The Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban have had another disappointing offseason. They failed to get Deron Williams last year or Dwight Howard this offseason. That forced the Mavs to scramble to put together a squad.
They’ve added guards Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis as well as center Samuel Dalembert. Not exactly the line up they’ve had in mind. That has the local media criticizing the Mavs offseason moves and 2013-14 line up.
“If there’s one missing piece between what everyone is saying and what we’re doing, everybody, I think, has dismissed Dirk — like Dirk is done and he’s on the downside and he can’t play anymore and he’s not the type of contributor that he was,” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Galloway and Company.
“If you look at the mess that we had in terms of our guard play and basketball IQ, when Dirk came back and really got into gear, we beat a lot of good teams. I think we were at a 48- or 50-win clip. You put a much better set of players around him, and Dirk is in a situation where he doesn’t have to rush back. He’s had all summer to prepare his body and get ready.”
Dirk has had a stellar career in Dallas since coming to the franchise in 1999-98. He’s been to two finals, winning a NBA Title once and a NBA Finals MVP to boot. He also was a regular season MVP and was an All-Star for 11 consecutive seasons.
“Knock on wood, if we stay healthy, I think people are just missing Dirk in ways they shouldn’t,” Cuban said. “Like I’ve been telling him, Karl Malone won an MVP at 35 and there’s no reason why he can’t be considered in an MVP conversation at 35.
“I can also tell you, the way people are just randomly dismissing him as being done has been incredible motivation for him as well.”
The key to the Mavericks future success, and Dirk’s for that matter, is point guard Jose Calderon according to Cuban.
“Look, the missing piece is everybody is dismissing Dirk,” Cuban said. “Everybody thinks Dirk is done. Maybe he can’t put up 30 a night. Maybe he’s not going to go for 50 when he wants to. He’s not going to have those Dirk vs. Tracy McGrady type battles, but he’s still going to demand a double team. He’s still going to be a guy we can go to get a bucket at the end of a game. Dirk is still going to be a guy that will get you buckets when you need them.
“Now, we’ve added someone who can run a pick-and-roll with him and knows how to run it and knows how to use a screen.”
But Cuban is standing by his guy.
“Maybe Dirk won’t win an MVP,” Cuban said. “But trust me, Dirk can still play.”