Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mark Cuban called me a moron

When Mark Cuban was asked if he had any questions about Dirk Nowitzki's ability to lead the Dallas Mavericks he replied, 'No, not at all. Not even a little bit. Anyone who suggests otherwise is a moron. You can print that.'

Guess he was talking about me.

There is no question in my mind about Nowitzki's disability to lead. He's a great player that has made failed attempts to lead in the past, but he just doesn't have it in him. And I'm OK with that.

There has been a lot of talk the past few weeks about Nowitzki's inability to lead, but that is not his problem. Leadership does not have to come from your best player. It's nice if it does, but it isn't necessary.

Nowitzki's fatal error is that he is not aggressive. The Mavs can fill in leadership from other players, but if their best player refuses to take the ball to the basket, they are doomed to fail. In Game 3 of the 2006 Finals, the Mavs reverted to their jumpshooting ways, and it happened again in the Golden State Warriors series, and that starts with Nowitzki. He went from regular season MVP to playoff MIA overnight.

So that's why Nowitzki's got to go. It isn't about a lack of leadership, but rather a lack of aggressiveness. Having a seven footer who can shoot from the outside is only dangerous if he has the complimentary inside game. Dirk could do it, but he has consistently refused to, particularly in the playoffs.

With Nowitzki, the Mavs will always win 55 plus, but they will never win a title. If they are content with being a perennial good to great team, then by all means, maintain the status quo. But if the goal is a NBA title, it's time to say goodbye.

What should they do with him?

Some have suggested a trade for Kevin Garnett. I don't see that as an improvement. KG and Dirk are the same animal. Or more accurately, the same non-animal.

I do not know the details of draft pick trade values, so I can't propose a specific deal. But I would agree to trade everyone save one point guard in a package for the number one pick in the draft. Do whatever needs to be done to match salaries, and make 'em a Godfather offer. Then I would select Greg Oden.

Would this be a step backwards for a few years? Certainly. Oden will spend a few years continuing to develop his game, plus the Mavs will have to restock at the other positions.

Will it eventually result in titles? Without a doubt. Oden will win multiple titles in his career.

Will the Mavs actually attempt such a trade? Not a chance. Because Cuban isn't the moron that I am.


Kevin Hayward said...

Chris, I agree that Dirk isn't a leader, and he isn't who I give the ball to for the last shot. But he got you there, and he will continue to get you there (which you said, I know). So why would you give him up?

What the Mavericks need is a spark plug, a guy who maybe doesn't score a ton of points but can make a clutch basket or find the open man when it's all on the line. Basically, Steve Nash. Ouch.

Also, you've seen Greg Oden play how many games, and you're ready to throw away the franchise to get him? He's going to be good, but why dismantle one of the best teams in the NBA for a guy who's no guarantee?

Finally, nice pic with Mark Cuban!

Chris said...

Look, I want to keep Dirk. I really do. But Dallas does need a spark plug-type, and they aren't getting that player without giving up Dirk. A trade for the spark plug would demand Dirk, and the salary cap dictates they can't have both--they are already about $30 million over the cap. Dirk is the price of bringing in the agressive, clutch player.

As good as Dirk is, he will not win you a championship. As a fan, that is my goal. And I am convinced, even after only one college season, that Oden will do that. I would give up everything for the chance to rebuild the team around him.