Jason Kidd (age 35), Jerry Stackhouse (32), Josh Howard (28), Dirk Nowitzki (30), and Eric Dampier(32)—that's the starting five for the Dallas Mavericks.
It's pretty good 45-50 win team, but in the West, that's good for only ninth or tenth. It's very clear now that is not going to change, but the Mavs can be saved, in one of two ways.
The first and the hardest, by firing Avery Johnson and bringing in an offensive coach.
I love Avery, Mark loves Avery, but Avery just won't let Jason Kidd play his game. If that doesn't change tomorrow, then the window will slam shut without a playoff appearance. Jason Kidd needs a free role, to be able to go anywhere or do anything, a get the heck out of his way mandate. He needs to dominate the ball—but from the sampling I've seen, so far he's little more than the walk over man, then stand at the three-point line, not much dribble penetration, not many great passing lanes, to run his showtime style attack.
I even understand why, Avery was a really poor point guard who stayed in the league by doing the little things running offenses, never turning the ball over, taking only the "smart" shots, being a leader, playing great defense. All these things can keep unskilled players in the league look at players like Bruce Bowen, or Ben Wallace. Its all heart that keeps these kinds of players in the league. Jason Kidd, is the antithesis of the kind of player he was he's moody, can't play any defense anymore, his shooting is streaky to say the least, he isn't afraid to throw risky passes. It's like trying to get through a dinner with Gino Auriemma, and Pat Summit on either end of you. It's just not going to work out.
Mark has to look around the Western Conference and make a tough choice. Look at the Denver's who are older, San Antonio's who are OLD. LA's who will be facing cap issues in the near future, Phoenix's who are at the end, and Houston's who are salary tied to two injury prone players. If you can revamp your roster with some youth either through the draft or via trade for expiring contracts and draft picks, the future can still be bright.
Only one thing is clear. If the Mavs are to ever be title contenders, change is needed. It's up to them if they can rise from the ashes sooner rather than later.
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