Everyone’s Favorite Free Agent Hall-of-Fame Point Guard

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 30, 2009 under Recaps, xOther | 4 Comments to Read

via Marc Stein, ESPN:

“You would love to win a championship, but there are no guarantees,” Kidd said in mid-May, a day after the Mavericks’ season ended. “You could pick the favorites for next year to win a championship and things could go sideways.”

So maybe he’d prefer big money now from a team already in contention. That could be Dallas, which might be willing to pay more than other teams to help maximize the prime of Nowitzki’s career and to avoid the problem of trying to replace him.

“I’m not looking at it as … hitching on a bandwagon and jumping on with a team that’s a favorite,” Kidd said. “I’m looking to help a team try to win a championship. Whether it’s here in Dallas or wherever it may be, I still feel that I have a lot to give to the game. I feel great, and I thought I had a pretty good season. As much as everybody talks about my age, I still feel like I can compete at a high level.”

Devean George Loves Dallas

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under News, Roster Moves | 3 Comments to Read

Or financial security.  Yeah, probably that one.  Eddie Sefko on the DMN Mavs Blog reported that George has picked up his player option:

…George will be under contract for 2009-10 for $1.6 million.

…Someday, if George can ever remain healthy enough for a full season, he is capable of producing for good teams. Here’s hoping George has one of those seasons soon. After 10 years in the league, he’s running out of time.

Great.

Paying Nividends

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary, Roster Moves | Read the First Comment

Don’t look at me.  That was Trey’s recommendation for a nickname for our own Ahmad Nivins.  Trey’s nickname list is both exhaustive and awesome…look no further than Rodrigue “Crayfish” Beaubois.  Don’t ask questions, just nod your head and chuckle.

Beaubois is bringing the foreign intrigue as a prospect that has largely gone unknown and unseen.  But Nivins, a domestic product from St. Jo’s, is perhaps just as mysterious.  St. Jo’s didn’t exactly carry a high profile during Nivins’ time as the man, putting Ahmad far from the spotlight in the fairly weak Atlantic 10 Conference.  You wouldn’t expect St. Jo’s to crack the national rotation unless something truly special was going on (like say, Jameer Nelson and Delonte West tearing it up), and Nivins’ time as a collegiate athlete definitely fell short of that mark.  Ahmad Nivins is not “something special,” and there’s a distinct possibility that he could be out of the NBA faster than you can say Pavel Podkolzin.  But there’s also the possibility that Nivins could be a nice rotation big off the bench, which is a fine role to fill for a late second rounder.

If you look at Nivins’ numbers in college, there are certainly some bright spots.  He showed consistent improvement during most of his time in college, though his junior season was somewhat of an step backwards.  As Nivins’ minutes climbed, so did his level of efficiency, which is an encouraging sign.  One number, in particular, that caught my eye was Nivins’ usage rate.  He used 22.9% of his team’s possessions, a high mark for a big man.  For reference, that percentage tops Jonny Flynn, thought of as a ball-dominating guard.  It puts Nivins in the same ballpark with Blake Griffin and Sam Young, among others.

Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing.  For one, Nivins will not be a high usage player on the next level.  He’ll need to transition into being a spot rotation guy who operates without the ball in his hands.  That’s quite a departure from being the 23rd leading scorer in the nation.  Nivins is used to operating against not just college opponents, but relatively weak ones.  He’s faced nothing that could truly prepare him for the strength and burl he’ll encounter in the pros, but there’s still reason for optimism.  Looking over Nivins’ breakdown, his rebounding numbers are more than a strength.  They’re practically a calling card.  He’s not an off-the-charts boarder like Paul Millsap was in college, but Nivins has the resume to be a solid NBA rebounder.

When factoring in how Nivins’ statistical production could potentially transfer to the next level, his high usage rate nukes most of the relevant stats.  His points will obviously drop dramatically, as will his assists, his shot attempts, his free throw attempts, and his turnovers.  But one are which should remain relatively untarnished by lower usage is rebounding.  Regardless of whether or not Ahmad has the ball in his hands during the offensive sets, his numbers do indicate that he could very well be a solid rebounder in the pros.  Nivins’ high true shooting percentage (68%, good for 6th in the NCAA) and effective field goal percentage (61%) are also promising signs.

