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Thoughts On The Mavericks Preseason Opener

The Mavericks opened up the preseason with a 106-92 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Mavericks were without Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Brandon Wright. Nowitzki and Kidd were rested while Wright was inactive due to illness. All three should be available for Tuesday night's game against the Thunder.  

That meant the Mavericks starters were Delonte West, Vince Carter, Lamar Odom, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood. As expected, it was sloppy game but here are some thoughts on the new look Mavericks.

Delonte West: West definitely showed his rust in the first half. He went 0-4 from the field and his shots were all short which indicates that his legs weren't there early on.  On defense, he was as good as advertised. He was able to stay in front of Westbrook and harass him around the perimeter. But he also committed four fouls in the first half. He was able to command the point guard position and ran the offense well, contributing five assists. West's role on this team is defense and backup point and he showed he was capable of handling both duties on Sunday.

Vince Carter:  As with West, Carter lacked a bit in his game. He was constantly attacking the basket but had little end product.  He was able to finish a little more consistently in the second half and even showcased his trademark hops by driving down the lane and finishing with a dunk.  But again, he was extremely rusty. His defense was non-existent but the Mavericks knew what they were getting when they signed him.

Lamar Odom: Odom showed what he can bring to this Mavericks team. He finished by driving to the basket, drew an offensive foul on Durant and even mixed in a few threes. His defense was equally impressive, his length helped on the boards, his rotation was excellent and his strength in one on one situation's was vital. He's the most versatile player in the NBA and seeing him next to Dirk Nowitzki is a tantalizing prospect this season.  

Rodrigue Beaubois:  Beaubois was healthy! And when Roddy's healthy he can light it up on the offensive end. He finished the game with 17 points on 7-13 shooting.  He hit a few threes, finished at the basket and ran the break beautifully a couple of times even finishing with a behind the back pass to Randle on one occasion.  A majority of his time on the floor came at the shooting guard position much to my disappoint but with West in the fold and Jerome Randle making a case for a roster spot, it's understandable.   

Ian Mahinmi: Mahinmi had an up and down game. He made a couple of strong moves on the offensive end that ended with baskets and even flashed the jumpshot Mavs fan's fondly remember from game six of the finals. But he reverted back to his old habits in the second half. He committed silly fouls and his defense throughout the game was suspect. It makes me very uncomfortable heading into the season with him entrenched as the backup center. The Mavericks desperately need frontcourt depth. It will be interesting to see what Brandon Wright brings to the table on Tuesday.

Dominique Jones:  Jones was the star of the night for the Mavericks matching Beaubois 17 points but added seven assists. He was aggressive driving to the basket and was able to draw contact and get to the line nine times throughout the game, converting eight of them. The knock on him has been his jumpshot and it was apparent that he still has work to do on that front. He showed great court awareness  on the floor and while most of his assists came as a result of the drive and kick out, he was also able to find the open man in the half court and had a beautiful outlet pass to Beaubois on the break that resulted in a layup.

Jerome Randle: Randle just might make this roster.  He was in control at the helm of this team and his court vision was excellent.  While he only tallied two assists he often made the "hockey pass" or the pass that leads to the assist.  On one particular occasion, he was surrounded at the three point line and was able to find Mahinmi under the basket by threading the needle with a nice bounce pass. I'm rooting for him. His speed could be an asset to this team and just in general it would be nice to have another young player at the end of the bench after the departures of Brewer and Fernandez.

We should get a better grasp for this team's rotations come Tuesday but it was just nice to see the Mavericks back on the floor again for one night.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.