For Elton Brand it wasn’t easy being an amnesty casualty out of Philadelphia, but he found a home in Dallas this offseason where he believed he could make it work. So far the power forward is struggling to maintain consistency. The Mavs sit at 5-4 heading into Thursday night’s action. They are trying to weather the storm without Dirk Nowitzki for now.Rick Carlisle has kept Brand out of the Mavericks rotation at some points of the 4th quarter. No.42 believes his new head coach is a great leader despite his inconsistent play.
Elton Brand joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Ben and Skin to discuss the Dallas Mavericks adjusting once Dirk Nowitzki returns from injury, O.J. Mayo’s work ethic, O.J. Mayo still showing some signs of growing pains and his assessment of Rick Carlisle’s personality.How big of an adjustment will it be when Dirk Nowitzki returns?“To your first question, it is definitely an experiment. The coach is the mad scientist up there. He’s putting everybody in a position to succeed. He’s still filling out the guys who can play and how many minutes and where and when. It’s coming along. When Dirk Nowitzki gets back of course he’s such a great player, a Hall of Famer and wants to help everybody out, so we are not worried about his transition and getting back into the fold.
These coaches, everybody, the team, we’re just trying to figure it out. With eight new guys it is tough.”Your early season thoughts on O.J. Mayo?
“He’s a relentless worker. He’s worked hard. He’s always in the gym getting better or trying to get better. He’s shooting his shots and getting…working on defense. He’s watched a lot of film and he wants to be a great player and I think it’s going to continue. Once Dirk Nowitzki gets back his job is only going to be easier because guys have to pay so much attention to his offense threat that O.J. can get even more wide open shots, but I don’t see a letdown from him at all.”At times though is O.J. Mayo a young player trying to find the right time when to take shots?“Yeah, I agree. Once and a while those shots aren’t going to fall. Like I said he watches a lot of film without the team. He let us know individually what’s a good shot and what’s a bad shot and he takes pride in his game, so with Dirk Nowitzki and guys coming back he wont have to create those kinds of tough shots that he’s making right now.
It’ll be much easier for him to knock them down, get his feet under them and knock all those jumpers down.” Your assessment of Rick Carlisle personality wise?“He’s a great leader. He’s a great leader. He spends all his time in the practice facility. I come in to shoot and he’s there. He’s not just watching tape and stuff. He’ll take a break and play ping pong. I’ll mess with him sometimes and say, ‘Don’t you have some other place to go?’ He loves basketball. He loves teaching players and he loves winning, so his personality is about basketball. That’s what he’s about and it translates to us. We don’t want three hour shootarounds and four hour practices because that’s what he’ll do if we are not playing well.”