Perhaps only the Cleveland Cavaliers, the new old new team for the LeBron James, have had a better offseason than the Dallas Mavericks. Unless you’re like really really really into Carlos Boozer playing small forward. Small forwards aren’t so small anymore, LeBron James is 6’8″, Boozer 6’9″ and new Mavericks small forward Chandler Parsons is also 6 foot 9 inches, but his Twitter bio begs to differ…WITH A RATCHET.
The Mavericks starting forward is their new big free agent acquisition, but as frustrating yet tolerable out of love as Shawn Marion was as the starting three last year for the Mavs, the bench was just as frustrating and the love for guys like Jae Crowder and Wayne Ellington was minimal and for Ellington totally nonexistent. Vince Carter, even in his spry prime, was much better suited for shooting guard.
Thankfully, as the Mavericks addressed the gaping hole in smack middle of their starting unit they also fortified the bench beyond Parsons with the signings of Richard Jefferson,
Rashard Lewis and Al-Farouq Aminu, the latter somehow not finding any more than the minimum from a league that hands out millions to Al Harrington and Martell Webster every offseason.
Incumbent members of the bench are Crowder, Brandan Wright, likely Devin Harris after the Jameer Nelson signing and if you want to count Ricky Ledo and Gal Mekel and even Eric Gordon, I won’t begrudge you dual identities.
Raymond Felton, with the clutter of point guards, should see minutes at the two along with Harris, and Greg Smith is a power forward-center but if Carlos Boozer can play the three then don’t so quickly eliminate the 6’10” but more athletic than his size presumes newcomer.
As it stands now, Jefferson can be flexed at the SG-SF position as a stretch shooter and Aminu can be flexed at SF-PF but if his jump shot can improve beyond a woeful 29% career 3-point shooting, he could see minutes at the two in a flexible Rick Carlisle rotation.
In his defense –and he’s really damn good at that– he’s only about to turn 24, is entering his fifth season and spent just two brief seasons at Wake Forest where he averaged 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in two seasons.
Even if the jumper doesn’t and/or never arrives…he’s ACTIVE. Something craved in Dallas. A young, able, ACTIVE body. ACTIVE.
If you know me more than well then so sorry but you know that the Utah Jazz are my second favorite NBA team.
Last season in a three-team trade to acquire picks and cap space they also acquired very, very, very veteran Richard Jefferson. They also acquired Brandon Rush.
Rush was hurt pretty much all season and when active (good word more people should shout it) was just stealing Salt Lake oxygen.
Jefferson, however, would have a resurgence in his 14th NBA season. His career was thought to be done when–like GSW dumped his contract–the San Antonio Spurs did the same at the 2011-2012 NBA trade deadline.
But resurge did he oh yes he did yes sir oh yes he did. Richard Jefferson started 78 games for the Jazz and played in all 82 for just the fourth time in his decorated but title-less career. He averaged double digit points (10.1 still counts) for the first time in three seasons.
He and Gordon Hayward (<3) were interchangeable at the 2/3 positions, a role Jefferson –as I said–is more than more than likely to resume in Dallas with the Mavericks.
Rick Carlisle’s rotations can be extremely fluctuating and vexing and sometimes downright bold and risky, but two things can usurp a role player to the top of the calling card when Coach turns to his bench in 2014-2015.
Veteran Experience or Effort/Hustle.
The Mavericks have added a bit of both, and are probably going to add one more player or perhaps make another trade (Felton? Wright?) before the off-season is over. But the points of addressing seem to be in the frontcourt behind Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler, so the small forward spot seems set in stone with the names, but how they will be distributed will be up to the fellas making the money,