Inside Report: Dallas bench the best in the NBA?
Earl K. Sneed agrees with one national NBA writer that says the Mavericks' bench is the best in the NBA.
Do the Dallas Mavericks possess the best bench in the NBA?
According to Shaun Powell of NBA.com, no team has more firepower off the bench than the Mavericks. No team.
Powell ranks the Mavericks' reserves ahead of the backups for San Antonio, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, Orlando, Houston, Boston, the L.A. Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. Here's what the national writer had to say about the Mavs' play off the pine:
Best. Bench. In basketball. In terms of talent and depth, no other team compares. It all starts with Jason Terry, always in the hunt for Sixth Man of the Year and a scorer (16.6 points) who can get you 30 points. And the drop-off from the Jet isn't steep, when you consider Jose Barea (7.6 points, 3.3 assists) and either Brendan Haywood or Tyson Chandler, whichever big man doesn't start. The Mavericks could pull five from their bench and beat Minnesota's starting five.
Powell seemingly hit the nail right on its head, noting that the 2010-11 Mavericks figure to have several scoring options on the second unit.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle would agree with Powell's assessment. Carlisle says the squad is so deep that he hasn't even settled on a starting lineup going into the start of training camp on Sept. 28.
"There's a lot of different possibilities, obviously. We feel like we have great flexibility with the club. You know, one of the reasons you have training camp is to compete for those positions, compete for minutes. And again, I just think that our ability to use different lineups, use different combinations, is going to be a big key for us. We’re going to be able to go 10-, 12-deep. I have no question about that," Carlisle said.
With Terry expected to return to his 2009 form -- the year that brought Six Man of the Year hardware his way -- and a starting-caliber center like Chandler coming to Big D likely as a backup behind Haywood, the Mavericks will have a go-to scorer on the perimeter and a legit 7-footer patrolling the paint for the second string.
Throw in the scoring and play-making of Barea, a defensive-stopper like DeShawn Stevenson, an inside-outside big man in Tim Thomas and depending on how Carlisle decides to use the explosive Roddy Beaubois (who Powell left off in his accurate yet incomplete description of the Mavericks' subs), and the Dallas bench will in fact have a bevy of offensive sharpshooters and defensive gems.
All that, and no one has seen what rookie Dominique Jones can do at the pro level.
But what can a strong bench do to help the Mavericks compete for the ultimate prize, the Larry O'Brien trophy -- also known as the golden ball?
Last season, Carlisle said the Mavericks struggled to have both the first-stringers and the key bench contributors playing well as the same time.
"We want to get everybody playing well," Carlisle said last season. "The fact is, there are going to be nights when guys have some struggles. That's why you have a team, so you can try to find other guys who can help.
"Our first unit, a lot of it, we've got to be efficient, move and screen well. That's a group that plays a lot of basketball off the flow, not a lot of play-calling. The recognition of one another has to be really good. (The bench) played some really fine basketball in some instances. We can do it, we just have to work to do it."
And if the Mavericks, and their top-tier bench, can come together and execute in all facets of the game, then that golden ball may just be at the end of the rainbow.
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