The Dallas Mavericks’ head coach Rick Carlisle has never been one to mince words. The popular, well-respected coach, now entering his 8th year as head coach, led the team to it’s only NBA Championship in 2011 and last year agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $35 million that begins next year.
Carlisle addressed the Mavs ever-changing roster, new additions, owner Mark Cuban and more during the Mavs Media Day Monday at the American Airlines Center.
On Harrison Barnes and his role: I spent a good portion of the summer with him; at his basketball camp in Iowa; in Vegas during the Olympics games; here this past moth and he’s a great worker. He’s a guy with a great intellectual curiosity for the game. He’s a different kind of player than what we have had here so I think he is one of the most exciting guys we have brought into this thing in recent years.
His skill set and body type is a little bit different. His personality is a little different. We were very fortunate to be able to land him here. He’s a guy that can play two positions easily on offense. He can guard more positions than that on defense. His defensive ability and also his rebounding ability are two things that we will really depend on.
On possible roles: Carlisle added that Barnes will play some at the 4 with Justin Anderson at the 3, Wes Matthews at the 2. We’ve got a group that can switch and do some things and give us some flexibility. Powell is another guy we will add in there. We have some interesting options on the defensive end. We will look to develop those as we go.
On Mavs Owner Mark Cuban and whether his involvement in current events including the presidential election is a distraction: No, he is not a distraction. One of the things I told the team, especially our new guys, is that one of my desires on a day-to-day basis especially during the season is to have Mark around the team as much as possible. It’s become more impossible because now he’s become a big TV star with Shark Tank and everyone wants them on their news show and want to get his opinion on things. But I don’t look at things as a distraction. We have an owner here who cares and I want him to see what’s going on every single day.
On the Mavs’ youthful roster and if it changes the way he coaches or approaches the team: We are excited. We have some younger guys who have a good chance to make this team. There is going to be a lot of competition in training camp.
Player development has been a big emphasis for us ever since I got here and it’s getting to a greater crescendo every year. With the way the CBA is, you’ve got to develop your young players. So I don’t think it’s going to be any different but we are always vigilant about techniques and helping guys develop. Whether it’s on video, or on court things, whatever.
On turnover of players: We love it. What’s more exciting than getting 7 new guys? New blood. It’s fresh every year. You look at it a couple of different ways. You can view it as a negative and if you do, it’s a pretty good chance its going to be a negative. I don’t see it that way. I think it’s exciting. I love the challenge. I always love getting to know new players because I learn things from our new guys.
On Wesley Matthews’s comeback: I know he is excited. Being at 100 percent health would help anybody. I stayed in contact with him all summer. He’s been waiting for this for a long time. He’s one of the best competitors we have in our sport and having a guy like that on your team is something I am excited about.
On Mavs’ formula for winning: One of the realities with our team is, if we get 5 or 6 guys averaging double figures, that will be our best chance to win. Guys having real huge, individual scoring bits doesn’t translate to us into having the best chance to win.
On Andrew Bogut and his playing time: He had around a 20-minute threshold last year. Is this where he belongs now? I don’t know what his minutes will be. There is a strong possibility he will play more than that for us. But we will have to see how things develop. Health always plays into it. He had a big summer with playing in the Olympics, etc. I know he is feeling better so his health is not in question. But a guy like him that’s 32, been around the league for a while and has had a busy summer traveling, we are going to bring him along at the right place and pace and allow him to work into this thing the right way.