Derek Harper Rumors
“We were a hard-nosed, no-nonsense team,” guard Derek Harper said. “Our toughness came through guys like Mase. He was the mainstay of what we were, the epitome of hard work. No one ever protected teammates like Oak and Mase. “He didn’t have my route to the pros,” Harper added. “He took the hard road, went to a small college [Tennessee State]. He beat the odds. And to be from New York and find success in New York as a Knickerbocker, that is a hard thing to do. But Mase had that toughness. This is just a sad day.”
Former Mavericks and currrent TV analyst guard Derek Harper recently joined DallasBasketball.com. Here are some highlights. On the Mavericks’ offseason: “I think anytime you’re going to try to be successful throughout an NBA season, you need good backcourt play. Adding what the Mavericks have added in the backcourt gives them the chance to surprise some people. The West is going to be extremely tough this year, even better than last year, I think. But when you look at Monta Ellis, a guy who can create a lot of things on the offensive end not only for himself but for other, I think he’ll be a perfect Robin for Batman, who clearly is Dirk Nowitzki. Devin Harris brings experience. (Jose) Calderon is a solid point guard, a guy that I’ve always liked simply because he doesn’t turn the basketball over, and we had a lot of problems last year. We lost a lot of games last year down the stretch because of turnovers and just not being able to make decisions down the stretch.”
How good is Rick Carlisle? Derek Harper: I’d say right up there with the Popoviches and the great coaches that are in the league right now. I don’t think you’re going to find a player or a GM in the NBA that wouldn’t take a guy like coach Carlisle. I think the thing that makes Rick so good is how persistent he is about his system, what he wants done. He doesn’t waver. I’ve never seen a guy that, no matter what’s going on on the outside, on the inside, it’s detail, it’s detail. It’s getting guys ready.
Regarding the subject of jersey number retirement, Cuban said Derek Harper would probably be up next. Harper, along with Mark Aguirre, were the two Mavericks along with Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman (whose numbers already hang in the rafters) who got the franchise started in the early days. “I’ll deal with Derek first,” Cuban said when asked if Terry’s jersey would go up soon. “I’d say there’s a good chance [Harper’s number will be retired]. But I’m in no rush to do that.”
What the Mavericks lacked in playoff experience, they made up for it in heart and desire. “I’ve lived in California, and the first thing people allude to is they go right back to the ’80s when we pushed the Lakers to seven games,” Harper said. “I think by being able to take them and play against them that put all of us on the map as well.” Harper believes this year’s Mavericks can dethrone the Lakers if they maintain their composure, fight through the adversities and don’t get caught up in the Lakers’ mystique. “I think Dallas has a chance against the Lakers, I really do,” Harper said. “But nobody’s going to give them a chance.” Just like nobody gave Harper and the ’88 Mavericks a chance against the Lakers. Until the Lakers survived by winning all four of their home games. “I can truly say that when we played the Lakers, we got beat,” Harper said. “We didn’t lose the game against those guys in that particular series. “We gave them all they could handle.”