owner and he has to pump up his squad, but do you think he really believes that?? Is he seeing something that the rest of us are not?
Jeff Caplan (3:23 PM)
Well, I think he looks at names on the roster and says, OK, is Delonte West better than JJ Barea? OK, you can make that claim. Is Vince Carter better than Peja? OK, sure. But, they are lacking at center big time in my estimation. Really, what else is Cuban going to say?
Rob (Carrollton, TX)
Hey ya! Do you think Carlisle will stay here after this season?
Jeff Caplan (3:24 PM)
Absolutely. I wouldn't put much stock into the fact that he hasn't signed an extension yet. I am sure that will be coming shortly after the season ends.
Joseph (Charlottesville, VA)
Who has a better chance of advancing in the playoffs, Chandler's old team or his new one?
Jeff Caplan (3:25 PM)
Good question Joseph, but I think the answer has to be his old one. The Knicks are tied for 7th in the East and would play the Heat or Bulls. I don't see them winning either series.
Wallace (Fort Worth)
Do you think the Mavs can flip the switch on and make a run? I totally expect another gear come this weekend, just not sure if that gear will be good enough. Also, do you think their performance in the playoffs will have any bearing on Deron Williams decision this summer? If you really wanna be a nice guy, can you please tell me what needs to happen for a 3-6 LAC-Dal matchup? Ha thanks for your time.
Jeff Caplan (3:26 PM)
Wallace, I am very interested to see if there is another gear that they just turn on. Does Dirk become a machine once again? Does the offense suddenly start to flow? Does the defense return to flawless rotations and excellent rebounding like a year ago. It's a lot to ask. This team has not jelled with so many injuries and the Odom drama. But, as long as Dirk is on the court there is a chance. It's not like the other teams in the West are dominant.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What College Basketball Player who in the 2012 NBA Draft do you think will be a Perfect fit for the Dallas Mavericks?
Jeff Caplan (3:27 PM)
Marty (Dallas, TX)
As bad as this season's schedule has been, could the Mavs have caught a better break than this 4 day layoff before the last game? It could really allow those old legs to be ready for an all-out playoff effort.
Jeff Caplan (3:27 PM)
There's no doubt it has helped them. While most of the rest of the league is playing games and traveling, they've been at home for four days and they don't have to exert themselves Thursday. It'll be something of a tune-up for the playoffs.
Maniesh (New York)
Have Dirk and the Mavs team given up on defending the title? They just talk abt competing and see how far they can go. It might be a fact (that the Mavs are not as good as last year), but doesnt the team needs to have some belief in itself?
Jeff Caplan (3:28 PM)
That's what we're about to find out.
Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)
I've been saying it all along, that the Mavs' best matchup in the playoffs is against the Thunder. OKC proved once again that they cannot close out a game, i.e. giving up a 17-point lead to the Lakers on Sunday. Not to mention James Harden's concussion is most likely going to sideline him for at least two weeks. Plus the Mavs can count on Russell Westbrook to continue to jack up shots and disrupt the offense for the Thunder. Mavs' best option in advancing to the second-round of the playoffs is facing OKC. Agree?
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
Well Shawn, those are good points. I don't know that Harden will be out two weeks. If he is that's bad news for OKC. I agree that the Thunder leave something to be desired in the way it closes out games. We've seen it this season against the Mavs, although they have managed to pull those games out.
Rob (Carrollton, TX)
What are we going to do about a center after this season? Mahimni is a free agent, Haywood is old, and Wright's contract is optional...
Jeff Caplan (3:29 PM)
Haywood is signed for 3 more years. There's your answer.
Jeff Caplan (3:30 PM)
OK, everyone, thanks for your participation. I'll be in Atlanta tomorrow night and then where the playoffs takes the Mavs. Always follow the Mavs at espndallas.com and follow me on Twitter at espn_caplan. Thanks again.