Here's an excerpt from Mark Heisler's NBA column in the LA Times, in which he analyzed the West contenders. I usually like Heisler's stuff, but I'm not sure how true the Mavs stuff is. Here ya go:
Phoenix -- Here’s the early verdict on the O’Neal trade:
It’s not their 3-6 record because there’s time to work things out, but the fact that, as Steve Nash said, "We’ve changed everything we’re doing."
The question was how O’Neal and Nash would run the Suns’ bread-and-butter pick-and-roll.
They don’t run it much at all, with Shaq mostly in the low post, a 180-degree change from their spread offense.
In other words, they’re not the Suns anymore. They just went from a system no one could guard, which they were geniuses at running, to some generic team.
Coach Mike D’Antoni swears he was on board, but insiders say his feelings were mixed, to say the least.
The real story may have been new owner Robert Sarver’s desire to put his own stamp on the team Jerry and Bryan Colangelo built.
Unless things change dramatically, that stamp will say, OOPS!
Dallas -- Disaster, Texas-style.
What can a point guard who needs teammates to move do for a good team that, instead, creates mismatches and runs isolations?
Not much so far, which is why the Mavericks started 4-5 (through Friday) with Kidd.
In New Jersey, Kidd ran the Princeton offense with its screens and back-cuts to get teammates open.
Unfortunately, the Suns stole the Mavericks’ O’Neal deal.
Cuban was the first to ask Miami about Shaq, but Sarver not only offered a star -- Shawn Marion -- he pulled the trigger before Cuban could get back in it.
Cuban plainly didn’t want to trade for Kidd. Nor does Johnson look wild about it, as suggested by the end of a loss to San Antonio when he took Kidd off the floor, saying he wanted a better shooter.
As bad a fit as O’Neal is in Phoenix, that’s how well he’d have fit in Dallas, where he’d have been a huge upgrade on Erick Dampier in a conventional system.
-- Garza, Mavs Lite