Tuesday , Dec , 18 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Big Changes in Big D?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that Dallas was in a downward spiral. It looks like changes are being made to fit Avery Johnson’s style. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad, but it is revealing. Johnson inherited Don Nelson’s free-wheeling team (minus Steve Nash) and instantly began chanting the mantra of “defense.”

Oly reports that there are still trade discussions for Jason Kidd. At some point last week, rumors were that Josh Howard was required to make the deal. Now, that appears not to be a condition. However, the fact that the Mavs are not willing to trade Howard but may be willing to deal Jason Terry or Devin Harris is revealing. 

The strategy of keeping Howard and making him the “go-to” guy on set plays indicates a move away from Nellie’s pet project, Dirk Nowitzki. It is also important to note that two seasons ago, when Howard hit 20 or more points, the Mavs went un-defeated during the regular season. To be sure, Howard has more of that Johnson-like “grit” than Dirk. Further, a review of the box scores indicates that Howard’s scoring is more indicative of Dallas success than Nowtizki putting up numbers. His off nights appear to be more detrimental to the Mavs than Dirk’s off-nights. It may very well be that Nowitzki can only have big nights anymore when there is another player taking the pressure off of him.

Dallas is “finding a way to win” and Howard’s numbers are great in those types of games. It sure sounds a lot more like Johnson than Nelson to me.

Can Josh Howard carry the team? If they don’t add Kidd, he’s going to have to in order for the Mavs to make another deep run in the post-season.

Although Kidd does not have the jump-shot that Nellie-Ball requires, he, too, has the Johnson style of “grit.” At a later stage of his career and post-micro-fracture surgery, Kidd is in realm of the old adage that “Old age and treachery will always defeat youth and skill.”

Picking up Kidd would result in the team turning further away from Nelson and closing to Johnson. If you’re a Dallas fan and do not think Howard can carry the team, then you should be rooting for Cuban to trade for Kidd.