The Dallas Mavericks have had a relatively successful off-season this summer. They stole Chandler Parsons from Houston. They traded for Tyson Chandler for the second time. And they got a myriad of good role players, such as Jameer Nelson, Richard Jefferson, and Al-Farouq Aminu. However, one player the Mavs failed to resign was the one and only Shawn Marion, a.k.a. “The Matrix.”
Shawn Marion elected to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers to join Lebron James in pursuit of another championship. You really can’t blame him, but it did hurt to see Marion sign with the Cavs for just the veterans minimum.
Shawn Marion was a Maverick for five years, and for those five years, he might just end up getting his jersey hung up in the rafters of the AAC. Marion was arguably the best defender on the Mavs for each of those five years.
Not only did he play exceptional man-to-man defense on elite players, like Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant, but Marion also out-hustled players for rebounds, drained a flurry of floaters (trying saying that five times fast) and used his experience and savvy to help the Mavs win games. For that, the Matrix will always be loved by MFFL’s.
When Shawn Marion signed with the Mavs in 2009, however, I was honestly hoping for another Marion to show up. After his brief stints in Miami and Toronto, Marion wanted to be on a contender again and ended up on the Mavs through a sign and trade.
I expected him to rejuvenate his career in Dallas and be the player he was in Phoenix, draining threes consistently, throwing down tomahawk dunks, and playing like the four-time all-star he was as a rival of the Mavericks. But that’s not the Shawn Marion we got.
Marion’s role on the Mavericks from the beginning was to be a top-tier defender, not a major offensive threat. And that’s exactly what the Mavericks needed. From the beginning of the 2008-209 season up until the end of last year, Shawn Marion exceeded in being the best perimeter defender the Mavs had as well as being a reliable late-game player down the stretch of games.
Marion’s offensive game declined without a doubt, with the exception of that awkward floater, but his toughness, energy, and leadership helped Dallas remain successful and ultimately win an NBA Championship. I have no doubt in my mind that the Mavs wouldn’t have won the championship without Marion, and I’m pretty sure most people would agree.
Now, Marion has teamed up with the best player on the planet in pursuit of another title. I’m just waiting for Tuesday, March 10–the day Shawn Marion makes his return to the AAC. The standing ovation will be well deserved for the Matrix.