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Q&A with Mavs Moneyball's Tim Cato

We sent some questions down I-45 in order to get Rockets fans ready for tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks. Read along as Tim Cato of Mavs Moneyball gives you the inside scoop on this Southwest Division rivalry.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dream Shake: What's more of a liability, 32 year old Tyson Chandler on a $14 million/year contract or 29 year old Dwight on a $21 million/year contract?

Tim Cato: Considering that Tyson's contract is up at the end of the season, I'll say Dwight. In my eyes, especially with some recent Monta Ellis struggles, Tyson Chandler has clearly been the most important and valuable player on the Mavericks this season. He's not as young and spry as a few years ago, but he's still in great shape and fills up so many holes that Dallas inevitably allows when playing quick guards. Sure Chandler's has a history of injuries, but unlike Dwight, he's played pretty much the entire season.

TDS: Who is Dallas' best defensive option for guarding James Harden? Do they have one?

TC: Uhh. Err. ...Raaaaajon Rooooondo? Well, Harden's probably going for 50 tomorrow.

In all seriousness, Rondo will probably start on him, with Chandler Parsons and Richard Jefferson getting turns. The Mavericks could try a zone defense in hopes of tempting Josh Smith to jack long jumpers, too. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see them try a few minutes of that. Al-Farouq Aminu also had some good moments in Tuesday's game, and if Harden gets into a serious groove it might be worth suffering through his atrocious offense in hopes he can slow him down.

TDS: Who has had a better run at team-building this season between Houston and Dallas? Could a Corey Brewer plus a Josh Smith plus an Alexey Shved begin to near a Rajon Rondo as far as production for price goes?

TC: While I find it curious that a team on pace to set NBA 3-point records brought in three below-average 3-point shooters, their moves have clearly outplayed the Dallas trade so far, mainly because they didn't have to give anything up. I like Rondo a lot and I think he might be a valuable player for the Mavericks over the next few years, but I'm not convinced Ellis is the right back court mate for him. More importantly this season, though, was losing Brandan Wright, who was massively underrated as an instant offense player off the bench. They're only 11-8 since the trade. But there's still a lot of basketball left to play, and these moves are going to be judged in the long haul, so let's just wait and see.

TDS: Which Mavs might surprise Rockets fans with a big game this Wednesday?

TC: Have you heard of Dwight Powell? He was a second round pick of Boston that made his way over in the Rondo trade, and has been playing backup center for the Mavericks while they wait for Jermaine O'Neal to join the team (which is almost assuredly going to happen before the All-Star break). He's energetic, can notch some blocks and steals, and has a jump shot that stretches out to the corner 3. He's still a rookie and his season has been up and down, but don't be surprised if he make a few plays on Wednesday.

TDS: Lastly, I have to ask, how is Dallas feeling about that Chandler Parsons contract after 45 games?

TC: Parsons was playing really well right before the Rondo trade and since then has struggled to find his rhythm. I think he's a player near his ceiling, but I still see reasonable room for growth and expect he'll find his way sooner than later. It's a complicated situation with the money he was paid, but I still like what I've seen and think a lot of his struggles have come from external factors he can't control.

A big thanks to Tim for taking time to answer our Maverick related questions. Be sure to check out Mavs Moneyball to keep up with Dallas basketball and to see my answers for some Rockets related questions.

Find Ian Jacoby on Twitter @IanJacoby.