Whitt’s End: Is Mavs Shopping Fixing The Flaws?

Richie Whitt

Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope, welcome to Whitt’s End 11.20.20 …

*On Friday, Aug. 31, I was beyond giddy to watch Dallas Mavericks’ basketball. Because of COVID, they hadn’t played in five months and … just like that, we were all reminded the Mavs were fatally flawed by one of the flimsiest defenses in franchise history. 

Led by Luka Doncic, they were entertaining. But, ultimately, unable to be effective. 

In that first game in the bubble, they surrendered 49 points to James Harden. Two weeks later it was 61 to Damian Lillard. Wide-open 3-pointers. Uncontested layups. The works. 

In 14 re-start and playoff games they coughed up an unfathomable 126 points per game. 153 to the Rockets. 154 to the Clippers. Their “defense” deteriorated into a team of traffic cones, helpless against dribble penetration and invisible at the rim. The Mavs’ coaches and front office were just as disgusted as we were. 

The evidence manifested in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, where Dallas traded away the NBA’s second-best all-time 3-point shooter in Seth Curry and acquired defensive-minded Josh Green, Josh Richardson and Tyler Bey. 

Defense over offense. Here’s betting they don’t give up 150 points in a game next season.

*Without a first-round pick in 2021 or 2023 because of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Mavs needed to win this draft. 

Going: Curry Coming: Green, Tyrell Terry, Richardson and Bey. 

We don’t have to wait long to find out if they did. Training camp opens in 11 days. But first, head coach Rick Carlisle said the dealing might not be done. 

READ MORE: Donnie: 'We're Not Done Yet'

“I think it’s very possible we could do another trade,” he said Thursday on The Fan. My dozen observations on Dallas’ decisive, defensive draft.

*Upset the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday, or else. Consequences of a loss? The Dallas Cowboys will suffer a humiliation felt only twice in 60 years of football – 2-8. 

Only in 1988 and 2001 did the Cowboys win 20 percent of their first 10 games. The ’88 squad went 3-13 despite boasting a roster filled with Everson Walls, Randy White, “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates, Nate Newton, Michael Irvin and a guy named Herschel Walker that led the NFC in rushing. 

Problem was quarterback, where – born of injury and inconsistency – Steve Pelluer, Danny White and Kevin Sweeney started games. 

Proved to be Tom Landry’s final season. 

In ’01, the Cowboys had offensive weapons in Emmitt Smith, Rocket Ismail and Joey Galloway. But again, they were ravaged by incompetent quarterback play from Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf and Clint Stoerner, each of whom started multiple games. That season, the middle of three consecutive 5-11's under Dave Campo, hit 2-8 on Thanksgiving when the head coach neutered a rally from down 26-3 to the Broncos by deciding not to go for a two-point conversion in a 26-24 loss. 

Yeah, ’88, ’01 and now ’20 (Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert) remind us that football starts, and sometimes ends, with the quarterback.

*Loving the Texas Rangers’ optimism. I mean, 2021 is going to be better and safer, right? The Rangers are scheduled to begin Cactus League spring training games Feb. 27 in Surprise, Arizona and open Globe Life Field – with their own fans in attendance – Monday, April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Fingers. Crossed.

*2019: Dread about having to take part in large, family gatherings at Thanksgiving. 2020: Depression about not being able to take part in large, family gatherings at Thanksgiving.

*Not sure which part of this story is the most preposterous: That Dallas’ Daniel Macdonald rose to be a viral TikTok star by asking Highland Park Village customers driving fancy cars “What do you do for a living?”, or that snooty-ass Highland Park Village banned him for five years.

*Jerry Jones is a business genius. But he’s whiffing on something alarmingly simple. 

As COVID cases increase, attendance at Cowboys game in AT&T Stadium should decrease. That’s just common, decent sense. Jones said on The Fan this week that he wants to “move the numbers up” in future games in Arlington. The Cowboys have drawn a league-high 128,750 to five home games, with their average of 25,750 leading the NFL and college football. 

But in 2020, that’s not a badge of honor ... it's more like a Scarlet Letter. 

A Tarrant County spokesperson said this week that eight people who tested positive attended Cowboys games. This season will be forgettable. Jones, however, is on the verge of making it memorable for very wrong reasons.

*If you’re an iPhone user you’re probably wondering, as I am, where are all your voicemails? Some just pop up three days late. Some never arrive. Thought it was me. Or my phone. 

Nope, it’s AT&T. 

