On Friday Morning the Dallas Mavericks held a press conference to introduce new members Sterling Brown, Moses Brown, and Reggie Bullock as well as welcome back Tim Hardaway Jr. General Manager, Nico Harrison and Head Coach Jason Kidd attended as well and answered questions along with the players. One interesting thing with two of the three new players is their previous connections to the DFW area. Sterling Brown attended Southern Methodist University for college where he played basketball, stating that this “contributed a lot” when deciding to sign with the Mavs. Moses Brown played for G League team, the Texas Legends, located in Frisco (30 minutes from Dallas), during his first season in the NBA in 2019-2020 on a two way contract. Moses Brown stated that, “it definitely did help me get integrated into the city of Dallas.” In addition to the mention of players’ ties to the city, two points that were heavily emphasized were defense and team chemistry.
When media questions focused on the players’ offensive production and their shooting ability Jason Kidd turned the conversation to focusing on their defense ability and continuing to develop that aspect of their game. After being asked how important shooting will be Kidd responded, “ Yes shooting it’s important but also we got to play a little defense right? And so when you look at the guys up here they can do that too. So as much as we’ll talk about offense but to win Championships you got to play defense and so that’s what these guys, they checked the box when we talked about playing defense.” Interestingly enough later on when he was asked about the difference between the way the team will function from past years under Rick Carlisle the answer pointed to the same direction. Kidd said, “The biggest thing is the defensive side of the ball, you know, we gotta pay a little bit more attention to detail. Understand we all have one goal and that’s to win a championship.” He goes on to talk about the role defense played into the 2011 Championship he won in Dallas. Kidd having the experience of winning a Championship and opportunity to play with a star like Dirk Nowitzki is going to be invaluable as a coach going forward guiding this team.
The second common theme was building upon team chemistry. Hardaway Jr. stated that when he decided to stay in Dallas it was because, “Everything starts with the foundation and with the guys that have been here for the last couple of years now. I really feel like we have that core group of guys that can get the job done and I didn’t want to be left out.” It is very encouraging to hear that his belief in the team and organization factored into him turning down additional money to stay in Dallas. Kidd echoed this statement saying, “ We gotta work on our chemistry. Our chemistry has to improve. We are a family.” This year Mark Cuban did acknowledge that there was tension between Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Hopefully this new statement is a sign that Kidd has addressed any issues and will allow this team to move on. Hardaway Jr. also said that he knows Porzingis’ mindset better than anyone and has no doubt he will get to the level of play he needs to next year.
On another note that is important to point out is the front office’s effort for the players. Harrison mentioned that it was Michael Finley, Vice President of Basketball Operations, who suggested introducing the new players like this. This comes after they flew to Slovenia for Doncic to sign his supermax contract. Kidd also visited Porzingis in Latvia this summer. These small things show their commitment to the players and how much they care about the success of this team.
The connections to Dallas the players have can only help them as they come back to Dallas. The focus on defense is a step in the right direction and hopefully we can see this talk put into action. Nurturing team chemistry is so important and the front office putting in extra effort will definitely further that goal. The new players are extremely motivated just ask Sterling Brown.
“There’s one thing on my mind, that’s bringing a championship in, I’m gonna do everything I can to bring another one back to the city.”
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