Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
With the All-Star break upon us, it’s time to see who wins these incredibly “prestigious” awards I have handed out to our very own Dallas Maverick’s players.
MVP: It’s not a difficult choice for the Dallas Mavericks MVP at this point. Dirk Nowitzki has come out strong this season, averaging 21.7 points per game.He obviously is this team’s leader and whenever he takes a breather during the game the offense is usually stagnant with no mid range shooting threat on the floor. For someone to put any other player in this category for the Mavs would just be wrong.
Most Improved Player: It was a tough choice deciding between Brandon Wright or Monta Ellis for me. However, with all of the skepticism about the unpredictability of Monta Ellis, he really has fit in with this Dallas squad and has become a much more efficient basketball player. Last year for the Bucks, Monta Ellis shot an unacceptable 41.6% from the field. By running the Mavs pick and roll offense and getting some transition buckets he has raised his shooting percentage to 46.1% and is the team’s second leading scorer. He has shown on offense that he can be a team’s number two option.
Biggest Surprise: My biggest surprise of the season came down between DeJuan Blair and Brandon Wright. Based on the overall impact he makes while on the floor, I have chosen Brandon Wright. He’s always been a freak athlete that can jump with some of the best in the NBA. He has shown that he can stand his own down low and play a little defense. Wright is awesome in the pick and roll with his speed and ability to finish around the rim. I expect to see Wright get a much larger workload in the second half of the season, get his stats up, and really become a force for this Mavs team.
The Defensive X-Factor: At times this year the Mavs defense has really been nonexistent. However, in this recent run we have had leading up to the All-Star break, we have shown the capability of actually standing between the person with the ball and the basket. The X-Factor on defense for this team is, without a doubt, Shawn Marion. In the last game heading into the All Star break the Mavs captured their biggest win of the year by beating the Indiana in Indiana. Paul George, arguably a top 5 player in the NBA, was held by The Matrix to 4 of 17 shooting and only 12 points. I know you’re used to seeing that kind of shooting percentage from Carmelo Anthony but Marion held George to that bad of a night.
The “You Need to Step It Up” Player so Far: Samuel Dalembert is so stinking frustrating as a fan to watch. Against the Clippers he had 20 points and 7 boards. Facing the Cavs he had 18 points and 8 rebounds. In these two games he was the force at center that this team desperately needs with Dirk at power forward. Unfortunately, this Samuel Dalembert doesn’t show up very often and normally we are stuck with a non emotional slow-moving Dalembert that is never in the correct position and not making an impact. Check the Mavericks-Bobcats game and see how badly he was dominated against Al Jefferson if you need proof.
Best Group of Players: The Mavs bench has really been great this year. I was going to only choose one bench player to acknowledge but I just couldn’t. The bull-dog of a man DeJuan Blair, despite his height, comes in full of energy and at times this year has really energized this Mavs bench. Even at 37, Vince Carter is a scorer that opposing defenses must watch for. I’ve already discussed Brandon Wright, but lastly I want to recognize Devin Harris. Harris has shown explosive offense and even occasionally some defense. Look for him to be a huge impact on this team if he can stay HEALTHY. The bench seemingly out scores the opposing bench night in and night out. It’s really a great luxury to not slip on offense while giving a few guys some breathers.
Most Disappointing Player: Jae Crowder. What exactly does he do? I love the effort and energy he brings to each game but he just doesn’t get it done at small forward. He has okay defense but can’t slash to the basket or shoot the three ball. I’m sorry I like the person that Jae is, but can’t seem to find the potential. Hopefully, Crowder proves me wrong in the second half of the year and becomes an asset. Sadly, I’m not crossing my fingers.