Tyson Chandler

Mavs should have Chandler for opener, but not Beaubois

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The Dallas Mavericks, who struck out in their pursuit of a top-level free agent this summer and subsequently passed on a potential move to acquire Al Jefferson, have but a few ways to improveme this season. Tyson Chandler, the Mavs’ most significant off-season addition, is the most obvious avenue through which to do so. Beyond Chandler, Dallas will rely on internal improvement through development and familiarity, and no incumbent Mav is expected to make a bigger leap than Rodrigue Beaubois.

Unfortunately, the Mavs will be without Beaubois services when they open the season against the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday. But Chandler, who injured his hand in a preseason game last week, appears to be ready to play. From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

Chandler practiced Monday for the first time since injuring his thumb in a preseason loss to the Orlando Magic last week. Barring a setback Tuesday, he’ll be in the rotation for the season opener, although it isn’t clear whether he’ll start or come off the bench behind Brendan Haywood. “I was able to do everything and felt good out there,” said Chandler, who was traded from Charlotte to Dallas this offseason. “Initially going out there, I felt a little skeptical about catching the ball and stuff, but it went well. I felt good today in practice. I’m ready to go.”

Beaubois, on the other hand, is still walking around in a protective boot, and has yet to do any kind of intensive on-court work. The Mavs haven’t set any definitive timetable for Beaubois’ return, and the young guard, who played so brilliantly in limited minutes for the Mavericks last season, will have to wait a bit longer before attempting to take on the great internal and external expectations for his progress this season.

Beaubois was poised to start for Dallas, and none of the Mavs’ other guards made a definitive case to start in his stead during either training camp or the preseason. Jason Terry is probably the most likely candidate to claim the starting role, but Dominique Jones and Shawn Marion are also possibilities.

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.