Dallas Mavericks

Mavs await final report card on their youngsters

At times, young Dallas Mavericks (in blue, from left) AJ Hammons (20), Jarrod Uthoff (19) and Dwight Powell (7) played the role of spectators on plays like this drive by Kings guard Ben McLemore.
At times, young Dallas Mavericks (in blue, from left) AJ Hammons (20), Jarrod Uthoff (19) and Dwight Powell (7) played the role of spectators on plays like this drive by Kings guard Ben McLemore. AP

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knows it’s too early to assess giving his younger players the lion’s share of minutes over the last two weeks.

“We will know better once we get to next year, once we see how this pans out with the draft and free agency and all that. But this was unfortunately a necessary thing,” Carlisle said. “It was part of transitioning a team from being a very veteran team that’s competitive to getting the core younger, to getting an injection of much-needed youth.

“And when you go young, it’s painful in the wins and losses perspective.”

With the youngsters taking over once the Mavs were eliminated from the playoffs, Dallas has posted a 1-5 record going into Wednesday’s regular season finale in Memphis. It’s nothing alarming to Mavs management.

“Once we got eliminated from the playoffs there’s nothing to be frustrated about,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s just is what it is, and then you got to deal with the facts as they are.”

The Mavs are in the middle of a youth movement, with nine players on their roster 26 years old or younger, including five rookies.

The Mavs young cornerstone players are Harrison Barnes (24), Nerlens Noel (23) and Seth Curry (26). How do they stack up against a young core like Minnesota’s Karl-Antony Towns and Andrew Wiggins?

“Maybe they’re not Wiggins and Towns type, but they’re certainly [very] close in terms of Harrison and Nerlens,” Cuban said. “They can be contributors at that level where they’re in the conversation for All-Star every year, if not better.”

With defeat certain, Dallas Mavericks fans begin to chant for former Cowboys QB Tony Romo to enter the game as time runs out in the fourth period.

Good thinking

Owner Mark Cuban felt making ex-Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo a Mav for a day on Tuesday was one of his most brilliant ideas ever.

“I thought it was great,” Cuban said prior to Wednesday’s game in Memphis. “I thought it was fun.”

The way Cuban saw it, the Mavs were out of playoff contention, it was the last home game, and it was a school night. That combination was screaming for possibly a half-empty arena.

But with the Mavs honoring Romo, a sellout crowd of 20,333 was on hand at American Airlines Center. Several members of the Cowboys were on hand, including coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Jason Witten.

“We had entertainment where there was a chance for none,” Cuban said. “It was Fan Appreciation Night and we gave them something to appreciate.”

Cuban, however, was criticized nationally for having Romo involved in Tuesday’s game, in what some described as a classic PT Barnum stunt.

“Who cares,” Cuban said, referring to his critics. “It’s like anything else. They’ve got to write about something.”

Cuban believes he knows why critics in other markets care.

“Because they’re dying for things to talk about,” Cuban said. “You’ve got to fill the hours.

“If everybody just says this is great, there’s nothing else to talk about. If you say it [stinks] and someone says it’s great, then you have something to talk about.”

Dallas Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki had nothing but good things to say about former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. Video by Drew Davison.

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