Dallas loved the Jet.
Jason Terry endeared himself to the majority of MFFL’s in his eight-year tenure as a Dallas Maverick and it was sad to see him go despite knowing it was time. Despite his tendency to speak his mind a bit too much off the court, Terry’s contributions in the clutch were enough to mask his deficiencies on defense and his turnover-prone ways in plenty of games, and who can honestly not like any guy who did this in the NBA finals?
*Side note, Mike Breen needs to be cloned and put in every major sport, can you imagine “BANG!!!” after a Tony Romo to Dez Bryant TD bomb? Or a Josh Hamilton walk off homer? Chills would be felt*
Getting back on track here, Jet’s departure to Boston begs the question: Who takes up the mantle as sixth man?
We pretty much know who the starting five are going to be:
Dirk, Marion, Mayo, Collison and Kaman.
All five of those players are more than capable of making the early stages of games much more competitive, enabling Dallas to NOT be down by double-digits by the time the call to the bench is made, which happened a number of times in last years mediocre-fest of a season–especially against the upper echelon of teams in the Western Conference. But everyone knows that in the West, it is hard to compete without some scorers off the bench.
Looking at the roster, there aren’t any names that really jump out at you as shoe-in’s for the new “sixth man” monicker.
Vince Carter was not exactly dazzling in his first year as a Mav (10.1 PPG, 41% Fg, 37% 3PT), he had a three point drop-off from his previous season in Phoenix and never really had that “click” during his first season as a Mav. Sure, he was good for a few rim-rattling dunks, circa the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, but 10 PPG was underachieving in the eyes of many.
The upside here, however, is that Darren Collison creates a youth-infused offense and fans should expect more crisp passing and less sitting on the ball until the shot clock is almost expired; that should benefit a player like Carter immensely. Granted, moving without the ball isn’t exactly the primary agenda for a 35-year-old SG, but Carter wasn’t exactly helped by Jason Kidd’s worst passing season of his career and definitely would have been more successful with a younger player running the offense.
Terry’s departure should give Vinsanity more minutes,and a younger PG should give him better looks inside. Carter may not have lit up the box score, but the stats showed that the Mavs were a better team in both offense and defense when he was on the floor.
The big enigma is obviously Rodrigue Beaubois. The “free Roddy B” pleas that can be seen from many fans are starting to lose some of their weight. Does anybody really think if a veteran coach like Rick Carlisle thought Roddy was a budding superstar that he wouldn’t play him all the time?
It’s obvious that Carlisle isn’t sold on Beaubois and gets frustrated with his jekyl-and-hyde performances. Any fan who watches every game knows it. Roddy can score 40 points against the Golden State Warriors, and then go 1-12 the next night against the Lakers. That isn’t just inconsistency; it is MADDENING.
To be the new go-to-guy off the bench, Roddy has to become more of a slicer inside, the guy averaged barely one free-throw in 21 minutes per game. That is evidence right there that he settles for jumpers when he could be drawing fouls and getting easy points. If Roddy doesn’t become more efficient at creating his own offense, he will quickly find himself at the end of the bench next to Dominique Jones.
Another interesting prospect is Mavericks rookie, Jae Crowder. When you look at Crowder, the long dreadlocks and broad shoulders bring to mind Kenneth Faried, –and they look the same– an aggressive forward who contributed a lot for the Denver Nuggets last year as a rookie with 10 PPG and 7.7 rebounds. If the Mavs can get that same kind of consistency and energy-filled play from Crowder, he will become a fan favorite very quickly because of his Brandon Bass-esque style of play– Plenty of Maverick fans are still upset that Bass was never retained. Crowder can be a force inside and on the boards, using his size to get to the paint for easy buckets. Crowder averaged 17.5 PPG and 8.4 rebounds in his senior year at Marquette University.
Other players like Delonte West, Elton Brand, Dojo, Dahntay Jones and rookies Bernard James and Jared Cunningham will have their fair share of contributions, but none –except for maybe West and Brand– would be a strong candidate for much more than 8-10 PPG. Cunningham is an enigma because we never got a chance to see him in Summer League thanks to a hammy injury.
As a 6″4, 195 lb combo guard, Cunningham is a guy who can create his own shot and play competent defense. That could already give him an edge over players like Roddy and Dojo who really don’t excel in that aspect of the game. He has been described as a quick backcourt player, and that is a primary reason the Mavs drafted him in the first place, they need speed.
James,a player that spend six years in the Air Force and served in Iraq, Quatar and Afghanistan, does not lack toughness and it is possible that he could fit into the rotation early if he shows the same propensity for double-doubles that he did in the summer. He averaged 10.2 PPG and 9 rebounds in five summer league games and the Mavericks are a team that desperately needs a player who can clean up the glass on offense. Dallas ranked near the bottom in offensive rebounding efficiency last season, posting a 23.4 ORR (offensive rebound rate), better than only Golden State and Boston.
The motto of the summer has been “keep the powder dry”, but the Mavs cannot afford to coast into a seven or eight seed this season and expect to draw the interest of players like Andrew Bynum or Chris Paul. Should be interesting to watch Dallas this year, not many people know what to expect.
That can only help the Mavs.