LOS ANGELES -- After finishing his first practice of any sorts with the Dallas Mavericks this morning, guard Mike James acknowledged that the hardest thing he's had to encounter so far is picking up the team's play-calling.
"The majority of the plays are similar throughout each team in the league, but it's just different calls on it,'' James said after this morning's shoot around at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility. "One team may call it a red, anotrher team may call it a blue, and another team may call it a white, but it's all really the same schemes.
"Just understanding the philosophy here is probably the thing that I'm going to have to pick up the quickest.''
James signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs on Tuesday and will play tonight at 9:30 when Dallas (13-22) meets the Los Angeles Clippers (27-8) at the Staples Center. And since the Mavs are James' 11th NBA team, he's gone through more than his share of offensive and defensive schemes.
"All that means is that I understand a lot of systems, and I've heard it all and I've seen it all,'' James said. "Basketball is still the same, the game is still the same, the court is still the same.
"I understand how to play basketball, so it's not hard for me to adjust. But this is probably the first time in my career going from another team that I didn't really play with any of the guys on this team, but I know some of their tendencies.''
Rick Carlisle isn't sure how much James will play tonight against the Clippers. But he's anxious to see how the 37-year old playmaker can help the Mavs.
"He'll get him up to speed quickly on what we're doing, and we'll get him ready to play,'' Carlisle said. "We'll see how quickly we can get him integrated.''
For his part, James is anxious to show that, despite his age, he still can contribute to an NBA team.
"If coach calls on me I just have to be ready to play,'' James said. "All I've got to worry about is being aggressive and not come out passive.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter