Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big Man Plan

The loss of Gana Diop severely alters the center rotation. Diop started during significant stretches the last three seasons, though his playing time lately had been limited.

In any event, he’s a 7-footer with an ability to block shots and rebound. Since those guys don’t just grow on trees, the Mavs will make do for now with Juwan Howard, Malik Allen and Brandon Bass backing up Erick Dampier. Neither of the aforementioned three is taller than 6-10.

“We can’t allow as much penetration, especially with our second unit because we’re going to be a little smaller with Malik and Bass and Juwan in there,” Avery Johnson said. “We’re going to have to play it a little bit differently, scramble a little bit more, but we’re going to have to do a better job with dribble penetration because Diop is not going to be back there to alter a lot of those shots.”

Johnson added that more is needed from Dampier, who is averaging 7.0 rebounds and 5.5 points.

“When Damp gets double-doubles for us, we think we can be an awfully good team,” Johnson said.

The front office is in the market for another big body, but Donnie Nelson admits the pickings are slim. Though a trade is possible before Thursday’s deadline, the most likely option is signing a free agent. The team still has its mid-level exception.

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