Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Dallas Mavericks and Sponsors Present Fan Jam 2009!

After a week of getting their asses kicked in training camp, the Mavericks presented themselves for a Blue-White scrimmage in front of a few thousand of their fans. I missed a connection and got there just as they were announced. Smeg.

It wasn't like last year. There were more people, for one thing -- the lower bowl was mostly full. According to the AAC, the headcount was right around 7700. The guys did some stretching while the TronCam focused on individuals by turn. Everybody looks good -- tanned, fit, rested, ready. I'll admit, though, I could've lived without a closeup of Nathan Jawai's armpit. Tim Thomas and J-Ho were there, but didn't participate in scrimmage. They're both rehabbing from surgery. JJ did participate and looked pretty damn good. Instead of drill demonstrations and a *very* abbreviated scrimmage, the players warmed up, did a quick layup drill, and went straight to game time. By the way, I'd give a kidney to play Doom on that JumboTron.

Coach Carlisle greeted everyone and introduced the coaching and team support staff to applause. He passed the mic over to Jet Terry, who went through the player introductions. Cheerfully coaxing a hearty round of boos aimed at (who else?) the Spurs, mangling Roddy Beaubois's name, labelling JJ "the whitest Puerto Rican I know," and likening the unshorn Dirk to Hulk Hogan. It a few years, Jason Terry's going to make some sports show very happy. He's got a good voice, great presence, and a lovely knack for the work.

Of the FNGs, Shawn Marion got the loudest applause. The Dallas sports media, who -- let's face it -- have to drag personality bits out of Dirk with pliers, are ecstatic. He's a fun guy. Don't know how much credence to lend rumors of douchbaggery with former teams. As a Maverick, he gets rave reviews from everybody. And during scrimmage . . . if this is a preview of coming attractions, getting Marion was the smartest decision the Organization's made in a long time. It's early days, but I'm hopeful.

The news came down last week that Humble Billy Haynes, the Mavericks' arena announcer for donkey's years, has left his post because of an illness in the family. It's going to punch a hole in game time fun. How big that hole's going to be remains to be seen, but if the fill-in fella's an indication, it's going to be an abyss. It's a little awkward to chant DE-fense when you're not really rooting for or against anybody. (I was still recovering from screaming through the Metallica concert last Tuesday; I should have my voice back in time for the preseason opener.)

Scrimmage was two ten-minute halves, with a two-minute interval between. And right away, the Kidd led Blues took a lead based on some aerial work from Marion and a Matt Carroll three. Coach is calling for some slack to get cut Carroll's way -- midseason trade, no chance to get a working rythum going, etc. Okay, slack can be cut, but there's still the matter of too many men on too small a roster.

Roddy B's got legs. Looooong legs. And like the song says, he knows how to use them. There's a lot of promise there. Few beanheaded moves I could see, but hell, he's young yet. In Prof. Kidd's Point Guard Grad School, he should come along quickly. Quickly enough? Well . . . that's a dice roll. He's a roadrunner, though. Faster than hell.

The quest for a quality big man meanders onward, through. Damp and Gooden are scrapping for starter's rights and priviledges. The word around the campfire is they've hit it off interpersonal-wise, which is good news. One hopes for a good season from the two of them.

All in all, everybody had fun. I was laughing the whole way through. It's such a delight to see my guys after months away. The only disappointment was, at the buzzer the score was a dead tie, 42-all. Would two minutes OT have been so much to ask? I mean really . . .

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