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Mavs Update 7/5

July 5, 2012

With the Mavericks missing out on Deron Williams and Steve Nash in successive days it’s the sad days of summer for Mavs fans. Yet they still have $11 million in cap space, have numerous trading chips in Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, and Roddy B., and there still is some talent left out there. Below I breakdown the remaining options for the Mavericks.

Jason Kidd: It appears that Kidd will be re-signing today and ending his career with the Mavs. As much as people were wanting an upgrade at PG Kidd is still a very good player who is a top notch 3 point shooter, a very good rebounder, and outstanding at playing the passing lanes. He led the league in steals per game during the playoffs and though his ability to shutdown Russell Westbrook appears to either have been a fluke 2 years ago or no longer valid due to regression in his defensive skill or improvement in Westbrooks’ offensive game, he still is a solid enough on the ball defender. As a 25-30 minute a night PG he still can get it done and I’m happy to have him coming back.

Chauncey Billups: This would be my next target for the Mavs as Kidd is still good but it would be preferable if they could add a stud backup PG to platoon Kidd with. Billups makes sense in so many ways as he is another player who shouldn’t be playing more than 25-30 minutes a night AND he can end games with Kidd as they both are tall enough and strong enough to defend most shooting guards. An end of game lineup with Kidd and Billups spacing the floor as deadly 3 point shooters to keep defenders off Dirk would be a lethal combination. Billups won’t be as good as Terry at the pick and roll with Dirk but he’ll be effective in his own way and is an upgrade defensively over Terry so overall it would be a downgrade but not as much as people suspect.

Marcus Camby: As much as everyone has been focusing on the PG situation due to Deron Williams potentially coming home to Dallas it’s important to remember that the center position was the biggest problem area for the Mavs last season. It’s no coincidence that in the one year in which Dirk actually was able to play with a top 5 center he won his only championship. Camby isn’t Chandler but he still is a top 20 center and gives added shot blocking and mobility over Haywood. When the Mavs play a pure center like a Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum then Haywood is a good fit but against smaller centers or centers that don’t score it would fit better to have an off the ball defender like Camby. Adding Camby to the roster would be an addition that would fly under the radar, just like the Chandler addition 2 offseasons ago, but could pay huge dividends.

Anthony Randolph: Long regarded by me as one of the most underrated players in the NBA the Mavs have a chance to get Randolph at the perfect time. He was an immature kid in Golden State and New York who showed more potential than production yet in the past year and half with the Timberwolves he’s added some weight and improved his game and attitude. For a player going into his 5th year he’s still only 22 years old and has immense potential. In a per 36 minutes ratio Randolph averaged 17.4 pts 8.5 reb 2.4 blk 0.9 stl on 47% FG and 76% FT. He reminds me of a young Andrei Kirilenko and against teams that don’t have a center who is an offensive threat, think Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, they could move Dirk to the 5, Marion to the 4, and Randolph at the 3 while keeping the rim protected due to his elite shot blocking skills. Getting a young talent like him at a discount and just as he’s entering his prime could be a steal. The only problem with him is that he duplicates much of what Marion already does and doesn’t help the PG or C positions that are most needing to be addressed. Great value but hardly a perfect fit yet I’d still be excited if it occurred because his shot blocking would allow numerous forward combinations with him playing next to Dirk, Marion, or Brandan Wright. Also he would be an outstanding fit for Carlisle’s zone defense which with a full offseason to work with could be back up and running full time next season.

Ramon Sessions: There are two opinions on Ramon Sessions. The optimistic view is that he’s a 26 year old PG who always had a top notch mid range jumper and a good assist to turnover ratio (2.5 to 1 for his career) who finally developed a legit 3 point shot (42% for Cleveland and 49% for the Lakers this year) and now is one of the most underrated players in the league. The pessimistic view is that at 1.5 attempts per game last year he didn’t take a lot of 3pt shots and happened to get lucky this year from 3 point range yet his career average of 33% isn’t impressive and without a 3 point shot he’s an average athlete who struggles to get breakdown a defense, is an average defender, and can’t stretch the floor for a team. Sessions is a risk but if he continues to shoot the 3 well then the Mavs could find themselves a steal and one who fits their system as he’s at his best on pick and rolls which also is where Dirk is at his best.