I’m not even sure if Nivins’ will make the cut for this year’s roster, but I could definitely see him filling a James Singleton-esque role in the future.  He’s got decent size for an NBA power forward, and could be a nice minimum-commitment, low-risk find in the late second round.

The Stroke of Midnight…ET

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

This is where we see if Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban really know what they’re doing.

The Mavs have some rather pronounced needs, and both limited time and avenues with which to fill them.  The summer offers the draft, the free agent market, and the trade scene, three very different methods of acquiring and shuffling talent to find the perfect recipe for championship success.  Realistically, the Mavs had no way to make a big impact in the draft.  The players on the hole are not NBA ready, and the few that are likely need time to develop as NBA defenders.  In fact, expecting the Mavs to significantly upgrade their rotation with one late first round draft pick is listed on Wikipedia as one of the symptoms of a Nyquil high.  It should be, at least.

Some of the incoming rookies could be upgrades in the Mavs’ rotation, but their cost to the current core would be insurmountable.  We’d be looking at a lateral move in the short-term (at best), while enduring the growing pains of an inexperienced guy used to playing against boys rather than men.  Everything’s bigger and faster in the pro game, and expecting a rookie to be the difference between a 6th seed and a contender is looney.  That’s why I was generally optimistic about Nelson’s selection of Rodrigue Beaubois.  The guy has some talent, and he’s clearly a next gen point guard with his ability to both defend quick guards and attack opposing defenses.  He’s going to take some time, but really, find me another prospect in last night’s draft that won’t.  Even the Blake Griffins in the world wouldn’t solve the Mavs’ problems in one fell swoop.

It’s up to Donnie and Mark to re-tool in free agency and through trades, which is something we’ve been prepared for all along.  We’re looking at a full midlevel exception ($5 million and some change) to stick a band-aid on a wounded interior defense, while also managing the potential losses of unrestricted free agents Jason Kidd, Brandon Bass, and James Singleton.  That’s excluding the unrestricted Gerald Green, who hasn’t offered much to the team as of now, and the restricted Ryan Hollins, who likely hasn’t done enough to warrant a big offer on the market.  Things could get much, much worse if there’s a free agent exodus.  Nelson needs to take care of business, hold on to whatever assets the Mavs can (there’s no unique reason the Mavs can’t hold on to their free agents) and look in by looking outward.  The Mavs aren’t going to show a world of improvement next season unless they can secure some help inside and on the wing, and it’s going to take everything in Donnie Nelson’s bag of tricks to get the job done.  I’m ready for some fireworks, Donnie, so give us a show.

On the bright side, the economy has many owners feeling light in the pocketbook.  Few teams have the salary cap room to make outrageous offers to the free agents on the Mavs’ radar.  And with 2010 seeming but a hop, skip, and a jump away, rebuilding teams will be reluctant to throw big money toward marginal stars.  This a damn near ideal situation for the Mavs to swoop in on the prizes of the free agent class.  The full midlevel may be the most attractive offer that many of these free agents see, meaning the Mavs are in the thick of this market.  Compound all of that with an owner clearly willing to pay the luxury tax, and that’s quite a lot going in the Mavs’ favor.

Free agency officially begins at midnight (ET, 11 PM CST) tonight.  Getcha popcorn ready.

Heard It Through the Free Agency Grapevine

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under xOther | Be the First to Comment

