DONUT 1: KP'S A WINNER
This week, a jovial Rick Carlisle has more than a few times referred to one of his Dallas Mavericks roster members as "a winner.''
On Thursday, Kristaps Porzingis took it upon himself to ... declare it about himself.
DONUT 2: THE DAY'S CHAMP
"All I know is,'' Porzingis said when asked about the outcome of his post-practice shooting competition against Luka Doncic, "I won the half-court shot today. and that’s what counted the most. I won the half-court shot and left as a champ. And tomorrow’s a new day.”
DONUT 3: SHOOT-OUTS
We addressed this earlier in the week, with our particular focus on Jalen Brunson vs. Dwight Powell in post-practice shooting competition. With DP, it is clear that as least "emotional investment'' is on the line ...
... and the emotion is genuine, complete with a resounding, "My goodness!'' from Dwight.
DONUT 4: WHAT'S AT STAKE?
The Mavericks starring duo of Luka and KP seems to be deep into the bonding exercise that will ultimately give this franchise a chance to return to its 2011 heights. Yes, "bonding'' and "chemistry'' and all those keywords of the Dirk Nowitzki Era remain organizational priorities.
As our buddy Eddie Sefko suggests, there is probably some cash on the line -- you know, small stuff, like you and your friends in an office pool or you and your pals on the golf course -- and that helps fuel the competition ... which ultimately helps fuel the bond.
The bond is a big part of this first week of camp, as addressed in a freshly-baked "Step Back'' podcast. Click it, love it, share it, and stuff.
DONUT 5: EMULATING DIRK
Remembering Dirk, and WWDD ("What Would Dirk Do?'') is a fine way to go through a basketball life, and really, any life at all. That's why DallasBasketball.com thought it worth our time to go back and re-examine exactly what it was Doncic said about "following in Dirk's steps.''
Did he just mean "WWDD''? Our evaluation is deeper than that.
Luka Doncic issued the statement in his usual speaking style, staccato and understated, But by God, he said it. “Dirk’s been here 21 years,'' the Dallas Mavericks' young star said. "I want to stay here. If they want me, I'll be here.''
DONUT 6: BALL-BUSTING
But another way to borrow from the mood of the Dirk Era is for Mavs to bust each others' balls. Listen to my 1-on-1 with J.J. Barea to totally appreciate how one of the things JJB is going to miss most about not having The UberMan around is his sharp comedic wit. Watch and listen here, please. ...
And so ...
DONUT 7: 'HEY, DRAGO!'
I can tell you right now that Tim Hardaway Jr. has taken to calling the beefed-up Porzingis by the moniker "Drago,'' the name of the "Rocky'' movie character who is a Euro muscle machine.
"Hey, Drago,'' Tim barked at KP the other day as Kristaps was posing for a photo, "don't you need some boxing gloves in the picture?
DONUT 8: 'MINI-BALL'
I can tell you that Doncic made a grand point at Mavs Media Day on Monday to grab the mini-balls that were being used in the photo shoots (no, I'm not sure why!) and to grab Barea, too, to hoot at him:
"Hey, J.J., we found a ball for you!''
DONUT 9: MILKING THE COW'
And I can tell you that I am trying to tell the story -- working to make certain that the light-hearted context of the incident comes across properly in print -- of Luka playfully urging teammate Brunson to milk the "cow'' who was posing with him for a milk sponsor promotion.
Here's a photo to tease the story ....
And stick with me. Soon, I'll get the story to you ... with a qualification that no cows were harmed in the filming of my video.
DONUT 10: QUOTABLE
“I feel great. I’m not worried one bit. I haven’t at any point been worried about the (knee) injury. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone that long. My knee feels great and my body feels great, too.” - Kristaps Porzingis
DONUT 11: MAVSCELLANEOUS
Anyway, Luka surely won the overall shooting contest on Thursday, leaving KP to celebrate the half-court victory. And then they all laughed. “These guys do a lot of shooting before and after practice together,” Carlisle said. “Once we get into the season, I know that all our guys will be out together at dinners and things like that. And then the chemistry on the floor is big, too. They (Porzingis and Doncic) have played together (on the same practice teams) two of the three days.'' ... The Mavs will take a break from all the frivolity with a day off on Friday. There will be a Saturday workout and then on Sunday comes "Fan Jam,'' with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. at the AAC and free admission to watch a practice that Rick says will more closely resemble a "scrimmage.'' ... The trespasser arrested in Nashville claiming to be Mark Cuban? Laugh if we wish, but it seems like a sad tale to us. ... The Mavs are hopeful Delon Wright (hamstring) will be available to participate this weekend.
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD
We noted at the start of the week that Rick Carlisle seems more buoyant and bouncy and engaging than usual. We'll note it again with this latest quote from the coach:
"There’s an element of youth and an element of experience and an element of guys that really are committed to being team guys,'' he said. "It’s a very good group. A very cool group."