Goran Dragic: The $10 million man, or at least that’s what he thinks of himself as, is a player that many teams around the league want yet I’m not a huge fan of. His A/T (assist to turnover ratio) is 2.2 to 1 and his FG% is pretty high (46%) for a PG yet I just can’t wrap my brain around paying a player who averages 11 pts, 5 ast, and 2.5 rebounds $10 million a year. To me he is a Jose Calderon type with better size and a worse 3 point shot and keep in mind that the Raptors consider the 5 year $45 million contract they signed him to a big mistake. Dragic’s future employer likely will have a similar opinion of their contract if they are forced to sign him to a $9-10 million a year contract as he would need to regress very little before people considered him nothing more than a quality backup with the market for those players being in the $2-4 million range. He’s only 26 so some teams will convince themselves that the best is yet to come yet I doubt he’ll ever be a top 10 PG and you don’t pay $10 mil a year for guys outside that range.

Kirk Hinrich: The former dominant defensive PG who does little more than run a team and hit 3 point shots offensively is a player that could be a steal. At 31 years old he is hardly a guy on his last leg yet last year he at times looked that way and enters free agency with no momentum. He had the 2nd lowest FG% in his past 7 seasons, the lowest ppg, assist total, 3 pt %, and steal total in his 9 year career. He’s the type of guy scouts earn their money on as if he was battling injuries and is recovered he could be a steal like Joe Nathan has been for the Rangers this year but if he isn’t healed from those injuries or just has lost a step then he could be a backup PG at best who a team might be paying starter money for. I’ve loved him ever since ’06 when he shut down Dwyane Wade in an early round series and think he would fit well on the Mavs as he’s the type of hard nosed defender they need when they battle the Thunder (Westbrook), Spurs (Parker), and now even the Lakers (Nash). Kidd is too old to defend the quicker PGs so they need to plug that hole and I think Kirk still has something left and should be willing to take a 1 or 2 year “prove it” deal.

Delonte West: With Terry gone and Williams and Nash not coming I really worry who will be our playmaking guard. Kidd is a great shooter, rebounder, and defender yet he’s too old to expect him to consistently run the pick and roll with Dirk and break down defenses with dribble penetration. West isn’t the perfect candidate for the role but he showed the ability to get into the lane and has a very good step back jumper that he can get off against most defenses. If Billups or Sessions isn’t signed West would jump to the top of the list as a playmaking guard and would cost half what the other two will probably sign for. Also he and Dirk have become pretty close so he fits the chemistry of the team.

Nick Young: Nick Young is a selfish player with a low basketball IQ who doesn’t always give great effort. Yet the kid can score and if the Mavs are looking to replace Terry’s scoring off the bench then he would be a pretty good candidate. I’m not a huge fan of his as he’s extremely inefficient (40% FG last season) yet he’s always played in offenses with no structure and in previous years he shot a more respectable 44% so he could be expected to improve if paired with Kidd and Dirk on the floor and with Carlisle giving more structure in his game. Or it could all blow up in the Mavs face and Carlisle could bench him the entire year. It’s a risk but right now the Mavs lack anyone who can beat a man off the dribble and get his own shot or shots for others. Young can do that in his sleep as at 6’7 he has a great handle and the athleticism to finish at the rim. He’s an enormous talent and at 27 years old is in the prime of his career so he might be worth the gamble.

OJ Mayo: It feels like OJ has been around for ages but at only 24 years old he’s still just a young pup. He’s a 6’4 SG who has been relegated to a role as a spot up shooter with the Grizzlies despite having the ability to do much more. As a 3 pt shooter he’s good but not great (36.4% each of past two seasons) and his FG% has gone from 44-46% his first two seasons to 41% the past two seasons making me think he didn’t really fit the post up offense the Grizzlies employed after the Zach Randolph trade. A new team could be just what the doctor ordered for this former lottery pick’s game to expand and he’s not only a very good athlete but a hard nosed player who relishes defense so his attitude would mesh well with Carlisle. He’s been flying under the radar a bit this offseason and it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he latched onto a team for $7 mil a year and became an 18 pt a game scorer who plays great defense. That’d be a steal and again at age 24 a team should expect him the best to be down the road.

Chris Kaman: Chris has a great relationship with Dirk Nowitzki as he played on the German national team during an Olympic run so the connection is there yet I’m unsure the fit really makes sense. He’s a legit 7 footer with a very good skill set that can back a player down and score efficiently in the post or hit the occasional 15 foot jump shot. He also is a decent rebounder (7.8 rpg) and shot blocker (1.6 bpg) who would be an upgrade over Haywood. Yet he doesn’t really fit the Mavs flow offense, few centers really do, and he isn’t the huge upgrade as a help side defender or on the ball defender that the Mavs could really use defensively. He would make a good platoon with Haywood as the Mavs would have two of the 30 best centers in the game but neither are top 15 and anything more than a 1 year “experiment” deal would worry me as I just question the fit and at 30 years old he isn’t young enough to warrant keeping around for the rebuilding years after Dirk retires.

Erick Dampier: Haha just kidding.

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