I know that we are now well into the second round of the playoffs, but some Mavs fans may be missing out on some exciting basketball because the good guys are sitting at home now. If you are a Mavs fan who needs a little extra push to stay interested in the playoffs, this article is for you. There are a number of guys still in these playoffs who the Mavericks are likely to take a serious look at this offseason. Even if you are not interested in watching other NBA teams slog it out in pursuit of the championship, as Mavs fans, these handful of potential future Mavericks should give you a good reason to keep watching. The following guys are some of the more interesting candidates.
Wizards | shooting guard/small forward | 28 years old | 6’8” 210lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 14.4 ppg, 2.5 apg, 6.2 rpg
Ariza has been a big part of the Wizards magical playoff run this year, averaging 14.8 points per game and 9 rebounds per game these playoffs. Known primarily for his defense, Ariza is also a quality three-point shooter. He averaged 40.7% on threes this year, and his average has gone up each of the past four seasons. And he is an underrated rebounder and passer for a wing player. In short, Ariza is just about everything the Mavs need in a starting small forward. But will this extended playoff run drive his price too high? And should the Mavs be worried that they won’t get the same production from Ariza in a non-contract year?
Wizards | power forward/center | 32 years old | 6’10” 230lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 88.9% on free throws
Gooden has one of the more interesting stories of these playoffs; he came in off the street in February to help the Wizards stay afloat while Nenê recovered from injury. Gooden is possibly my favorite Dirk backup ever (it’s between him and Brandon Bass). He is often forgotten by casual NBA fans (and owners, which is why he was playing rec ball until February), but I really like Gooden’s grit off the bench. He can be inconsistent, but Gooden is precisely the sort of hard-working, hard-edged guy the Mavericks need in their big man rotation. And he is likely to be quite a bit cheaper than some of the other, more glamorous Dirk backup options (like Ed Davis or Patrick Peterson).
Wizards | center | 30 years old | 6’11” 240lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 13.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.5 bpg
I know I’m focusing on a lot of Wizards, but hey, history already shows that the Mavs like Gortat and Gooden. If everyone will take a trip down memory lane with me, you’ll remember that the Polish Hammer was nearly a Maverick in 2009 before those dastardly Magic matched our offer sheet only to waste Gortat’s talents on the bench behind Dwight Howard. Gortat is a solid, all-around type of every day center the Mavs have been looking for since Mark Cuban let Tyson walk, and I hear he is quite the fun locker room presence. Unfortunately, like Ariza, there’s a good chance the Wizards do everything they can to keep him around.
Clippers| small forward | 31 years old | 6’8” 225lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 8.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg
I know that Granger’s stats this season aren’t great, but if you believe that Granger is capable of returning to form next year in his first full season recovered from injury, then he is definitely worth a look in free agency. In some ways, Granger reminds me of a much larger Monta. Great athleticism and talent as a scorer, but he could probably be a lot better at other aspects of the game under the right coach. If Carlisle could motivate Granger to play a much more efficient style (as he has with Monta), Granger is a possibility in Dallas. Personally, I still prefer someone like Luol Deng or Ariza.
Thunder | shooting guard/small forward | 30 years old | 6’7” 222lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 6.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 spg
I think the biggest need for the Mavs this offseason is getting an athletic, defense-oriented wing player who can drain open threes all year long. Thabo could be that guy. He has proven to be a really effective rotation member working with Westbrook and Durant, and I think he could fit in just as well between Monta and Dirk. Whether you want to plug him in at SG next to Monta running the point, or slot him at SF along with some combo of Jose/Monta/Devin at the guard spots, Thabo would be a big help in improving the Mavs’ perimeter defense, while also being a much more reliable corner 3-point shooter than Marion was.
Pacers | shooting guard | 23 years old | 6’5” 230lb
Notable 2013-14 stats: 13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.2 apg
Is there a more divisive free agent out there? Some Mavs fans want no part of Lance; others are foaming at the mouth to get him. I admit that I am closer to the latter camp than the former, but I get the arguments for both sides. Yes, Lance is volatile. Yes, he can be immature. But holy crap is he talented. The defense. The rebounding. The passing. The scoring. THE YOUTH! Can you imagine how fantastic our backcourt would be if you put Monta and Lance together? To the skeptics, all I have to say is, if anyone can rein Lance in and turn him into a team player, isn’t it Rick Carlisle?