Preseason Game 2:
Mavericks (0-0) vs. Wizards (1-0)
Before we get to the game thread, here are a couple additional links, and some belated Etan thoughts:
First, the links.
- John Mitchell jumps on his soapbox and rambles about "perspective" in questions asked to Etan Thomas. I'm not going to say that Mitchell is wrong--in fact, I think he's right--but this is not the proper use of a newspaper blog. Writing in a blog doesn't give the reporter the right to throw in his two cents on every issue, much less criticize all those around him. The whole purpose is to relay updates on the team you cover faster than you could in the print edition. Thus far, Mitchell has said he's sure Gilbert's going to opt out, called John Hollinger "stupid and outlandish" without even bothering to understand his point, and now this. Mitchell should take a lesson from Ivan Carter about how to run a good newspaper blog.
- Speaking of Carter, Wizznutzz is striving to give him and Michael Lee nicknames. Personally, I like Michael "Stagga Lee" best. Wizznutzz also presents a history of Gilbert Arenas cheating at video games.
- SLAM Online previews the Wiz, and says the key is for Gilbert Arenas to become "a rock" like Caron and Antawn. This preview thinks Tom Thibodeau is still with the team, though, so I'm not sure how seriously I can take it.
As for Etan, ESPN is now saying he could very well be back this season. The doctor is quoted as saying it could be as little as two months, though I severely doubt that happens. Either way, he's not going to play for a while.
Looking at the initial reactions here, it seems most people think that while it sucks to not have Etan, this will work out well because it'll give Blatche an opportunity to play real minutes, which I do agree with. Truthfully, I think the fact that Etan played more than Haywood was one of the biggest obstacles to our defense improving, and that should hopefully go away, especially if Blatche continues to impress.
One thing that worries me, however, is something Jake hinted at. If used correctly (read: never), Etan did provide a decent post presence for the second unit. Eddie Jordan never utilized him in this way, but it was nice to be able to give the defense a different look. Now, however, that ability is gone. The only player on the entire team with post-up capabilities is Antawn Jamison, and with Arenas and Butler back healthy, I'm not sure it's wise to use Antawn that way. Blatche and Pech are tall, but neither is a back to the basket guy. Assuming we use our second unit more, how is anyone going to score? We can't run the AD/Songaila screen and roll every single play, can we?
The thing is, while it's not essential for this team to have a dominant post player, it's nice to have someone to throw the ball to in there. Thomas, if used correctly, would have been that guy, and now, he's gone. I'm worried that we're going to try to use Haywood as that post guy now, and when he struggles, Eddie will give him the quick hook again.
The other thing we lose is our best rebounder. Etan had the highest rebound rate on the team last season, which makes you wonder why he wasn't paired with a guy like Haywood who prevents misses. It seems obvious to me that the best way to improve defensively is to pair the guy who's best at forcing misses with the one who's best at collecting them. But I digress. The hope is that more playing time for Blatche will help on the glass, and I think that's definitely true, but there's still nobody who battles in the trenches like Etan. Haywood's going to have to step up in that regard.
As far as getting another big man, there's literally nobody there, so I'm not too worried. My guess is the team will wait until players are cut and scoop one of them up. Might I suggest Pops Mensah-Bonsu or James Lang?
Okay, game thread time. This is an open game thread, so in honor of Dirk Nowitzki coming to town, list your favorite (or least favorite) David Hasselhoff tunes here.