Beating teams is all that really matters. So as the Mavs wait to see if they will indeed acquire their prized point guard. Entering tonight's game against the Suns, the Mavs are 23-6 against a Western Conference that has most marveling at its exceptional competitiveness this late into the season.
The Suns, the current leaders of the Western Conference -- entering Thursday's game -- are 15-14 against the West. Only New Orleans, at 25-1, has more wins against the West. No one has fewer losses than the Mavs, who thumped Portland by 20 without Devin Harris, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse. Through one half in Phoenix, the same squad is giving Phoenix a hard time, leading 53-52.
Rarely this season have the Mavs been injury-free. It seems they've been plugging all along. Yet, as currently constructed, they've managed a 35-17 overall record.
Avery Johnson runs a tight ship with his players and they genuinely seem to share a mutual respect. Are the Mavs perfect? By no means. Are they good enough to reach the Western Conference Finals? The record against the West indicates they could. Of course, so did last year's.
Could the addition of Jason Kidd -- but also the subtraction of Devin Harris, DeSagana Diop and Devean George (and Jerry Stackhouse for 30 crucial days if not altogether), a player Johnson brought in two years ago because of his championship pedigree -- propel the Mavs to new heights?
Or, is continuity, level-headedness and patience -- remember the Mavs and Johnson have groomed Harris for four seasons now -- the proper course of action to contend in the short-term as well as the long-term?
Wednesday's foiled deal showed the Mavs are ready to chunk continuity, go for broke and deal with the future when they get there.
But, if the stalled deal doesn't go down, will it be the best move the Mavs never made?
-- Jeff Caplan