The 2012 Dallas Mavericks: 33 Storylines from 33 Games

A (Wait, It's Already Midseason?) Midseason Report

11 God Bless the Matrix. Shawn Marion was one of the few Mavs who actually seemed ready to begin the NBA season on opening night — Remember that? That blowout loss to the Miami Heat you tried to forget about? — and he hasn't been anything less than productive since. His sneaky offensive game and rebounding skills have a way of floating in the background, but his defense has been at the forefront of each of the Mavs' big wins. His ability to guard players of virtually every position, size and type has been a revelation; we all knew Marion was versatile, but the fact that he's able to defend speedsters like the Clippers' Chris Paul and the Nuggets' Ty Lawson — both point guards, mind you — has been extraordinary. And that beautiful jump shot!

12 Practice Makes Perfect; No Practice Makes Ugly. We all knew that a lockout-shortened season would make scheduling a bit hectic, but few basketball fans seem to grasp just how much a strain this pace puts on teams. It's not an exaggeration to say that there is virtually no practice time; an unusually light stretch might see a team squeeze in a few full practices here and there, but it's not unusual to see teams go weeks without practicing. Teams still have film sessions and "shootarounds," but the league-wide lack of practice time has done noticeable damage to the basketball. The NBA is still as dramatic and charismatic as ever. It's just a little uglier.

13 Although Sometimes Practice Isn't Necessary. Before every game, Haywood can be seen rehearsing an array of hook shots and jumpers in anticipation of situations that will never come. You have to admire his ambition, I suppose.

Mark Poutenis

14 Tyson Who? For all of the talk of how much the Mavs would miss center Tyson Chandler, the bigs on the roster have managed to recreate Chandler's impact by committee. Haywood's not as dynamic on defensive, but he's long, active and mobile. Like Chandler, Mahinmi scraps for offensive rebounds and cuts through the lane for finishes around the basket. And 24-year-old Wright brings the vertical extension that stretches the court into three dimensions — the potential for lobs and high-flying dunks that capitalize on the mortal, floor-bound nature of most defenders. The alley-oops, the strong finishes, the aggressive defense — it's all there, even though Chandler isn't.

15 Jason Kidd is Getting Old. Kidd is almost 39, and his fight against Father Time has been admirable. How many NBA geezers could defend Kobe Bryant down the stretch of a crucial playoff series? Or Kevin Durant? Or LeBron James? Or Dwyane Wade? Kidd drew all those assignments during the Mavs' title run, despite the fact that his first NBA season coincided with Durant's graduation from kindergarten.

But let's be honest: Kidd takes a more conservative role on offense with each passing season. He still flashes impossible court vision at times, and he can still keep the trains running on time. But he largely floats around the perimeter these days, and very occasionally goes to work against a smaller guard in the post.

You can't help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end. If he starts blaming his third-quarter slides on his growing prostate or trying to change the channel on the scoreboard with his cell phone, we'll know there's a problem.

16 Let This be Known as the Year of Lobbying. Despite his disappointing start, Nowitzki made the All-Star team as a reserve, thanks to Carlisle's hounding of his fellow coaches. And owner Mark Cuban is pushing hard for Marion to get some consideration as an All-Defense selection, if not the outright Defensive Player of the Year. The latter is a pipe dream, considering that Dwight Howard is still Dwight Howard, but the former could be in the cards. We'll just have to see if Cuban's stumping is as effective as Carlisle's.

17 If There is a Cult of Brian Cardinal, Please Pass the Kool-Aid.

18 More of That, Please. The signature highlight of the first half was the potential-turnover-turned-alley-oop-dunk by Brandan Wright from Jason Terry against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The stars aligned that night. Terry happened to collect the ball at just the right time. Wright was able to soar and gather a crazy lob and finish with authority. Nowitzki happened to be sitting out the game due to injury (injury, conditioning, rust — it's complicated), and he happened to be doing an on-air interview when the play went down. The resulting highlight — complete with Nowitzki's response — is worthy of immediate YouTube viewing.

19 The Mavs are the Kings of the Post. A particularly fun byproduct of the Mavs' depth: the ability to post up damn near everybody. Nowitzki is obviously a fixture on the block, Kidd occasionally looks to exploit a mismatch, and the Mavs' use of Marion as a post-up threat is nothing new. But added to that mix are Carter — who has a size advantage in seemingly every game — and Odom, both of whom are credible scorers and playmakers from the post. That diversity of post-up options makes matchup advantages a virtual guarantee. It's just a matter of finding the right victim.

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Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Nice looksie at the little Mavs. Bob or Tone should pimp it on Unfair Park..I found it on the national list.


helthy? in #8? editor, please?

spell check
spell check

#9...Here? Seriously? Does anyone edit these things?


Take it easy on Rob M's spelling, will ya?

Someone's gotta step up and do some sports in the next few months!

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

An editor, a copy editor and a proofreader, in fact. We all suck. It's fixed. My self-esteem will take a while longer to put back together.


But now that the Mavs are helthy again, Beaubois can't carve out much space for himself.