Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks: MVP for the Mavs so far? There are two, and one guy comes off the bench

Eddie Sefko, Mavericks beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered questions about the team recently. Here are some highlights:

Question: Who has been the team MVP so far?

Eddie Sefko: If you’ll allow me to give out co-MVPs so far, I’d give them to Barnes and Barea. Barnes has upped his rebounding by 50 percent to 7.5 per game. That’s a huge jump from 5 last season. All Barea done is average 12.4 points, 5.2 assists and 3 rebounds while playing less than half the game. Those two guys have been consistent and solid.

Question: Do you see the Mavericks moving up in the standings in the Western Conference now that the schedule has softened a bit? Do we really want this to happen in terms of our draft pick?

Eddie Sefko: Well, it’s going to be hard for them to move down, so yes. Actually, I think this team is going to play about .500 for some time now, which will push them past teams like Sacramento and Phoenix. We can debate whether that’s a good thing or not, but it’s going to happen.

Question: Do you see Mejri being a Mav long term?

Eddie Sefko: That’s a tough one to read. Right now, he’s a better shot blocker than Nerlens or Dwight Powell. He’s a little limited at the other end, but he’s pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. That’s important at his spot. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll have a market as a free agent this summer. Not major money, but darn good, which means outrageous money by my standards.

Question: What makes Kleber so valuable to Dallas?

Eddie Sefko: He’s more athletic than you think, plus he’s got a nice shot, even though we haven’t seen it a lot, yet. And he’s a worker. The Mavericks love the fact that he has the same gym-rat mentality as Dirk and Harrison Barnes. He’s got a chance to be a keeper and a solid rotation player for years to come. As I’ve said before here, he’s way better than advertised.

Question: Where would you rank finding Maxi Kleber on the best bargain finds Dallas has had recently?

Eddie Sefko: Just to expand on the previous answer, when the Mavericks signed him, I asked Donnie Nelson if this was just a favor to Dirk. He assured me that, no, this guy was a legit player. Sure enough he is. He’s a rung up from the Nico Brussinos of the world for sure. When you have a starter earning the minimum, you’re either very lucky or not very good. Right now, the Mavericks are both.

Question: Out of all the free agents whiffs the Mavs have had — DeAndre Jordan, Mike Conley, Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside, Chandler Parsons Round 2 — which is the best to have missed out on?

Eddie Sefko: Kind of an interesting question. I personally wouldn’t want any part of Dwight Howard or Chandler Parsons right now.One is broke in the head and the other is broke in the knees. But give me some Mike Conley all day long. Look how Memphis has done since he got injured.

Question: Which player do you think drives Carlisle nuts the most?

Eddie Sefko: The easy answer is Nerlens Noel. But he’s tougher on point guards than other positions, like most coaches. I think he gets frustrated with guys like Yogi and even Devin and JJ sometimes when they don’t run a play correctly.

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