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Mavericks add three to training camp roster

The Dallas Mavericks signed free agents DJ Mbenga, Josh Akognon and Tu Holloway to their training camp roster, the team announced Thursday. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Mbenga (7-0, 240) is native of Congo who was originally signed by Dallas as a rookie free agent on July 14, 2004, after playing with the Mavericks summer league squad. In his first stint with Dallas, he saw action in 79 games, averaging 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds. Mbenga was waived by Dallas on Oct. 30, 2007. Since his time in Dallas, Mbenga has played for Golden State, the L.A. Lakers and New Orleans. He holds career averages of 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds in 234 games (four starts).

Akognon (5-11, 185) is a Petaluma, Calif., native who started his collegiate career at Washington State before transferring to California St.-Fullerton. As a junior, he led the Titans to a Big West regular season title, Big West Tournament Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in 30 years. As a senior, Akognon was named Big West Conference Player of the Year after averaging 23.9 points per game.

Holloway (6-0, 190) played at Xavier and was undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft. In his four years as a Musketeer, he played in 134 games and held career averages of 13.7 points, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals. As a junior, Holloway was Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and earned Third Team All-America honors while averaging 19.7 points and 5.4 assists a game.

The Mavs open their preseason schedule Oct. 6 in Berlin.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691796/mavericks-add-three-to-training-camp-roster

#NBArank: How do Mavericks measure up?

Only two contributors remain from the 2010-11 title roster, but the Mavericks’ mission remains the same.

“This is Dallas,” coach Rick Carlisle said at the Mavs’ pep rally/press conference earlier this month. “We play for championships here. It’s as simple as that.”

That’s admirable. However, based on how Dallas’ talent compares to other contenders, it will take a miraculous run for the Mavs to accomplish their goal.

For the sake of discussion, let’s use ESPN.com’s #NBArank to see how the Mavs measure up. It’s a subjective system, but it at least indicates how teams fall in terms of depth and tiers of talent. (The Mavs’ individual rankings can be found here.)

There are 15 teams that have two top-50 players. The Mavs aren’t one of them, with No. 11 Dirk Nowitzki all alone.

The Lakers and Thunder, the teams expected to meet in the West finals, lead the NBA with four top-50 selections. L.A. and OKC both have two top-10 players – joining the defending champion Heat on that exclusive list – and the Lakers are the lone team with four in the top 20.

There are another six teams with three top-50 players: the Bulls, Celtics, Grizzlies, Heat, Knicks and Spurs. (New York big man Tyson Chandler checked in at No. 23, in case MFFLs were wondering.)

The hope around the AAC is that depth will make up for the lack of a legitimate co-superstar to pair with Nowitzki.

The Maverick ranked next after Nowitzki is Elton Brand all the way down at No. 85, but they have a total of five top-100 players, with O.J. Mayo, Shawn Marion and Darren Collison joining Nowitzki and Brand. The Nuggets are the only team with more. There are five other teams with five top-100 players.

With No. 113 Chris Kaman in the mix, the Mavs have six top-150 players, a total that ties for seventh in the league.

The Mavs proved a lot of people wrong with their lone-star title run a couple of years ago. They’ll try to do it again against a handful of teams that have loaded up on elite talent.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691792/nbarank-how-do-mavericks-measure-up

First Take: Dirk Nowitzki should be insulted

Tags:

NBA, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, #NBARank

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691789/first-take-dirk-nowitzki-should-be-insulted

#NBARank: Dirk Nowitzki not in top 10?

A year ago, there was no doubt that Dirk Nowitzki deserved to be considered one of the truly elite players in the NBA.

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He was months removed from carrying the Mavericks to the franchise’s first title, a playoff run that marched past Kobe Bryant’s Lakers, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook’s Thunder and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s Heat.

The respect Nowitzki earned was reflected by his lofty spot in ESPN.com’s #NBARank: No. 5.

Now? Nowitzki has slipped out of the top 10, landing at No. 11 in this year’s edition of #NBARank. He had one of the biggest slides on the point-based voting system, dropping from 9.67 to 8.64.

The afterglow of the title run is gone. Nowitzki is coming off his worst statistical season since 1999-2000, his second year in the league and the last time he didn’t receive some type of All-NBA recognition.

Is No. 11 too low for a legend still capable of lighting it up? That depends on whether you believe last season was a lockout-related aberration or the beginning of Dirk’s decline.

Let’s compare Nowitzki to players who have yet to be ranked. You could make a strong case for Nowitzki over Deron Williams, but coach Rick Carlisle’s pre-summer, on-the-record comment that the Mavs’ goal was to make Dirk the second-best player on the Dallas roster would be used against you. Then again, that might have just been part of a failed recruiting pitch to the native of The Colony.

Wade and Westbrook? They’re second fiddles on Finals teams — and Wade is another star whose decline might have started — but they put up better numbers than Nowitzki last season.

What about fellow power forward Kevin Love? He averaged 26.0 points per game, is the league’s best rebounder and is Nowitzki’s peer as a 3-point shooter. But Love has never even played in a playoff game, much less put a team on his back for a title run.

Knees willing, and Nowitzki says they are, No. 11 is a little low for the Mavs’ No. 41.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691778/nbarank-dirk-nowitzki-not-in-top-10

Video: Previewing the Mavericks

Tags:

NBA, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, O.J. Mayo, Darren Collison

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691775/video-previewing-the-mavericks

Mavs’ quickie camp starts Saturday

Tags:

NBA, Dallas Mavericks, NBA, Dallas Mavericks, training camp

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4691769/mavs-quickie-camp-starts-saturday