DALLAS – Today is the first day of the newly re-designed Mavs.com.
Clap your hands.
In 41 days, the Dallas Mavericks start training camp for the 2013-2014 season.
In 48 days, the Dallas Mavericks play their first preseason game at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.
In 71 days, the Dallas Mavericks open the regular season. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at home against the Atlanta Hawks.
The hyphenated year begins one day before Halloween this year. The basketball New Year.
It’s that time of the year. The preseason to the preseason. The dog days of summer. We’re all fidgeting in the Texas heat grinding out the final days before the beginning of the NBA season.
This is the toughest time of the year without basketball. The world is just a better place when the NBA season is in session. The anxiety that builds while waiting for the season’s arrival is almost unbearable.
This summer it’s especially tough to take because the Mavs missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 season. An unbearable time of year stretched even longer because of injury, misfortune and a few bad bounces. It’s so tough to take that it might even have been better just to endure another first-round loss. Did I just write that?
What’s done is done and we are now riding the high season of the preseason to preseason. Awaiting that optimistic time of the year where anything is possible. It’s a great feeling when basketball begins. Preseason optimism is just so optimistic.
With a batch of 9 NBA signees and three rookies to add to the core of Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion and Vince Carter, the Mavericks can say as the boys down at the YMCA say, “We got our squad.”
Check out our squad on the new Mavs.com.
Picking a team in the NBA is really no different than choosing up sides at the lunch game at the YMCA. Naturally, players in the NBA are more skilled and it actually costs real dollars to pick them in the NBA, but the basic tenets of each selection is the same. You evaluate the skills of each player and hope that they can jell as a team to win basketball games. At the Y, the selection process happens every day and you are playing for court time, not playoff spots and the Larry O’Brien trophy. But winning is winning.
For the Mavericks and Mark Cuban, they can’t really win unless they win the championship. No matter what players the Mavs pick up, unless they go all the way each season it is seen as a failure. The Mavs and Mark Cuban understand that fully. It may not be fair, it’s just fact.
Let’s be honest, it’s fun to hate Mark Cuban. It is close to becoming a national pastime like baseball, texting while driving, and Googling (stalking) your future, present, and past girlfriends.
But isn’t there a fine line between love and hate? That’s what they say right?
How can you hate a guy that gets to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do?
He gets to: (1) Yell at his “boss;” (2) Wear jeans and t-shirts to work; (3) Fly around the world in his own jet; (4) Act like a possessed superfan while watching his favorite NBA team of his favorite sport that he happens to own. I mean come on! Doesn’t that just sum it up? His fantasy team isn’t a fantasy. His monopoly money isn’t dark yellow. It’s Federal Reserve note green. And isn’t that the best color? He does get to pass go. He does get to collect $2 billion.
More power to him.
What is everyone so upset about? What was his crime? He didn’t keep a team together that won the championship? Is that a really a crime? From Cuban’s and the Mavericks point of view it truly would have been a capital offense, because with the new collective bargaining agreement it would have put the Mavericks in the poor house with a group of seasoned players.
Here is the mathematical truth. If the Mavericks played 100 seasons with the 2010-2011 Championship team they would have won it once. And guess what? They did it and we lived it. Just say thank you and be about your business. It’s an improbable achievement in the best of times. So many things have to go right for a team to win it all that have nothing to do with the talent level of the team.
If you said that the Mavericks were going to win the NBA Championship in training camp of the season they won it, people would have said you were stoned on preseason optimism. If you said the Mavericks were going to win the NBA Championship the season they won it at the start of the playoffs, they would have asked you to hold out your arms for the straight jacket and taken you straight to a padded room. As late as early March of the championship season everyone had written the Mavericks off from making the playoffs, let alone winning it all. And to hear Mark Cuban tell it – even some of his players were thinking the goose was cooked at that time.
Let’s not even make ourselves crazy with the reminder of the 2005-2006 team. Better yet, what about the 2006-2007 team. That Mavericks squad was insane. There was rarely a doubt on game night who was walking out of the building a winner. Everyone in the basketball world was handing the Mavericks the Larry O’Brien trophy months before the season was over. That team had the best coach and the best player in the league. You have the deep scars of how that turned out. Run your fingers over them now. They are still there, I promise.
Bottom line of all the previous gibberish, put in laymen’s term best by Mavericks broadcaster Derek Harper, “It is hard as hell to repeat. Nearly impossible.”
In gambling terms it’s like being up a million dollars and continuing to play because you think you are going to double your money. For future reference, if you are ever up a million in Vegas, grab your stuff and head to the cashier’s window.
Mark Cuban isn’t a passive proprietor. He is the cashier window. He isn’t mailing anything in. Ever. However, he isn’t an omnipotent almighty Nostradamus either. Who is? No one can predict the many pitfalls that lay in wait during an NBA season. Injuries, unwilling talent, false promises, unveiled weaknesses are all things that you don’t know until you know. And at that point you have no choice but to live with them.
Mark Cuban on the Mavericks upcoming season: “If we stay healthy, I think we can have a good team. How good? I don’t make predictions. I do believe that by having a core of players that we can grow and develop with, and cap room in the upcoming season and what we feel is the ability to develop and improve the performance of our players, we are in a good position for this year and for the future. We have been hurt by not having a core of players in place that free agents see as teammates they want to play with. That shouldn’t be the case next year.”
Mark Cuban is an entertainer. He is the Ring Master to a basketball team that throws at least 45 parties a year at the American Airlines Center. With a lot of hard work and extreme amounts of luck, as many as 16 more games can be added to the yearly slate. That’s the goal at least. Win or lose, there is an awesome time to be had at Mavericks games. Of course, winning is way better than losing.
Like he said, Mark Cuban doesn’t make predictions or guarantee wins. What he does promise is that you are going to have a blast at games. A party that you will never forget.
More like a roller coaster ride if you ask me. A journey with drops, upset stomachs, climbs, descents, twists, turns, exhilaration, butterflies and then some. At times it can be extremely uncomfortable.
But as Coach Carlisle says, “Embrace the feeling of uncomfortableness. It’s healthy. It’s an adrenaline rush!”
Tipoff is right around the corner.