Size (Does or Doesn’t) Matter

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on May 16, 2013 under Commentary | Read the First Comment


Point guard or center: Where do the Mavs focus their attention this summer? That is the question. Last week, we covered how both positions were clearly below expectations for the Mavs and that they need to replenish those positions with upgrades.

I posed the hypothetical question to’s Tim MacMahon during one of our Bloom and Doom sessions during the year about whether Tyson Chandler or J.J. Barea would have been more valuable to Dallas during this season.

Looking back at that, I still feel like I can make that argument and live with it. The better question might be who they miss more out of Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler. You can make an argument for Chandler and I’m not going to scoff at it. That said, Tyson Chandler can be an incredible two-way player as a big, but he still needs a point guard who can throw him lobs in the pick and roll to be truly effective. I have a hard time believing he would have the exact same defensive impact as he did in 2011 because he would have had too much funneled his way due to bad defensive habits by the guards.

One thing is for certain, radio play-by-play voice for the Dallas Mavericks Chuck Cooperstein is definitely old school.

I think Zach Lowe, a favorite here at the Two Man Game, hit the nail on the head in his Big Man, Small Man column. Small ball is still the rage and this is still a point guard-driven league, but having a capable big man is still a powerful asset. I don’t think you need a dominant big man to make things work, though. To quote Zach from his article, “A big guy who can actually play both ends of the floor at a B-plus level is the most valuable non-superstar commodity in the league.” That is about as on the nose as you can possibly get.

A defense-first rim protector who is elite at those skills but is putrid on offense could easily be a starter, but foul trouble or other issues could easily limit that man. A one-way big on offense will likely get a ton of money on the market, but they’re still going to be extremely limited. If you can’t protect the paint, you’re going to be in trouble. Both specialists are valuable, but the one who can do both at an adequate ability is the diamond in the rough.

Being that those are harder to find, you go small and go for the guard. Everyone saw how the Mavs fared in the halfcourt setting this year. They weren’t very fluid and things really were ugly until the end of the shot clock or when Dirk got the basketball. Getting Dirk the ball was even a challenge. Guards simply didn’t know how to conduct an entry pass and the court vision was terrible. I started counting times during games where Dirk was on the figurative island, no defender with 4-5 feet, and he was waving his arms in the air, demanding the ball. This exercise grew extremely tiresome when the second hand made the turn into winding back up the first hand.

Like I mentioned earlier, Barea might not be the greatest example of a point guard, but Jason Kidd certainly worked out. That’s why the Mavs paid as much as they did (two first round picks, Devin Harris and company) to acquire Kidd. They knew Harris wasn’t going to cut it, due to health and ability, as the team’s point guard. They needed that basketball IQ to go up in a big way. Time has passed, and the situation remains the same.

Complimentary pieces remain an issue for the Mavs and they’ll fit into place once the bigger fish are fried. They must address the point guard and center positions, exactly in that order.

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

  • Jon

    I do not concur. Kidd was here a year ago and we were swept out the first round, pinpoint passing accuracy aside.

    As long as Dirk is the focal point of an offense, you need someone who can cover for him, and the rest of the team, defensively on the back line. An agile, capable PnR defender at the 5 is the team’s primary need.