Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attention Sports Fans: Avoid Cliches Like the Plague

It’s hard to argue too much with the success of the Dallas Mavericks over the last decade, although until 2011 we certainly saw a lot of goodness rather than greatness.   The championship seemed to turn on the light of hope that Dallas might be moving into the elite category of teams such as the Spurs.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way due to interest in the future free agent market and many are finding themselves realizing that hindsight is 20/20.  However for some of us, this old adage is not the cliché’ that stands out the most, as the course Mark Cuban and the team chose to take brings up at least two other time-tested truths that should have been followed:

#1:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  

Since when does a championship team, albeit an aging one, merit rebuilding?  Doesn’t that usually happen after there is some sort of decline?   A championship team is not just personnel –  it is a team that has chemistry making it greater than the sum of its parts…which means, assembling another group of comparable talent is no guarantee of success.

Dirk is not young but he is still playing at an MVP level and even in 2011-2012 the only downside was due to injuries.  Arguably the second most important cog in the wheel, Tyson Chandler,  was only 28 last summer.  In fact, of the most important members of the team, only Jason Kidd has shown a significant decline in production.   One would assume a solid basketball operation could not only win another championship but continue to find good veterans and draft picks year after year to keep the franchise playing at a high level without having to dump half the team chasing the two biggest free agents everyone else wants too.

Which leads me to #2 :  A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Quality big men are a rare commodity in this day and age and along with the reasons listed above, Tyson Chandler in particular stands out as someone you don’t let walk, particularly from a team historically devoid of even passable centers.   Defensively he is on par with Dwight Howard and while he is not as strong offensively, he is certainly solid.  Perhaps more importantly, his enthusiasm and attitude are a huge plus for any team.  Contrast that with Dwight - often regarded as selfish and a drama queen.  

Deshawn Stevenson and JJ Barea similarly brought intangibles to the team that can’t be easily replaced and even Caron Butler, though not a part of the championship run, was the Mavs’ second leading scorer prior to his injury and proceeded to score even more this season with two primary scoring options ahead of him in L.A.

Overall when you have this type of team at the pinnacle of success and a strong possibility of a repeat, throwing it away on a pipe dream of obtaining the market’s two most coveted free agents doesn’t strike me as being necessary or even good planning for the future.  The competition for signing superstars in fierce and while the chances of nabbing Deron Williams are decent it is certainly not a lock.  Meanwhile,  Dwight Howard spent the season throwing his team into emotional turmoil and ended up injured with a herniated disc, which is no small problem in the long term.   Trust me --  I have 3 of them. 

While some of the stop-gaps worked out reasonably well (Delonte West, Vince Carter) we all know the big #FAIL that no one could have imagined; however the type of anomaly that is Lamar Odom is exactly why this adage applies.  The Mavs gambled and lost.

Even now the Mavericks would do well to what can bring success without bolstering one position at the expense of every other.  The CBA will come around to bite everyone in the league sooner or later and well…I suppose patience will have to be a virtue.

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