By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
More traditional and defensive-minded coach Avery Johnson is certainly counting on the 30-year-old Dampier, but the team's culture and identity will be drastically different from when Nellie constantly tinkered with creative ploys for David to outrun Goliath.
Over the last 25 years there's no doubt the Mavericks have the NBA's fewest post-up points. Instead of its first option, passing to a center has always been Dallas' last gasp. But under Johnson's slower tempo, low-block points from Dirk and Damp are a vital part of the equation.
"I'm more comfortable now because Avery's played with big men, and he knows how to use big men," Dampier said. "At the same time, I know I'm not the focal point of the offense."
But starting with Saturday's home opener against the defending champion Spurs, Dampier promises a harder body, softer hands and, gulp, elite results.
"Being an All-Star is definitely a goal, and it's realistic if I play the way I'm capable," Dampier said. "But if not, it won't be the end of the world."
Just the start of more shit from Shaq.