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Posted by Rob Mahoney on July 25, 2012 under Commentary, Roster Moves | 10 Comments to Read

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As we’ve come to better know and understand the basic form of this particular Dallas Mavericks roster, we’ve only become all the more familiar with its limitations. Even after acquiring Elton Brand, O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison, and Dahntay Jones, this was (and is) still a team in need — of perimeter and interior defense, of consistent ball-handling, of creative playmaking, and of dependable long-range shooting. The Mavs managed to address almost all of those issues through the re-signing of Delonte West (per Marc Stein of ESPN.com), and while Dallas is still a tier or two away from even hopeful contention, this low-cost play is a perfect use of the team’s 14th roster spot.

I’ve sung West’s praises plenty in this space, and I’d suppose that most who have watched him play basketball since 2007 have done the same in their own forums of choice. His skill set and approach to the game are simply that charismatic; every franchise is in need of its star players, shot creators, and rim-protecting bigs, but West fills the voids in between those pillars too well and too dependably not to be appreciated.

Everything that West does seems to be tainted by the string of colorful events to his name and his very public trials with bipolar disorder, but the man has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt by this point. If some teams really were reluctant to sign such a terrific role player based on foolish or outdated reasoning, then their lack of vision only pans out for the Mavericks’ gain; West should have been well out of Dallas’ price range given his on-court value, and yet a hesitation in the market has revived a perfect pairing between player and team. The Mavs may not have been able to give West the paycheck he deserves given their cap limitations, but they will nonetheless provide the same kind of stable culture and open system that allowed West to have a career year least season.

In exchange, the Mavericks now have a player capable of handling the ball either in lieu of or alongside O.J. Mayo. They have an all-purpose complement to Darren Collison, and a safety net familiar with all of Rick Carlisle’s sets. They have a player who can stretch the floor (in stark contrast to rotation replacement Dominique Jones) to play off of Shawn Marion and Dahntay Jones without surrendering the slightest bit of defensive tenacity. They have a smart, instinctive player who adds motion to a sometimes stagnant offense. It’s almost unthinkable that the Mavs would be able to get a player that effective and that versatile on a slim, one-year deal, yet here we are, and there is West — playing out another season as if there were something to prove to future employers, even though he and his game have already proven so much.

  • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

    Delighted by this resigning. Also makes the drafting of Cunningham rather pointless. He was already going to be behind Roddy and Jones. That, by my look at the depth chart, basically, makes him the 6th-7th guard in the rotation. 

    Anyway, happy for Delonte. 

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com/ Rob Mahoney

      Post coming on this very subject at some point today or tomorrow.

  • Cain17103

    I'm glad D West is back, he is a solid player, but I think this article over rates him quite a bit. West is solid, nothing more than a glue guy. He's also had his share of on/off court issues that scared teams away. He's simply not good enough for teams to over look that he has that “knucklehead gene”. Do you really want a guy that may give you 10 points a game, but may also get fined for giving a guy a “wet willy” for no apparent reason?

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com/ Rob Mahoney

      He's a terrific (and versatile) perimeter defender, makes good cuts and takes smart shots, can make plays off the dribble, passes well, and doesn't hurt your team in any capacity whatsoever. If the tradeoff for that is a wet willy and a slap on the wrist from the league, then that's more than worth it.

      It's not about the 10 points a game; it's about how he gets those 10 points and everything that falls in between. 

      • http://twitter.com/FromWayDowntown FromWayDowntown

         I disagree with your assessments from time to time but with regard to Delonte I am totally on your site. I am very glad he stays.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mr.tapeguy Craig Berlin

    in need — of perimeter and interior defense (Collinson, Dahntay Jones, Kaman, Brand, James?)of consistent ball-handling (is this a problem for Collison?)of creative playmaking (is this a problem for Collison?)and of dependable long-range shooting (Dirk, Vince Carter, Marion, Dahntay Jones and rookies, albeit less 3-ball power)thinking not as bad as you say…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QXBCQX2V3GJRNUMRY5VQ75GWJ4 bflood36

      Yes, but Collison can't play 48 minutes per game.

    • http://www.thetwomangame.com/ Rob Mahoney

      Defense: Of all those players, only Brand and Jones are plus defenders. Collison is quick but very inconsistent, and Kaman is a good shot blocker but a poor team defender. James won't play, and if he did, asking him to anchor a defense would be a bit audacious.

      Ball-handling/playmaking: Both apply to Collison, who's a sturdy guard capable of executing offense, but lacking in the faculties to really elevate said offense. He's a good player to have around and only getting better, but given what we've seen from him at this point, I wouldn't expect an elite offense to come by his hand.

      That said, my concerns were much more applicable to the second unit, and more specifically applicable to avoiding having Mayo function as a back-up point. He's capable of doing so in a pinch, but much better when he's technically slotted off the ball and able to contribute to the initiation of the offense more sparingly.

      Long-range shooting: Dirk? Absolutely. Vince? Yup. Marion? .294 last season, .152 the season prior, .158 the season before that — all in Dallas. Jones? Trending upward, but still has far too little shooting volume to lean on. He shot .429 last season (the best mark of his career), but only shot 77 threes. 

      Given the way that Rick Carlisle likes to structure his lineups, having another shooter around is a huge help. At best, Collison and Jones are reluctant shooters, making it all the more important that West is around to fire away when called upon.

  • Jeffrey Thompson

    It's not Delonte's mental state that's the problem, it is his consistency on the court performance which probably have other teams wary of signing.  Bipolars are like a box of chocolates–you never know what you're going to get.   Lets not forget to mention the consistent monitoring of his symptoms and ensuring that he takes his medication. All those are real concerns and to dismiss them as “outdated” is extremely unfair to say.