Now That Mavericks Are Healthy, Injury Bug Is Really Hurting Them

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst IMarch 25, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 22:  Brendan Haywood #33 of the Dallas Mavericks fights for a rebound Darius Songaila #9 and James Posey #41 of the New Orleans Hornets at the New Orleans Arena on March 22, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Remember the good times, Mavs fans?

Back on March 13, the world was our oyster. The Mavs had won 13 straight, despite crucial players like Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Erick Dampier and Brendan Haywood missing games. 

We all figured, "hey, this is just super, once we're all healthy, the Mavs are really going to start laying a beatdown on the league."

But alas, it wasn't to be. 

Now that the Mavs are finally healthy, the defense has slacked off, the wins aren't coming the way they used to and the team seems to not be clicking on all cylinders. 

People are missing defensive rotations, looking lost in the halfcourt sets, and resorting to bad habits that have haunted them for their career. 

While it's a bit disheartening to watch the Mavericks stumble after their awesome streak, I think it's just a delayed reaction to the stark realities that come with integrating new pieces into an offensive and defensive scheme. 

Caron Butler has found himself in a tailspin, other than a 27-point effort against Chicago last week, he's been shooting the ball poorly, including two sub-30 percent shooting nights. 

Brendan Haywood found himself relegated to the bench against the Clippers this week, after a stretch of three games where he scored one field goal apiece, with three, four and three points, with only four, three and six rebounds. 

Haywood has looked lost on defense at times and Butler on offense, and as two players who are expected to start, that just won't fly on a Mavericks team with title aspirations. 

While some are using this as proof that the Mavericks aren't title contenders (which most of them have just been dying to do most of the season), I would like to think it's a delayed reaction to the trade. 

Much like after a serious injury, an adrenaline rush prevents the pain from being felt immediately, the Mavericks are experiencing a bit of a delayed reaction from the shock to the team. 

They gave up their primary backup center and starting shooting guard for a new shooting guard and starting center. Those aren't just seamless transitions. 

With a player as experienced as Kidd running the show, some of the growing pains have been masked with both his leadership, as well as his stellar play. 

The idea behind the trade, in addition to getting a legit center, was to get a reliable option that can pick up the slack when Dirk is being double-teamed. 

Butler seems to have regressed a bit to his Wizards days, when he and Antawn Jamison were taking turns to see who could jack up the most contested jumpers with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. 

With Dampier and Haywood splitting minutes, the Mavs have the best two-headed center monster since Diop and Damp (and Haywood and Damp is better, but older). The two have struggled to get into a rhythm together, with Damp's lack of hands, and Haywood's tendency to get a bit lost on defense, the results haven't been great. 

But the Mavs showed signs of putting it all back together against the Clippers. They rose up in the fourth quarter in Dirk's absence. Sure it was the Clippers, but it's a step in the right direction

The Mavs have 11 games to get themselves back into sync. They've got a talent level on their roster that almost every team would like to have, and it's up to the coach, and locker room leaders to get the team back on track. 

Because once the postseason starts, they can't afford to give up a single game. And miscommunication


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.