It has finally happened. The Mavericks have devolved into the selfish, playing-to-catch-the-eye-of-their-new-team group of future free agents that we feared they might. Even the mighty Rick Carlisle cannot hold a group together when each individual is faced with missing the playoffs, and the uncertainty of their next NBA check.
Mike James is the worst offender, taking 14 shots in the loss to the Brooklyn Nets. James is taking 8.6 shots per game in just over 20 minutes per game in the last 11 games. If you go back and watch the last three games in particular, all of the times that Dirk has been frozen out, James has been putting up shots like it’s 2005. It isn’t his fault – James wasn’t a true point guard when he was a good basketball player – it’s unfair to ask him to be one now that he is a poor player.
Other Mavs who have begun to play more selfishly: Darren Collison and Chris Kaman. Can you blame them? They are also the two players least likely to be back on the Mavericks roster in 2014.
Dirk Nowitzki is shooting the ball with a 76 percent rate of success the last three games, but the “me-first” approach of other Mavs has allowed him just 31 total shots in those games. The vast majority of those shots have come early in the game when Carlisle still has some control of the offense. As time passes in these games, guys who know they are not coming back are forcing up shots in order to inflate numbers and open their off-season options.
The Mavericks have 14 games left, and if the last three games are any indication, Dallas’ basketball team not only miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, they will also have giant ugly beards to show for it.