Mark Cuban is at it again. This time the Dallas Mavericks’ owner has his sites set on the rival, Los Angeles Lakers, and the moves they have made this summer.
Cuban addresses the Lakers additions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, stating that “The Lakers have done this before. Gary Payton and Karl Malone and Kobe and Shaq were all together, and it didn’t work,”
Mark refers to the Lakers experiment with Malone and Payton back in the 2003-04 season, in which the Lakers made it to the NBA Finals, but were defeated 4-1 at the hands of the Detroit Pistons. The clear difference here is Dwight Howard. Howard is merely 26 years old, while Malone was 40 during that season (Malone’s 19th) spent with the Lakers.
I also believe Cuban underestimates the defensive presence that Dwight Howard will supply the already skilled Lakers’ roster. Howard’s inside presence will boost the entire team and force teams to shoot more outside shots. If healthy, Dwight will create a defensive environment unlike any that Nash or Pau Gasol have ever know.
Another key piece Cuban seems to be overlooking is that of newly acquired 6th man, and more importantly, the Lakers way to finally fill the void left by Lamar Odom, by adding veteran scorer, Antawn Jamison. Jamison spreads the floor with his outside shooting and will score inside as well. He also adds another rebounder to this already large group. Antawn averages 7.9 boards for his career and will add a dynamic scorer off the bench for a group who struggled without starters on the floor last season.
Cuban also talks about the possibility of the Lakers lacking chemistry, which seems like it may be the most plausible beef to have about this squad. He also seems to take a subtle jab at Dwight Howard’s ever-looming status of “do I really want to be a Laker or not”, saying. “It takes great chemistry. … It takes guys wanting to be there. I don’t know if all their guys want to be there.”
“It’s going to be interesting,” Cuban continued. “Look, they’re going to have a great team, but I remember when we made our run, we weren’t supposed to win any series. Remember the Lakers were the defending champs, and we swept them and they had everybody back.
“A lot of teams do a great job of winning the summer, but I never get so antsy about what happens over the summer. I just want to know what happens during the season. As long as we keep on getting better and we’re healthy going into the playoffs, then anything can happen.”
I love Mark Cuban, but he’ll have to let go of the fact that Dallas won the title two seasons ago and start to re-build his Mavericks’ squad back into a contender. The current state of the Mavs is not that of a team who even looks like they can hang with the Grizzlies in a seven-game series, let alone a projected powerhouse like the Lakers.
“I never get too excited about what teams do on paper,” said Cuban“It all comes down to what you do on the court, and I think we’ve put ourselves in great position to really do good things this year and I think we’ve put ourselves in position to keep our players, so when they do great things, they can all grow together. And that’s our goal.”
“Again, the Lakers will do what the Lakers do. The Nets or whoever will do what they do. But I think we’ve put ourselves in great position.”
I believe once Mark Cuban puts a better product out on the court, then the rest will just fall into place. But let’s face the facts here. The Mavericks lost Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson since winning the title in 2011. Since then,their best player, Dirk Nowitzki, has aged by two years (34 year old), they’ve brought in Chris Kamen, the aging and often-injured Elton Brand, Vince Carter’s corpse and two underachieving players in O.J. Mayo and Yi Jianlian. They’ve also added Darren Collison, who only averaged 10.3 ppg last season and seems to get lost on the court on an almost constant basis.
Sorry Mark, I’m not impressed.