It’s time to go to work. Dallas Mavericks style. Once again the “pundits” and sportswriters are dismissing the Mavs for any number of reasons. Once again, we are going to use it as motivation to prove them wrong. I love what we have with our team.
I love the balance and depth we have at all positions. I love the comraderie the guys are showing on the court and off. I love the yin and yang of Avery Johsnon and Nellie working together. I think this could be a very exciting year.
Already in pre season there have been highlights that are memorable. Watching Avery coach in practice and seeing Nellie just smile and watch him. Culminating with AJ coaching against the Spurs. The General without question found his new calling. I sat next to Stack during the game, and as he said “This guy is going to be good.”
Watching Jason Terry interact with the fans before, during and after games. We have a lot of guys who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to making our fans and customers happy, but JT the Jet has raised the bar to a new level. From running through the crowd and high fiving everyone during his introduction to fans, or his rousing pre game speech letting everyone know there is a new Big D in Dallas and its called Defense. His energy is going to be infectious.
The development of DJ Mbenga and Devin Harris have been a joy. The DJ of summer league vs now is night and day. The kid has an amazing story, and is incredibly smart to go along with his athleticism. He has improved every game and practice. With his blackbelt in judo. If i ever run out on the court again, im taking him with me.
Devin Harris as the number 5 pick is expected to be good, but his demeanor, his passion and his ability are a great combination. Devin was Nellie’s pick. Watching film, Nellie pushed us all in Devin’s direction and he was right on. A little tidbit on DH. When we got the #5 pick, we sent up our team psychologist to NY to meet with as many of the kids we thought had a chance to be available at #5. We couldn’t talk to everyone we wanted to, but of the kids Don did speak to, without knowing what our scouts and Nellie thought about their playing ability, Don immediately started going on and on about Devin. Tough (he delayed getting a spleen operation in High School so he could qualify for a scholarship for college), smart, a good listener, leadership qualities, a quick learner, he went on and on. All of which contribute to the success Devin has had so far in the preseason. Its going to be fun watching DH grow as a player and person this year.
The new vets coming in also have been fun to be around. Alan Henderson is healthy again, and is bringing Bobby Knight basketball, great fundamentals to the team. Hendu won’t outrun, outjump or outshoot anyone, but he knows where to be and when on the court, and he practices so hard he makes the rest of the team better.
Since Stack has been hurt, I have had a chance to spend more time talking to him. A great guy. Chomping at the bit to get out there. He just wants to win. The 6th man role is unusual for him, but its ever more unusual for him not to have the pressure of carrying an entire team. I think he is recognizing and enjoying both. He has pushed himself to get back to practice ahead of schedule and looked amazing in practice yesterday.
Damp is a character. He has a sly sense of humor. Won’t say much, then out of no where, bam, some witty comment that will have guys cracking up. If you want to keep score, watch how many times he can get me with a towel when he comes out of a game. Minute I turn my head. Pop! On the court, he is getting more and more comfortable with his role. He knows he doesn’t have to score on set plays for us to win. That Dirk, Fin, Josh, whoever, will find him with the ball when teams rotate. All he has to do is catch and dunk. The real suprise from Damp, and I think one of the biggest benefits we will see from him, is the way he seals opposing centers creating layup lanes for him, or for a driving fin, devin,stack or JT. Thats something we have never had since I’ve been here and probably ever. A couple of those per game and Damp will have an impact that won’t showup in the stats.
Tuesday is when it gets real. I won’t say what i really think about the genius that started the season on election day since it’s probably the same person that started the season on Halloween in previous years. There’s only a presidential election 1x every 4 years. We start on that day..Genius. Let’s see, which are going to get more highlights and press coverage Nov 3rd. The kickoff of the NBA season or the election. The NBA has a great idea to feature “Premiere Week” and we start it on Election Night. Brilliant. It’s had an impact on us. We sold out our pre season home games, but we still have plenty of seats left for the home opener and also for the first couple games of the year. To help balance the brilliance of NBA marketing starting us off on election day, we created a special 3 pack of tickets. $25 dollar tickets (regularly 30 or 39 dollars) for 3 the first 3 games, for $75 dollars. Get em before they are gone!
On the Mavs entertainment front, we have all kinds of goodies planned for in game entertainment. We are proud that we get voted the best gameday presentation in the league, and we plan on raising the bar again this year. Let”s see what they fine me for this year!
One last note. One of my proudest moments as owner of the Mavs came at our last exhibition game with the Kings. At the prompting of Michael Finley, during the National Anthem, all of our players and staff stood with their hand over their heart. The fans saw this and did the same. With all the diversity of backgrounds and opinions, everyone used the moment as a sign of respect. It was great to be part of it.