Point of No Return

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 6, 2013 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

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This week, we’re going to look at each position on the floor and determine where things went wrong and what needs to change or areas of need from each position. Names will be named soon. Before you can do that, you at least need to assess, digest and progress.

This was easily the most unstable position for the Mavs during the season. Going back to the real start of the season, the offseason, the instability began. Dallas felt like they had Jason Kidd and Delonte West to sure up the position only to find out they’d have neither of them at the start of the season. Kidd bailed on Dallas at the last minute to join up with the New York Knicks. Due to multiple suspensions due to performing conduct detrimental to the team, West was released before the start of the season.

They then decided to make a trade with the Indiana Pacers, acquiring Darren Collison and Dahntay Jones for Ian Mahinmi. There were hopes of him being the point guard of the future.

Summing it up:

Darren Collison showed flashes of potential over the course of the season, but he never really seemed to be comfortable on the floor. To be honest, his defense wasn’t very good. Of the final 15 players who finished the season with the Mavs, Collison had the fourth worst defensive rating for the season at 109. Taking into account guys like Anthony Morrow and Josh Akognon weren’t on the team for very long and logged low minutes, the ranking should be even worse for Collison.

Collison just didn’t seem very sure of himself on offense, either. He never got in a groove with Dirk Nowitzki in the pick and roll. He usually kept his head down when he was driving to the basket, thus blinding himself to potential bail out options as he drove. Maybe it was the fact that he was on a short leash with Rick Carlisle, but he just never really built any substantial steam as a point guard.

Literally coming off the street and the D-League, Mike James was the last point guard that ended up taking Darren Collison’s initial spot as the starting point guard for the team. Dallas ended up being 15-8 with James the starting point guard. He was an abysmal shooter from the perimeter to start his time with the Mavs but he ultimately got in a pretty good groove, shooting 43.2% (41-95 3FGs) from 3-point range in the final 25 games.

He was just as bad as Collison was on the defensive end of the floor, with a defensive rating of 110. Summing it up, it was essentially a swinging gate in terms of defense when it came to the point guard position.

What do they need?

They need someone who can “drive the bus.” They need the quarterback on the floor to be able to put everyone in a position to succeed. There were too many times during the season where it felt as if the Mavs never really knew what they were doing until the last few seconds of the shot clock. They need a point guard with a high level of basketball IQ who can get the offensive flowing smoother.

It begins and ends with Dirk. The point guard doesn’t have to be dynamic in the pick and roll game with Dirk, but they have to be at the very worst competent in operating in that setting. They can’t be a liability on the offensive end of the floor, and they must make the opponent pay in some form of fashion. As a passer, the point guard certainly needs to be able to get him the ball in the spots Dirk likes them. Again, there were far too many times were the guards, or anyone, didn’t feel comfortable handling the simple execution of an entry pass to Dirk. Whether teams were fronting him or it was a different angle, the entry pass was a lost art.

Without knowing the rest of the roster’s makeup, it’s tough to analyze what you need from the position in terms of a defender. For starters, something stronger than paper mache would be a good starting point when looking for defensive intangibles at that position. You might make some concessions in the defensive department as long as the player is a superior facilitator.

The free agent market should bring a relatively healthy amount of prospects for the Mavs to pick from at the point guard spot. It’s likely not ideal for them to work through the draft unless they want just to sign a free agent as a stopgap for a year or two. With that position being the weakest link of the season, they must ensure they replenish that spot in a big, big way.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.