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Smack / Sep 24, 2012 / 2:00 am

The Mavericks Are Ready For Chemistry Class; Iman Shumpert Eyes December

Dirk Nowitzki Stars In New Nike Sportswear Commercial

Yesterday we told you here about what “The Association” will let us know about the Brooklyn Nets. Out West there’s a team with just as much intrigue and as many new parts: the Dallas Mavericks. Last year’s storyline was about how Dirk Nowitzki had some of his lowest averages of his career last season thanks to a bum knee and being in pretty bad shape after the lockout. That’s all behind him, he promises. He’s vowing to make sure he’s ready despite an offseason wedding and a honeymoon where he’s much more likely to be sitting on an island’s beach rather than putting up shots at its rec center. What he said was essentially, don’t worry about me guys. We, like Dirk, think his start to last year was a fluke, too. So if that’s huge news for Mavericks fans reading the tea leaves of training camp, consider his comments about last season that he snuck in at the end, comments that seem to show last year’s team was a strange brew. He said that he expects teammates this year to be more professional about contracts expiring (there are a lot of those this year in Big D), which can only lead us to guess some of last year’s guards, for example, weren’t quiet about wanting to leave the team. So for reasons why last year’s Mavs team played so poorly out of the gate you can pinpoint Dirk’s knee and conditioning, some disharmony and of course, Lamar Odom couldn’t have helped. … Unsurprisingly Dirk called Chris Kaman likely the best big man he’s ever played with. Not too hard a title to earn considering Brendan Haywood looked like David Robinson compared with Erick Dampier. One wrinkle we’re interested to see Rick Carlisle work in this season is Kaman’s spacing in the post. Remember he can step back to the charity stripe consistently. In that case, do you pull everyone away from the hoop to free throw line extended and let O.J. Mayo have the green light to create to the rim? … Trying to know what to make of this team’s expectations is a bigger question than how “Homeland” ran roughshod on the Emmys Sunday, but we bet with all the new parts — even considering Dirk’s promise to be better — this year’s start mirrors last year’s until the gelling kicks in. … Rumors have come out that Rasheed Wallace has been working out at the Knicks’ facility. We bet NBA 2K13 programmers are at the office making a patch just in case he has to be added to a roster. Player rating for the 38-year-old Wallace? We’d guess a 70. … Hit the jump to hear about another player on the Knicks’ radar. …

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