In front of the Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz I exchanged pleasantries and questions with Rami Michail.
Rami is a Dallas Mavericks and NBA fan located in the cross-section of Laker Nation and Lob City. He’s still learning the ropes of this writing thing. You can find him at TheSmokingCuban.com, MavsMoneyBall.com, and Crabdribbles.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @RamiMichail, but you’ll probably regret it.
Author note: You won’t regret it
Purple and Blues: What’s going on with Jose Calderon’s assists? He’s typically among the NBA leaders in the category but is averaging the lowest assists per game since his rookie season.
Rami Michail: While it’s abnormal he’s averaging below five assists a game, it shouldn’t be alarming or come as a shocker. Rick Carlisle has used him the same way Spain’s National Team did alongside Ricky Rubio — off the ball to spread the court with his deadly 3-pt shooting — With Monta Ellis dominating the ball.
He also finds himself starting with Shawn Marion and Samuel Dalembert, who aren’t exactly the best targets to tally assists due to them being best suited to score around the basket. Along with Ellis, the Mavericks also deploy Devin Harris and Vince Carter, who are used as ball handlers in the pick-n-roll. It’s evident that the Mavericks cherish his ability to knock down the 3-ball. I, for one, don’t blame them.
PnB: Is Rick Carlisle safe to remain the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks? For how long?
RM: Hard to imagine the Mavericks without Carlisle on the sideline. He is, of course, the coach who led them to their first and only championship to this point. Even with the Mavericks missing the playoffs last season and struggling to get in this, what Carlisle has done is impressive. Leading a team to 41 wins last season, a team who were without their star for almost 30 games and a roster consisting of one-year deals is no easy task.
This season he’s been able to turn the inefficient shucking Ellis into one of the best guards at getting to the basket, which results in higher percentage shots for himself and his teammates. Let’s not forget he has them in the playoff conversation in the stacked West.
When the time finally comes for Dirk Nowitzki to hang it up, that may also be the last of Carlisle. Carlisle hasn’t exactly been the greatest with rookies and young players, so a new face to a new era would probably be best for both sides.
PnB: With what the Mavs and their opponents have left on the schedule, how confident are you that they’ll see the 2013-14 NBA postseason?
RM: The Mavericks have put themselves in a great position to determine their own fate. To make it better, two of their final games are against their competitors (Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies).
After missing out on the playoffs last season, I won’t bet against Nowitzki this time around. He’s been in playoff form recently, and I can’t see him allowing his team to falter. Barring a meltdown, the Mavericks will be in the playoffs.
PnB: Should your boys falter, who would you most like to see in their stead?
RM: I do expect the Mavericks to make the playoffs, but if I had to choose for which other team, it would have to be the Suns. The Suns are a young and exciting team. Not sure they can keep up with the San Antonio Spurs, but it would be an entertaining series.
It’s tough to see the Mavericks getting out of the first round. With that being the case, I’ll just be rooting for some great basketball and series. No doubt the West will be a dogfight, and I’m hoping for the same from the East.
PnB: Mark Cuban. Donald Trump. The Billionaire Troll Club are actively taking swings at each other on Twitter, and it’s high comedy and entertainment. Any thoughts on the jabs?
RM: I haven’t seen much of this. Probably due to me not following Trump on Twitter. I’m sure it’s just two guys with looooots of money who are just having fun — how often can we get in arguments with FELLOW BILLIONAIRES!? I know I haven’t had that luxury, but if I did, whew, I’d be hollering at Trump and his hair too!
PnB: All I know for sure is…
Clint also answered some questions for TheSmokingCuban:
TSC: How would you grade Tyrone Corbin’s coaching this season with this young squad? Do you believe he is the right coach for this team?
CP: As with every season he’s been the head coach, Ty Corbin has been in a unique, unwinnable situation. It’s difficult to grade him fairly, but I believe he’s brought along the young players admirably while at the same time helping to resurrect the careers of throwaways like Marvin Williams and Richard Jefferson.
What I believe matters little, when it comes to whether or not he’s the right man for the job. What I do believe is that Ty Corbin will be snapped up very quickly as an assistant on a top team this summer…