Exploring Two Agendas

Posted by Rob Mahoney on November 29, 2010 under Commentary, News | Be the First to Comment

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It’s been a pretty interesting first two weeks of existence for the Texas Legends. The Mavs’ D-League affiliate is off to a 2-1 start after winning back-to-back games against the Idaho Stampede, and on top of the excitement of a young season, the Legends have added two players of note to their roster.

First, the Legends added 2008 lottery pick Joe Alexander to their current crew thanks to a waiver claim (he was essentially a late admission into the D-League pool), and he’s stepped in to produce immediately. In his two games for the Legends thus far, Alexander has averaged 19.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per context. He still isn’t ready to step into a contributing role in the NBA, but it would honestly surprise me if Alexander goes the entire D-League season without an eventual call-up. Limited though he may be, Alexander is worthy of a spot on someone’s bench, even if a stint in the D is far more beneficial than watching the first years of his career pass him by from some NBA club’s bench. The Legends will reap the benefits of Alexander’s production as long as they can, but it’s clear he’s not long for this D-League world.

Additionally, it seems that Rashad McCants has finally decided to grace the Legends with his presence, and he could play as early as tomorrow night. McCants immediately becomes the Legends’ best player and most likely call-up prospect, and should he really strut his stuff against D-League competition, he too seems destined for a spot on an NBA roster. It’s hard to gauge the nature of the relations between McCants and the Legends at this point given their awkward introduction, but he’s shown up, so that’s a start. It’s likely that McCants understands the D-League’s benefit to those on the NBA’s fringe, and that regardless of his prior relations with the Legends specifically, he’s willing to give it a go in the name of resuming his NBA career. Take that speculation as you will, though, or throw it out entirely. The far more important fact is that McCants will be a Legend, and though Dallas doesn’t figure to be a likely suitor for his services given their cluttered wings, he’s a player worth keeping an eye on should the Mavs face any unfortunate injuries.

Both are solid moves for the Legends, but unfortunately with the roster the Mavs have at present, neither figures to impact the mothership in any meaningful way. Alexander could conceivably play some minutes behind Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion, but he’s hardly a more deserving contributor than Ian Mahinmi or Brian Cardinal. McCants may be useful to some team, but to add him when Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion, DeShawn Stevenson, and eventually Rodrigue Beaubois are all competing for minutes is just foolish. Neither is a defensive standout (or even defensively competent, at this point), nor do they offer skills that can’t be found elsewhere on the roster. We should think of the Mavs and Legends as part of the same whole, but these particular moves aren’t likely to serve Dallas this season unless injuries become a significant problem.

A final footnote on McCants, via Marc Stein’s report for ESPN Dallas:

The delay in McCants’ arrival, one source close to the 26-year-old insisted, stemmed from a few lucrative offers in China that he ultimately turned down to join what ranks as a star-studded lineup by D-League standards.

The maximum salary in the D-League is $25,500 – well shy of the $2.6 million McCants earned in his last season in the NBA with Minnesota and Sacramento in 2008-09 – but the source said McCants intends to donate his Legends checks to the Urban Born youth and teen charity foundation (www.urbanborn.org).