Friday, June 27, 2008

The NBA treadmill

I'm back.

Ever play tennis? Baseline or net? Maybe you like staying on the baseline, where you have more time and can place your shots strategically. Or maybe you're aggressive and charge the net, hoping to force your opponent's hand. Either way is fine, but you don't want to get caught in no-man's land.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: the Mavs have acquired a shooter and. . . what, already?

Yes, that's right. With the 51st overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Dallas Mavericks selected Shan Foster, 6-5 shooting guard out of Vanderbilt. Word is he's a phenomenal shooter, 42% in his college career, 47% as a senior. Great. Another jumpshooter.

I realize there are few options when you are picking at 51. But does the Mavs braintrust (and I'm starting to use that term very loosely) realize that the last thing they need is another shooter? According to the Dallas Morning News, he "needs to work on his strength and defensive ability." Which, of course, is the punchline of another tired Mavs joke.

And I don't know what the Mavericks have done with the Morning News's Eddie Sefko, but the police might want to investigate. His article is ridiculous in it's praise of a very average draft selection. At one point he says that because the Mavs need more shooters "to help open up the floor for Jason Kidd, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, Foster seems to be a wonderful fit." Funny, I thought they needed strength in the front court and slashers to take pressure off the shooters. And wasn't the trade for Kidd supposed to open up the floor?

And after telling us about his shooting, Sefko spends a fair amount of the article on Foster's second best skill: the piano. That's right, the piano. No other commentary necessary here.

I've seen it coming since their '07 playoff loss to Golden State, and particularly since the Kidd trade, but this team has been caught in no-man's land. If this season had been five games longer, they wouldn't have made the playoffs this year, and they won't make it next year. Mavs fans, get ready for a string of near misses to get in the playoffs and the mid-first round picks that go with them--just good enough to keep you from the bottom of the standings, but not good enough to make some noise in the conference. This team is now running in place on a treadmill: they aren't going anywhere, and they can't get off, either. And they're staying there until the "braintrust" realizes that this team as currently constructed can't compete.

Source: Dallas Mavericks stay put at 51, pick shooting guard, Dallas Morning News

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