Radio play-by-play voice of the Dallas Mavericks Chuck Cooperstein joined Dennis and Cowlishaw on ESPN 103.3 FM on Tuesday to break down the Mavs’ 2017-18 schedule.
Coop, who’s been calling Mavs games for more than a decade, always has interesting insights on the club, and the league as a whole. Check out the full interview below, with some transcribed highlights to follow.
On the early portion of the schedule: Their early schedule is very, very difficult again. We’ll see if they can stay a little healthier and not get themselves buried, because if they get past the All-Star break, they have one of the easier schedules in the NBA, going off last year’s schedules and records and that kind of thing, which could be relevant or irrelevant by the time we get there. But it’s pretty safe to say that after Atlanta and Sacramento, when you begin the stretch of Houston and Golden State and back-to-back games with Memphis, you know that you’re playing San Antonio all four times in a 30-day span that will be done on Dec. 16, that you’re playing Golden State twice and you’re playing Oklahoma City three times, you know that you’re gonna be up against it. It’s on them to be healthy and to give themselves the best chance early in the year.
On Dennis Smith Jr.’s showdowns with the league’s top point guards: Any game that Dennis Smith has against any of the four point guards that were drafted in front of him, starting with Markelle Fultz on Oct. 28, those are gonna be games that are gonna be really fun to watch because Dennis has made it pretty clear that he’s got a chip on his shoulder for being the fifth point guard selected, and that he has a point to prove. And it’ll be up to Rick Carlisle to make sure that he doesn’t worry too much about stuff like that, that he makes sure that he just goes and plays the game.
On whether or not this is Dirk Nowitzki’s final season: I learn toward believing that this is it, but again, a lot depends on how the Mavericks play. If the Mavericks play well and Dirk’s having a good time, and he’s still playing at a really high level, I could see him wanting to go do it again next year. Not so much retiring on a high, I just think that with Dirk, the whole issue for him is, is he having fun? Is he enjoying himself, does he like being around the guys still, does he want to go through the grind? And as long as the answer to all of that is yes, then he will play for as long as he wants to play.