Mavs Donuts: 'It's A New Season,' Says TNT Analyst; Dallas Practice Notes
DALLAS - Until TNT's Kenny "The Jet" Smith said it to us on Monday on 105.3 The Fan, I'd never thought of the NBA re-boot quite this way. See if you agree with Kenny and enjoy Dallas Mavericks Tuesday Donuts ...
DONUT 1: 'A NEW SEASON' So it's about the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks and maybe the Los Angeles Clippers, right?
Wrong, says Kenny Smith.
"I look at this like a new year, like a 'next year','' Smith told us, in what I find to be a clever and unique take. "I don't look at this as a continuation (of the season). When you're off three or four months ... Luka, Porzingis ... This is like their 'next year.' So whatever they were going to be at the start of next year is how they are going to look in this bubble.
"You're going to see a different team, possibly. A different energy, a different confidence in those two guys. So they have an opportunity to really shine through this time. ... They have a great opportunity.''
I don't know if at 40-27 the Mavs are truly "different'' today than when they were, well, 40-27 four months ago. But I'm encouraged by the perspective ... and impressed with the uniqueness of it.
DONUT 2: ALSO ENCOURAGING Tim Hardaway Jr. said on Monday that he and the Mavs - seemingly with leadership from coach Rick Carlisle and injured big man Dwight Powell - were in constant hiatus contact via Zoom, texts, phone calls, whatever.
The purpose? To remind and ensure, as Hardaway said, "we’re all in this together.''
DONUT 3: 'UP IN THE AIR'? Hardaway said something about being "up in the air'' when it came to the COVID-19 situation, leading some of the reporters on the conference call thinking maybe he means he's undecided about going to Orlando.
That's not what he meant.
"I love the game of basketball,” Hardaway said. “I don’t care where it’s getting played or the circumstances. When you have an opportunity to do the one thing you love, you just go for it.
DONUT 4: QUOTABLE "The tone in our gym is very positive - great energy.'' - Coach Rick Carlisle.
DONUT 5: MIP "Most Improved Player''? Well, you know what? Porzingis might qualify for that, too. But this is a different sort of "MIP,'' as you'll read here.
DONUT 6: MVP In case Mavs Nation needs reminding ...
Doncic will sprint into Orlando while ranked first in the NBA in triple-doubles (14), fourth in assists (8.7), sixth in scoring (28.7) and 19th in rebounding (9.3).
"The Eye Test'' should tell you why Luka is going to finish in the top four in MVP voting (says yours truly) But those numbers are there, too, just in case your eyes think they are being deceived.
DONUT 7: 'IT'S A FREE COUNTRY' Rick Carlisle has a way of saying things that can clear things up quickly. On any potential anthem protests, he simply says, "It's a free country.''
I mean, how is anybody going to argue with that?
Well, we still will. Because arguing is now what we do. But "It's a free country.'' Can't that sort of be the end of this debate?
DONUT 8: TWITTER PERSON? If you are indeed a "Twitter Person'' ...
... here are your super-helpful "Twitter People'' on The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: 113 PAGES Each NBA team is in possession of a thick packet of papers designed to answer issues that might pop up.
As one might imagine, the Mavs and other teams are finding out the packet might need to be thicker.
“It’s totally new territory,” said Carlisle, complimenting the NBA for being "fluid'' because, “There are questions each day that are asked that aren’t in the 113-page memorandum.''
Speaking of questions and answers ...
DONUT 10: THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED But why the hell not?
The Mavs will engage in a trio of bubble scrimmages: Against the Los Angeles Lakers, on July 23 at 6 p.m; against the Indiana Pacers on July 26 at 3 p.m.; And against the Philadelphia 76ers on July 28 at 7:30 p.m.
And last time I checked, none of this is scheduled to be televised.
Stick a camera and a microphone in the front row of the gym, turn 'em on, and a Mavs-Lakers practice would - I'm dead-serious - be one of the most-watched sports shows of the COVID-19 summer.
What am I missing here?
DONUT 11: A THIRD STAR? WHO NEEDS IT! We asked Kenny "The Jet'' Smith about how about eventual star-level help for Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis might come due to the foundation being put down by the duo.
"You need more (stars)?" Smith quipped when we asked him (via 105.3 The Fan.) "This is it. You don't need anything else. This is what every franchise wants, is two guys like that."
DONUT 12: THE FINAL WORD “Our guys are really excited, champing at the bit, tired of shooting at one basket to one coach. We’re excited about getting on the plane and going down (to Orlando) and hopefully making a nice run.” - Mavs GM Donnie Nelson.