It’s time to move into ranking the top 10 Mavericks in terms of projected importance for the team this coming season. For those that missed the back end of the rotation, here is a quick recap to get you up to speed:
15: Jared Cunningham
14: Bernard James
13. Dominique Jones
12. Dahntay Jones
11. Jae Crowder
All caught up? Good. Let’s move on and rank players 10 to 6 for the Mavericks.
10. Brandan Wright | F/C | Age: 25 |
The first free agent signing for the Mavericks during the summer of 2011 emerged as a nice change of pace player in the post. Wright showed extreme athleticism as he often had one-man dunk contests during games last season. He ended up leading the team in blocks per game with 1.3 and total blocks with 63. Wright had seven games last season with at least three blocks.
Wright still has limitations against bigger post players, but it does appear he has added some bulk during the summer. With Chris Kaman and Elton Brand in the frontcourt rotation and Shawn Marion able to play the power forward position in a pinch, Wright will likely remain as a change of pace option off the bench. Coach Rick Carlisle might be in need of a player like Wright when the team’s overall energy is down. Wright might not have his number called very often, but he will need to be ready at the drop of a hat.
9. Roddy Beaubois | G | Age: 24 |
Roddy B, from you, what will we see? From “Who is Roddy B” to “Free Roddy B,” Beaubois continues to be the leader in the clubhouse in terms of not knowing what to expect from a player. At this point, he’s still a chunk of clay that could be formed into anything. He can have flashes of greatness where he plays the game at an effortless level. Roddy can then back that up with moments of uncertainty. Both Roddy Beaubois and Darren Collison head into their fourth NBA season, but the two of them are in radically different parts of their career. Roddy needs health and stability above everything else. Unfortunately, health is already an issue as he’s suffered a left ankle injury in the team’s first preseason game against Alba Berlin.
Like Dominique Jones, this year appears to be a make or break season for Beaubois. Rick Carlisle said that this will be the year that Roddy puts it all together. There’s one thing that is on his side as he works towards the pursuit of putting it all together. He doesn’t have pressure to perform on him anymore. Coming into last season, Roddy was seen as the biggest x-factor for the team. He was being groomed to be the point guard of the future, the heir apparent to Jason Kidd. With that in mind, would he grow after becoming the first rookie to shoot at least 50 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range, and 80 percent from the free throw line or would he be the player that was unable to make any headway due to nagging injuries? The pressure and perceived expectations were too much and it was a lost 2011-12 season for Roddy. Now, with Collison and Mayo on board and West providing support, the pressure is off the French guard. The goal is not for Roddy to become the next Tony Parker, although that would not be bad. The goal is for Roddy to just be Roddy. He just needs to stay healthy and play free.
8. Delonte West | G | Age: 29|
He’s got that hot sauce in his bag. Delonte West quickly emerged as a fan favorite on the Mavericks last season with his toughness and willingness to wear his heart on his sleeve. He often floated between both guard positions and did relatively well in both spots. He ran into some tough luck during the season as he left during the game against the Denver Nuggets in mid February with a right finger fracture/dislocation. He ended up missing 31 games due to the injury.
Every team needs a player or two who is a little sideways, so Delonte brings value to the team in that fashion. When you add the fact he’s a player who won’t back down from a defensive challenge, limitations or not, there’s a lot to like about him. If things don’t go according to plan with either Darren Collison or O.J. Mayo, Rick Carlisle and company know that Delonte West will attempt to pick up the slack. He might not wow anyone, but he’ll give you everything he’s got.
7. Vince Carter | G/F | Age: 35 |
First of all, Vince Carter is 35. That blew me away when I was writing it down. He was behind the curve a little bit in his first season with the Mavericks last year. The lockout left him behind in terms of treatment, which was needed as he was dealing with knee tendonitis early in training camp. Through the ups and downs of the year, Carter averaged 10.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 25.3 minutes in 61 games (40 starts). He shot 41.1 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from 3-point range and 82.6 percent from the line.
Those numbers weren’t terrible for Carter, but having to play 25 minutes a night during a compressed season probably wasn’t the ideal scenario for the Tar Heel. With more depth at the guard position, Carter can focus more as Shawn Marion’s primary backup at the small forward position. This can be a case where less is more as Carter can focus strictly on being a bench player and help fill the void left by Jason Terry’s departure. The game against Alba Berlin could provide a template for success for Carter this season. He could embrace the role of a player who stretches the floor as a spot-up shooter from the perimeter, something that was done by former Maverick Jason Kidd. With players on the team being unselfish and wanting to make the extra pass, Carter could thrive from beyond the arc. The Mavs need someone to step up off the bench. Carter could be the man who answers the call.
6. Chris Kaman | C | Age: 30 |
For the record, this is where the ranking gets extremely difficult. After years of rumors suggesting the Mavericks would inquire about his services, the Mavericks signed Kaman through free agency. The other German, Kaman acquired citizenship due to his great-grandparents German heritage, is very family with Dirk Nowitzki’s game as he joined him as a member of the German National Team and helped the squad qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
As long as he can stay healthy, which is a big qualifier, Kaman will come into this season and quickly climb up to the top of the list in terms of the team’s most productive big man in terms of offense. Again, it depends on how healthy Kaman can be over the course of the season. He has missed 30 games on average for each of the last five seasons. His unique versatility in the post will keep defenders honest. With Dirk on the floor, both should have easier situations to operate under than they’ve had in quite some time.
On top of all of that, Kaman’s middle name is Zane. How cool is that?
Come back on Monday for the final installment, featuring the top five players in the Mavs’ rotation.