Monday, February 28, 2005

Marquis and Josh

I do not claim to be any sort of NBA Personnel expert, largely because the NBA draft has turned into an enormous waste of everyone’s time since the event became to be dominated by the European and the High Schooler about a decade ago. Now, on draft night, I know as much about the NBA draft players as I might know about the Major League Baseball draft – the top 3 or 4 players, maybe, but after that? Just many anonymous faces, some of which will develop into stars in the future, and others who have their name called that day, and that is the pinnacle of their major league career.

Just look at some of the fine names that the Mavericks have snagged on draft night that amounted to just a little less than a hill of beans. Leon Smith in 1999 turned out to be a terribly troubled teenager who never even put on a Mavericks uniform. In 2000, the Mavs grabbed Etan Thomas (who also never played a second with the Mavs) and Courtney Alexander and ended up trading both of them for Juwan Howard, and his perfectly manicured goatee later that season. In 2001, it was Kyle Hill and Kenny Satterfield in the second round, and honestly I could not pick either one of them out of a line-up. Needless to say, the laundry at Mavericks Headquarters never required that they get acquainted with the spelling of either player’s last name. And then in 2002, it was another European special, Mladen Sekularac. Chances are he is playing somewhere right now where English is not spoken, and will likely never see Reunion Tower in person. After the exciting run of Antoine Rigaudeau, we await with much excitement for the arrival of Sekularac. Not.

Which brings us to 2003. Remember, at this time, that the Mavericks were loaded. They were coming off a run to the Western Conference Finals, and had a team that they thought was ready to win a title. I am not even sure I spent any time prepping for the 2003 draft because it seemed painfully obvious that the Mavericks had no plan whatsoever to do anything but duplicate 2001 or 2002, and get on with the regular season.

Boy, was I wrong. There is no question that 2003 will long be remembered as the draft that brought the league Lebron James. He may turn into the finest player since MJ, and honestly, who knows how good that kid will ultimately be. Also, let’s not underestimate the arrivals of Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade. Three All-Star caliber players in the first 5 picks certainly suggest that this draft will stand up historically. But much like most other drafts of this era, after the top 5, the talent drops considerably.

Until, Donnie Nelson steps to the podium. In 2003, he drafted Josh Howard, a key player to this current Mavericks team, with the final pick of the first round. Howard has developed quickly into one of the most important players not named Dirk on the team. In fact, some nights, he would qualify as the 2nd most important Maverick.

Yet, Nelson was able to snag him long after other teams grabbed future CBA stars like Travis Outlaw, Ndudi Ebi, and Kendrick Perkins. Howard now is as tenacious a defender as there is in this draft class, and also has developed a fine complimentary offensive game. Who knew, right?

Well, perhaps everyone should have known after he was named the first unanimous ACC player of the year since David Thompson in 1975. The ACC is a pretty fair basketball conference in the college ranks. Howard dominated it, and through all of that, 28 teams passed on him, in some cases taking players who had been so-so players in Europe.

The Mavericks were smart enough to snap a player up who fell in their laps. We will give them credit for Howard, but only the basketball gods can take credit for Marquis Daniels ending up here. The second and final round of the draft was winding down and the Mavericks were on the clock with the 57th pick of a 58 pick draft. They decided to take a Chinese prospect for the Denver Nuggets, named Xue Yuyang. Luckily, Detroit took someone from Greece (Andreas Glyniadakis) and Daniels was never picked at all.

Soon after the draft, the Mavericks placed a call to Daniels, and convinced him to come to Dallas to try and make the team. Remember when I said that some nights in 2005, people think Howard is second-to-Dirk? Well, those other nights, many suggest it is Marquis.

He was an All-SEC player, and along with Howard, has brought a defensive ability that makes you think this Mavericks team has completely over-hauled its personnel and addressed its biggest need. And yet, it cost them almost nothing. A late-first round pick, and a rookie free agent are now Howard and Daniels, two similar, yet strikingly different players that now could be the second and third most valuable players on this team.

Sure, they have some deficiencies. For one thing, they both could create their own offense better. For another, they could both be a bit more durable. But, to imagine that draft night 2003 turned out to take this Mavericks team to the next level for years to come is quite a GM’s fantasy.

Now, because of a goofy contract rule, Daniels has already been rewarded with a $37 million dollar contract. Meanwhile, Howard is making less than $800,000. That’s right, the guy who wasn’t drafted gets paid almost 10 times what the first rounder gets. But despite their differences in paychecks (for now) they share the burden of helping Nowitzki take this team to the next level this spring.

I am guessing the league no longer underestimates these two…


Jen Floyd’s Cowboys Wishlist ….

In New York, they fear that Parcells will snap up Jason Ferguson

Privately, however, there's growing concern in the organization that Ferguson will hit the free-agency market and be swooped up by the Cowboys and coach Bill Parcells, who drafted Ferguson in 1997 and shares the same agent with the player, Jimmy Sexton.
"The Jets aren't getting anywhere with that agent (Sexton)," someone with knowledge of the situation said yesterday. "They think (Sexton) might have something lined up with Parcells. They're getting a little nervous."

Ferguson, 30, is coming off a career year and figures to be in demand as several teams are planning to employ a 3-4 defense either full-time or part-time next season. In addition to Dallas, the Browns, Broncos and 49ers are among the teams considering a switch to the alignment, and new Browns coach Romeo Crennel coached Ferguson for three seasons with the Jets.

Somehow, the Redskins never run out of cap space: Samari Rolle is next?

Packers brace for mass exodus …Strug-gel-ling…

Clarett tanks at combine

Biffle wins in California

No way! A Southern California Sporting Event didn’t sell out?

There were some empty seats Sunday, certainly more than California Speedway and NASCAR certainly would have liked to see. But again, it's just not right to gauge the ultimate effectiveness of this bit of schedule realignment on one instance. If next year's race doesn't sell out, then it will be a legitimate issue.

Must Read: Mahay paying price for crossing the line …Kenny Rogers seems pretty sorry to me…

2003 NBA Draft …Scroll through and marvel at all of the players taken before Josh Howard and Marquis Daniels (although I think Cleveland did well with the #1 pick)…

Lebreton wonders about the KVH trade

Carling Cup Final: Chelsea 3, Liverpool 2

Chelsea's Manager Jose Mourinho (above) ejected for inciting the crowd …And keep in mind, he is a manager…Imagine the stories if Randy Moss had been the Vikings coach when he gestured to the crowd…

Email of the Day:

I believe this is the Kansas City Outlaws but I could be wrong.
Anyways, I'm pretty sure I'd ask to be traded.


Wow, I don’t know what team that really is, but that has to be the most ridiculous hockey sweater I have ever seen. And you know, I believe I can safely suggest the most ridiculous I will ever see. Look how defeated the players look…


Patrick said...

I think that the horrible sweaters belong to the Quad City Mallards. If you blow up the guy with the big blue "J" on his chest, you can barely make out:


Their logo is on their web site

So California seats 92,000 and there were empty seats. Texas Motor Speedway has that many for Busch races. And they were given a second race date exactly why?

X-factor said...

hahaha...those uniforms are hilarious!