During the Mavericks new players press conference last Tuesday, everyone was looking at something different. The new alternate uniforms: thumbs up or down? Tyson Chandler: Did he look differently after three years in New York? Did he really want to come back? Chandler Parsons: Up close and oh-so-personal. Is he ready to mix-it-up defensively on the court?
The eyes of Dallas were also upon the other newbies: Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton, Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson, and Greg Smith. Are they happy to be in Dallas? Are they ready to contribute to a championship level team?
Everyone looked at something different. Me?. I wasn’t looking AT someone. I was looking FOR something.I was looking for The EDGE. No, not the former WWE wrestler. But The EDGE. Sharpness. Force. Vigor. Energy. A glint in the eye that says, “Oh, it’s going down.” I was looking to see that in the eyes of our new Mavs.
I was searching for evidence that would answer my questions: Will they come through? Do they have that spark, that glint in their collective eyes as they listened to and answered questions? Do they have that magnificent chemistry that will propel them forward? Can they and will they gel together with Dirk and the rest of the team?
Coach Rick Carlisle said he was excited about this team. We are too. Owner Mark said he’s “been trying to get these guys for a while. We don’t have big names but they will have a big impact.” We hope so. Owner Mark also said he had no prediction for the team but has a goal – a championship. We do too.
But it’s going to take The EDGE.
We know Dirk has it. He always has. Monta’s play speaks volumes. Yeah, he’s got it. A healthy Devin Harris and a focused and ballin’ Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder. Ricky Ledo all display some semblance of The EDGE.
But what about the newbies plus one oldie? Tyson Chandler has always had it. That’s why we wanted him back so bad! He said he was excited to be back and since he’s been gone “has become a better basketball player, but “wasn’t going to put any expectation on the team.” He doesn’t have to. All of Dallas already has.
Parsons said he was “working on my defensive game and learning from Tyson Chandler. “ He seemed easy-going and free. But you knew. Yeah, Parsons has that edge. Judging from the back-and-forth between him and his former teammates this summer Parsons doesn’t look like one to back down from anything. The EDGE.
Smith, who will likely back up Tyson Chandler, is coming off of knee surgery earlier this year but he’s ready to bring it. “I’ll be a banger. I’ll be that guy who is a stopper that won’t allow anything inside,” he told ESPN.com. The EDGE. He’s got it.
Nelson, who spent his entire 10-year NBA career with Orlando left with a whole host of stats to his credit, including as their all-time franchise leader in assists with 3,501, ranking second in games played (651) and filed goals attempted (7,033) and career averages of 12.6 points, 5.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals. The EDGE. He’s got it.
When Felton comes back from his four game suspension (after pleading guilty to attempted criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a firearm while in New York) he’ll be looking to regain that edge many haven’t seen since 2010-11 with the Knicks when he averaged 17 points, 9 assists and 1.8 steals for the Knicks. I”m betting he will.
And Al-Farouq Aminu definitely has The EDGE. The small forward has been the best rebounder at his position in the NBA by percentage the last two seasons, including a game against his new team when he scored 16 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. The EDGE.
A stellar season will take good defense, good scoring, having each other’s back, excellent chemistry, it’s going to take a lot. It’s going to take The EDGE. That EDGE that saw the 2011 Mavs roll from round to round in the playoffs, SWEEP, I say, SWEEP the Lakers, cause Zen-Coach Phil Jackson to retire, and that claimed redemption at the hands of the Miami Heat.
It’s going to take that EDGE. I believe I saw it. Did you?
Mavs Media Day was today and Training Camp begins with two-a-days on Tuesday. The NBA Season is here y’all. It’s Mavs, all day, every day baby.