Got this message from its customer service department that kind of explains the problem without instilling much confidence about solving it: “Richie, some customers may be experiencing delays in setting up or retrieving voicemails. We are working with the vendor to fix this as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, you can press and hold the “1” key on the handset to be connected to voicemail. Thank you for your patience.”

*Recently consulted the most fit, nutrition-minded person I know, and she recommended eating organ meat. “The most nutrition-packed bite of food you’ll ever take,” she promised. 

So this week, I tried liver. It wasn’t necessarily the taste, but the texture. I have zero cannibal tendencies, but I imagine that’s what human would taste like. 

One and done.

*What I’ve repeatedly said in 2020 was again confirmed last week: It’s not the kneeling! COVID has crippled sports all year, leading to all-time low TV viewership of the World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, U.S. Open tennis tournament and Triple Crown. Now comes the lily-white, politically-neutral Masters, and ratings down 51 percent to its lowest since 1957. 

The only kneeling in Augusta was done by millionaire white golfers reading putts.



*Even though the Mavs added three wing players in the draft, Tim Hardaway Jr. thinks he has a spot. I dunno, seems like Luka made him a better shooter but his perimeter defense was part of Dallas’ problem. 

READ MORE: Tim Hardaway Jr. Exercises Player Option; Will Return to Mavs

That said, I don’t blame him for opting into a contract that will pay him $19 million in 2021.

*Never thought I’d feel sorry for George Clooney’s 15th-best friend, butI kinda do.

*In 2015-16, Dallas’ Jordan Spieth spent 26 weeks as golf’s No. 1 player. After another disappointing Masters, he’s now ranked 80th. It’s not six-foot putts, it’s the six inches between his ears.

*While some people still inexplicably refuse to wear a mask, COVID has been busy killing more Americans in the last 10 months than strokes, suicides and car accidents in a full year – combined! We’ve now lost 5x more people – more than 250,000 – than were killed in Vietnam. No, it’s not the “regular flu”, which kills about 40,000 a year. And no, tragically, it doesn’t only affect the elderly.

*Props to the Rangers and iconic broadcaster Eric Nadel, for teaming up to provide $30,000 sports broadcasting scholarships to the University of North Texas. We need all the good deeds and then some in 2020.

*Attention, stargazers: In a rare treat, all seven planets are on the same side of the Sun this month, making them visible to the naked eye. Count me as one of the nerds who will be out there at dawn and dusk, squinting.

*Careful what you wish for. For years I criticized Cowboys safety Jeff Heath. No ball awareness. Constantly trucked by opposing runners. Happy he departed to Las Vegas in free agency. 

But, alas, Heath had two interceptions for the Raiders and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week. The Cowboy have only three all season.

*Remember when some of us used to feel sorry for Tony Romo because he didn’t get the credit he deserved? Life has a way of balancing things out. Eventually. Underrated as a player, he is now ridiculously overpaid as a broadcaster. Romo makes $17.5 million in the CBS NFL booth, and likely another $5 million from endorsement deals with Skechers, Corona, etc. Most he made from the Cowboys in a single season was $18 million. Good for him.

*With no “Black Friday” rush, how are we supposed to entertain ourselves watching videos of fools trampling each other in “Black Friday” rush? I guess we could watch replays from 2019.

*Almost 90,000 sexual abuse claims have been filed against the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America. That’s not just a number, it’s human beings. Staggering.

*Immediately upon his selection by the Mavs, Green announced he would wear No. 0. But then came the trade acquisition of veteran Richardson, who said he would wear No. 0. Green, turns out, will now wear No. 8. 

Credit Richardson with his first steal as a Maverick.

*I will McNot try McDonald’s new McPlant.

*Dalton’s return notwithstanding, I think it gets ugly in Minneapolis Sunday afternoon. I remember vividly last November when the Vikings and Dalvin Cook ran the ball down Dallas’ throat in a 28-24 victory in Arlington. Minnesota rushed for 153 yards, including 97 by Cook. 

Now he comes into Sunday as the NFL’s leading rusher against one of the league’s worst run defenses. Smells like an old-school bludgeoning is upon us. 

From the Hail Mary in 1975 to Roger Staubach’s overtime touchdown run in 1977 to Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard run in 1983, Cowboys have some warm-and-fuzzies in Minnesota. 

This, however, won’t be one of them.

*This Weekend? Friday is for another one last round of golf in 2020. Saturday is for hanging some Christmas lights. Sunday? Reserved for watching Cowboys sink to 2-8. As always, don’t be a stranger.