Monday, August 10, 2009

Dallas off-season moves, hello Shawn Marion!

(Photo from TutorialDog)
The Dallas Mavericks haven't really bounced back since losing in 6 games to the Miami Heat in the Finals of the 2005-2006 season. After that season they lost in the first round to the Golden State Warriors, and after that season, they lost in the first round to the New Orleans Hornets and this past season, they lost in the 2nd round to the Denver Nuggets. They had some decisions to make this off-season and they haven't thrown in the towel. Instead of letting the Lakers repeat, the Celtics retake the league, the Spurs and Richard Jefferson to come back or Orlando or Cleveland to win their first championship, Mark Cuban opened his wallet and let it rain.

Facts:
  • Dallas trades Jerry Stackhouse (to the Grizzlies), Devean George and Antoine Wright (to the Raptors) for Shawn Marion, Kris Humphries, and Greg Buckner.
  • Dallas signs F/C Drew Gooden for one year.
  • Dallas re-signs PG Jason Kidd for three years.
  • Dallas signs F Tim Thomas for one year.
  • Dallas signs G Quinton Ross (undisclosed details).
  • Dallas signed Orlando C Marcin Gortat, but Orlando matched the offer, keeping him in Orlando.
Contracts:
  • Shawn Marion was signed (and traded) for 5 years/$39 million (average $7.8 mil per year).
  • Kris Humphries is owed $3.2 mil with a player option for $3.2 mil in 2010.
  • Greg Buckner is owed $4 mil with a player option for $4.2 mil in 2010.
  • Drew Gooden was signed for $4.5 mil, FA in 2010.
  • Jason Kidd was signed for 3 years/$25 million (average $8.3 mil per year).
  • Tim Thomas was signed for the veteran minimum: $1.3 million.
  • Quinton Ross' details were undisclosed.
Read between the baselines:
(Photo from reclinergm)
The big deal here is for Shawn Marion who is nicknamed the Matrix. Anyone who has played in a fantasy basketball league knows exactly what Shawn Marion is capable of and why he is called the Matrix. His last 2 years in Miami and Toronto, he was playing on the fly, but if we go back to his last FULL year in Phoenix (granted it was a run and gun offense) he scored 17.5 points on 52% FG, grabbed 9.8 rebounds, 1 3pter, 2 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. Short story shorter, he does it all. Here's what HoopsHype has to say about him:

"One of the best athletes in the league, outstanding leaping skills, jumps high and many times in a short period of time [pogo stick-like], drives to the basket without fear, runs the floor with the best of them, great defender, guards multiple positions, never gets tired."

He had 2 let down seasons when he was traded for Shaq to Miami, then traded to Tornoto for Jermaine O'Neal. Traded away from 2x MVP Steve Nash. Now in Dallas, he has a future hall of famer PG in Jason Kidd. It's safe to assume he will produce Matrix like numbers in Dallas. And for only $8 million a year, that seems like a great investment, even if he does fall off in the last couple years of the 5 year deal, but even that seems unlikely.

Greg Buckner and Kris Humphries were throwins in the deal, but that's not to say they can't contribute. Although Buckner isn't an offensive threat, he does have good defense. Humphries who's only been in the league for 5 years is a solid enough PF who could supply some decent bench minutes.

Tim Thomas, who seems to have been on every team in the league and is now a Maverick, can be a dependable 3 pt threat and has some offensive moves of his own. He's fallen off in the past couple seasons but he's played for the Clippers, Knicks, and only a handful of games for the Bulls. On a steady, solid playoff team like the Mavericks, he can contribute, if he knows his role.

Quinton Ross, another ex-Clipper, is known for his defense and can really lock on to players. He's been asked to guard the top scorers on opposing teams (at least during his time with the Clippers). He could be a very nice addition to the Dallas bench. The Mavericks are putting some D back in Dallas.

And last but not least, Jason Kidd, who at 36 years old can still produce close to triple double numbers. He's in the right situtaion with lots of offensive threats running alongside him. Another season of 9pts, 8 ast, and 6 rebounds with 2 steals, and a 3pter isn't out of the question. 3 years at 25 million is about what he's worth. And the Mavs couldn't let a player like Kidd go without having anyone to run the offense the way he does.

Last season, Dallas ranked 17th in DEF EFF, allowing 105.3 points per 100 possessions (next in line were Chicago, Indiana, Memphis and Oklahoma) The additions of Shawn Marion, Buckner and Ross could bring that number down a bit. Dallas didn't lose any key players (Jerry Stackhouse only played in 10 games last season, Devean George played minimal minutes in only 43 games, although Antoine Wright started at SG for a good portion of the season and playoffs, his loss will be reconciled with the new additions). Dallas may have to move around some positions to work out the details in the starting lineup, but they have versatile players who can play multiple positions.

Probable starting lineup/bench for the upcoming season:

PG: Jason Kidd/Jason Terry
SG: Josh Howard?/Jason Terry/Matt Carroll
SF: Shawn Marion/Tim Thomas
PF: Dirk Nowitzki/Drew Gooden/Tim Thomas
C: Erick Dampier/Drew Gooden/Kris Humphries

This is a deep team and Shawn Marion can fit in seemingly without disrupting any team chemistry. And with the supporting role players the Mavs have added, the team is deep with options on both offense and defense. Dallas hasn't gotten close to getting back to the Finals since the let down in 2006. Could Shawn Marion lift them back up? The Lakers, Cavs, Celtics, Spurs and Orlando are all the likely candidates for the championship for the next coming years, but stranger things have happened in the NBA and although unlikely, this could could COULD be a team that gives the league a lot of problems in the playoffs. Mark Cuban believes in this team and has given Dirk Nowitzki some quality supporting players. If he can play like an MVP, if Josh Howard, Jason Terry, and Shawn Marion do what they do on offense and defense, and if Jason Kidd can put the pieces together, this team is scary. Oh yeah, and Dirk Nowitzki was first team all NBA last season.

Those are the facts. And that's one way to read between the [base]lines.

5 comments:

KneeJerkNBA said...

Dallas has a great team...in 2002. Activate the Flux Capacitor!

jedi said...

haha! wang zhizhi and shawn bradley of 2002. shawn marion the stat stuffer will put them over the top!

Anonymous said...

i don't agree with yur opinion on Shawn Marion...You can't just chalk up two sub par years to marion not being on the right team. He's a player that relies on his athleticism, and when players age..the first thing to go is their athleticism...also, hes 31 yrs old so to say that he won't fall off for the last few years of his contract is wishful thinking..he's already begun his descent

KneeJerkNBA said...

@Jedi: Man, I fucking hated Shawn Bradley! Here's a bunch of guys dunking on him.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdPstztPkLA

Oh Yeah said...

Shawn Marion is a high-effort player. His game is largely off-the-ball and it is easy to stop moving when the motivation isn't there.

As long as he is motivated, he should be a good contributor for the Mavs. Jason Kidd'll make him run.