  • In a few weeks, I’d hope that this photo is nothing but a Mavericks fan wearing a jersey of a Mavericks player.  ‘Quis doesn’t quite solve all of our problems (though he’s certainly better than Antoine Wright), but if the Mavs could ink him to a reasonable deal, I wouldn’t mind using up a chunk of the MLE after some of our other options are exhausted.  Then again, I’m a sucker for ‘Quis.
  • Sean Deveney breaks down the context of this year’s free agent crop.
  • Some absolutely horrible news came out of Houston yesterday: Yao Ming’s problematic foot may cost him the season, and possibly even more than that.  The Rox were already looking at a year largely without Tracy McGrady, and Ron Artest is an unrestricted free agent.  I won’t even try to dig around in Artest’s head for his intentions, but keeping Ron-Ron in Houston just got a bit tricky.
  • On a slightly brighter note (and one that has nothing to do with free agency), the Rockets took over operations for the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.  Not only will there be three D-League squads in Texas (Austin, Frisco, RGV), but all three will be controlled by their respective big league counterparts.  We’ve never been the most progressive state in the world, but in the realm of basketball development, Texas is right there on the forefront.
  • The Mavs and second round pick Nick Calathes apparently both agree that it’s in Calathes’ best interest to play in Europe this season.  Hopefully we’ll see Calathes, who was in the 1st round ballpark, talent-wise, with the Mavs in 2010 or 2011.
  • The NY Daily News is reporting that the Knicks plan to meet up with Jason Kidd to discuss his free agency tomorrow morning.  In the back of your mind, note that this is the Daily News.  That’s all that really needs to be said on that subject.  Still, I don’t doubt the Knicks having some very real interest in Kidd.  Ideally (for New York, at least), Kidd could help lure some bigger names to the Big Apple, while running D’Antoni’s offense better than Chris Duhon ever could.  The question remains if Kidd wants to put a chance for a championship on hold, despite what could be similar offers coming from contending teams.  Kidd could make sense on either the Lakers or the Cavs, and if either team offered him the full midlevel (though L.A.’s tax situation makes the extra salary quite a burden), would Kidd really turn them down to suit up in New York?  Of course, let’s not forget the Mavs in all of this; Mark Cuban has made it crystal clear that the Mavs don’t just want Kidd back, they need him back.  It’s tough to get a read on exactly how Kidd viewed his most recent stop in Dallas.  But supposing there weren’t any ill wills, the Mavs should have the inside track to re-signing Kidd by holding up a bigger check.
  • So far, the trade market has dictated a bit of a rich-getting-richer, poor-getting-poorer atmosphere.  The Spurs get Richard Jefferson while the Bucks save money.  The Magic get Vince Carter while the Nets save money and get younger.  While I wouldn’t say the Mavs are as rich as Orlando or San Antonio, they can certainly benefit from a similar mindset.  Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson have spoken frequently about taking advantage of the opportunities that arise, and the climate seems ripe for the capitalizing.
  • Retaining Brandon Bass should be, and likely will be, high on the Mavs’ list of priorities.  As the Morning News points out, the Mavs can offer Bass a long-term, competitive contract without actually using up their midlevel exception.  That would allow Nelson to secure frontcourt depth while also taking aim for a player like Rasheed Wallace or Marcin Gortat.  Considering the generally poor cap situation going into 2010, I’d hate to see Bass walk out the door for no compensation whatsoever.

If Smirks Could Kill

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 27, 2009 under News, xOther | 5 Comments to Read

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

Glad to see Beaubois rockin’ the French flag ‘links for the second day straight.  Tremendous.  Plus, it’s his first day in the league and he’s already a pro at the confident smirk.

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

The Freedom Point Guard

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 25, 2009 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 9 Comments to Read

Rodrigue Beaubois is difficult to peg, because not many here in the U.S. have ever seen him play.  He didn’t have the benefit of the NCAA tourney to showcase his abilities, nor the exposure of a big college program to get his name out.

While that makes Beaubois awfully hard to peg in terms of his production in year one, it also may be what allows the Mavs to grab “their guy” at the tail end of the first round.

According to Rick Carlisle, the Mavs had their eyes on Beaubois all along.  Despite the relative upheaval at the top of the draft, the Mavs’ draft strategy held true, leaving the player they wanted exactly where they thought he’d be.  Beaubois gives the Mavs a legitimate long-term option at point guard, though he certainly has a long way to go before he’s ready to fill Jason Kidd’s considerable shoes.

Carlisle also noted that contrary to reports indicating otherwise, Beaubois WILL be in Dallas next year.  The only place that Rodrigue may find himself stashed would be in the D-League.  He’ll make his Maverick debut for this year’s summer team, where we’ll get a quick barometer of Beaubois against the most inexperienced, unrefined, and defensively raw talent the league has to offer.  Still, that’s more game tape than we have until this point.  Finding actual film of Beaubois requires a journey to the ends of the earth, a keen eye for spotting DVDs in the nest of a pterodactyl, and an unreasonable amount of traveler’s savvy.  Trust me, it’s quite the quest.

Based on the information we do have on Beaubois, he seems like an intriguing pick.  His reputation is based on his speed and ability to play man defense, which is precisely what the Mavs should be targeting in their point guards going forward.  Tim Varner of 48 Minutes of Hell noted Beaubois’ passion for D after meeting him at the combine:

Rodrigue Beaubois didn’t say anything striking, but his enthusiasm about playing defense was notable. “When I was younger I didn’t really think about defense. Now it feels so good to stop the other player. I enjoy it.” Now read his words again, but imagine a big smile and an exceedingly cheerful tone.

