It has only been two days since the Dallas Mavericks eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in rather dramatic fashion. And there is much to discuss. So here, in no particular order, are my thoughts on the recent Maverick news.
Congrats to Tyson Chandler for being named to the NBA all-defensive team on the second squad. This is further proof that the Mavs have significantly improved their defense this season. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that Chandler is the first Maverick to win such an honor since Derek Harper in 1990.
Quite a media firestorm erupted today after practice when coach Rick Carlisle mentioned that Caron Butler was dunking, but no timetable has been set for his return. This, after GM Donnie Nelson had said prior to the Lakers series, that is was nearly impossible that Butler would return at all this season. I would love to see Butler make it back into the lineup. Even with limited minutes, he would give the team an emotional boost while creating another problem for opposing defenses.
But his return should only take place if Butler is 100% recovered. He is too talented and too important to risk further injury. Too rush him back, especially when the team is playing well without him, would just be foolish. Management needs to be careful with him, but if he is healthy, let him play!
Lastly, it was announced that Andrew Bynum would be suspended for the first 5 games of next season (if there is a next season) and fined $25,ooo for his actions in Game 4. Bynum, to his credit, has apologized to J.J. Barea for his cheap shot. Personally I think Bynum got off easy. He should have been suspended at least 10 games for such a blatant and dangerous foul. Thankfully Barea was not seriously injured or the Mavs chances would have been seriously compromised. Barea is a key player off the bench, providing quality minutes and production, while Jason Kidd rests up on the bench. To lose him would have forced Carlisle to play Roddy Beaubois, something that Carlisle refused to do, even in a blowout.
For now the Mavs continue to be in a waiting mode. The series between the Thunder and Grizzlies is tied at 2. The best thing for the Mavs is to see that series go 7 games, wearing each other out before the winner heads to Big D for the Western Conference Finals. I have a feeling the Grizz will win the series but I would not be surprised either way.