On top of putting extra emphasis on the better half of the basketball court, Beaubois also had some of the best measurables in the draft:

  • 39” vertical (second in the draft to only Jonny Flynn)
  • 6’9.75” wingspan, which beats out the 6’9” Omri Casspi, the 6’6” Terrence Williams, and the 6’7” Chase Budinger.
  • He bested Flynn, Tyreke Evans, Jeff Teague, and Jrue Holiday in the measured sprints.
  • Beaubois ranked 3rd on the combine’s agility test, just hairs behind Darren Collison and Jack McClinton.

Obviously, the physical tools are there for Beaubois to not only be a phenomenal defender at the point, but also a killer penetrator.  His playmaking skills are rumored to be a little lacking in comparison to his draftmates, but Rodrigue won’t be expected to manage too much of the offense for some time.

Ay, there’s the rub.  It’s hard enough to find a capable player in this draft, much less one that fulfills the Maverick want of instant contribution.  Courtney Lee has become the stuff of legend, a late first rounder capable of becoming something of a defensive stopper in half-a-season flat.  That’s what the Mavs need given their core as currently constructed, and there were certainly better avenues to meet that need than Rodrigue Beaubois.

I love the pick of Beaubois in terms of the team’s future, but Carlisle himself was reluctant to say that Rodrigue had the look of a rotation player next season.

But do you know what he’s not?  B.J. Mullens.  Beaubois has a bright future in the NBA, which is frankly more than I can say for Mr. Mullens.  It might be easier to evaluate the pick of Beaubois with a bit of distance from the draft, because frankly, I’m just glad he’s not an awkward, gangly center.  Did the Mavs achieve what should have been their primary objective in this draft?  No, they did not; Wayne Ellington, Marcus Thornton, Sam Young, and DeJuan Blair are all capable of making an immediate contribution to a team.  Not necessarily as a starter or even a sixth man, but certainly in the rotation.

It’s not quite the reinforcements that MFFLs had in mind, but I’ll take a point guard prospect with some raw tools and upside over no hope at all.  One of the reasons why the Mavs’ outlook is a bit dim is because of the lack of a great hope.  Even the younger players on the team have relatively low ceilings, or serious flaws that may prevent them from becoming long-term starters.  Beaubois won’t be parachuting in from the sky, ammo slung over his shoulder, dual machine guns in hand and a cigar hanging from his lips.  There is a bit of hope for the future of the point guard position, which is something we couldn’t say on Wednesday.

Count to Three and Take Deep Breaths

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under News, Roster Moves | 10 Comments to Read

Just minutes after giving Maverick nation a collective heart attack, Ric Bucher comes through in the clutch to announce the the Mavs and Thunder swapped the 24th and 25th picks, leaving the Mavs with foreign point guard prospect Rodrigue Beaubois.  Much, MUCH, better than B.J. Mullens.

Faith restored, but I’ll never forgive Donnie for my near-fatal encounter with shock.

EDIT: It was just announced that the Mavs have also acquired a future second rounder in the deal.  Whoo!

With the 24th Pick in the 2009 NBA Draft…

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under News, Roster Moves | 2 Comments to Read

Donnie Nelson just did the unthinkable.  With quite a few intriguing prospects still on the draft board (including the revered DeJuan Blair from Pittsburgh, among others), he elected to select B.J. Mullens — THE B.J. Mullens from Ohio State University.

I’m glad I’m here at the AAC for the press conference post-draft, because Nelson’s got some ‘splaining to do.

Epic Network-Wide Draft Live Blog

Posted by Rob Mahoney on under xOther | Comments are off for this article

NBA heads from all over the TrueHoop Network will be rocking a draft live blog ALL NIGHT LONG.  Well, from 4 PM CST until when everyone’s energy flames out in the middle of the second round.  If for some reason the chat box does not appear in this post, check out Hardwood Paroxysm or any other blog on the network.  It’s a family, people.

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&#038;task=viewaltcast&#038;altcast_code=c107dde33d” mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&amp;task=viewaltcast&amp;altcast_code=c107dde33d” >TrueHoop Network NBA Draft Liveblog-O-Rama-Rama</a>