With six days until free agency begins, it’s time to officially start naming names as ideal targets for free agency. This week, The Two Man Game will go through each position and determine who appears to be ideal fits for the Mavs.
Money is always an issue, but the Mavs will have their share of cap space to work with.
Meshing all the pieces is just as important of a part of deciding on the pieces. The number one option at shooting guard might not be an ideal match with the number one option at small forward. These rankings will be solely on my own projections. A quick blurb from Editor-in-Chief Rob Mahoney’s free agency primer on the SI.com’s Point Forward will be mentioned for each player.
Let’s look at the free agent options at the shooting guard position.
1. Andre Iguodala
What Mahoney said: The 29-year-old is a marvelous defender whose size and speed allow him to handle all kinds of potential mismatches, whether switched onto an opposing point guard in a pick-and-roll or picking up a big man in transition.
Iguodala has been a jack of trades kind of player that remains underrated. Both Iguodala and Shawn Marion could commiserate together on how the league usually has their efforts go unnoticed. The versatile wing player will never be “the guy” on your team, but he really doesn’t need to be with Dirk Nowitzki still on board.
His ability to drive to the rim and push the tempo would be a welcomed sight to the offense. While he can shy away from scoring or shooter, he won’t hesitate as a penetrator or passer. With Chris Paul and Dwight Howard stealing the top honors for free agency, Iguodala arguably sits right behind them as the next elite free agent on the market. The difference with him is that he sounds like an option that is more obtainable that the other two. A potential spacing issue would be involved if Iguodala joined Marion on the wing. It almost feels like there would have to be a follow up move made to add a shooter.
2. Tyreke Evans [Restricted Free Agent]
What Mahoney said: Public opinion of Evans’ game may have cooled, but he’s still a rare athlete with solid individual skills, albeit ones that have yet to be harnessed in a way that would make him a prized asset of a winning team.
Some people forget that Evans was the league’s Rookie of the Year during the 2009-2010 season. He turned the league on its side as he showed some elite level versatility. He became the fourth player in league history to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in his rookie year. The other players on the list: Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Whether it was injuries, lack of continuity or organizational ineptitude, Evans has been underwhelming since his rookie year. You have to remember Evans won’t turn 24 until September. The question is, was the rookie year an aberration or did he set the bar too high in his first year, only setting himself up to fail? One thing is for certain, a change of scenery couldn’t hurt Evans. The fact he is a restricted free agent makes it less than likely that the Mavs will pursue him.
3. Tony Allen
What Mahoney said: General managers will have the unenviable task of determining what elite defense — at the cost of offensive spacing and flow — is really worth.
Assessing Allen’s value truly is a challenge. It still begins and ends on defense for Allen. It’s hard to imagine that Mavs coach Rick Carlisle wouldn’t love to have Allen on his team. The list of elite perimeter defenders would have Allen on it. His tough, no nonsense attitude would be a welcomed addition to the Mavs locker room.
Like Iguodala, Allen doesn’t seem like an optimal fit if Shawn Marion is still on board. Marion does more in terms of spacing and shooting when being compared to Allen. Maybe Allen fits more into a position like DeShawn Stevenson was during 2010-11 where he is used to set the tone defensively to start the game and then is used sporadically during the remainder of the game. That has to be taken into consideration, based on his limited offensive game.
4. J.J. Redick
What Mahoney said: The balance of his shooting form makes him a threat both off the catch and off the dribble, with the latter becoming an increasingly prevalent aspect of his game as he gets more comfortable in executing pick-and-rolls.
What Redick has been able to do to further develop his game is quite impressive. Many saw him coming into to the league as a one-dimensional player, coming from a program that hasn’t had the greatest track record in producing pro talent. What Redick lacks in athleticism is made up in drive.
He’s not the most ideal offensive catalyst, but Redick does provide a functionality that teams would certainly love to obtain. Redick appeared primed to earn a pretty penny as he was still in Orlando. After being traded to Milwaukee as a deadline deal, he was used within a three-way rotation with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. Some would say that the reduced role and inconsistent opportunities in Milwaukee might lower his asking price. It will be interesting to see the end game for Redick this summer.
5. O.J. Mayo
What Mahoney said: He largely makes good, reasonable plays, but tends to commit strange turnovers at unfortunate times and clams up a bit when handling against staunch pressure.
Oh, O.J. It was a tail of two periods for Mayo during his time with the Mavs last season. The first one saw Mayo look like he was ready to handle the load of being “the guy” while Dirk Nowitzki was rehabilitating from his knee surgery. As he had to deal with opposing defenses locking in on him, Mayo was answering the bell. It led to immense intrigue as people wanted to see how he could work and play alongside Nowitzki.
Whether it was mental or physical fatigue, Mayo simply broke down in the second part. He drew the ire of his head coach and did a terrible job of protecting the basketball. His defense was relatively non-existent, as well.
His ability to shoot the ball and the amount of time the staff spent on developing him does make it to where the Mavs would be interested in bringing him back. As it was mentioned above, price will be the determining factor. That said, I think there would have to be a serious set of circumstances that went against the Mavs in order for Mayo to come back to Dallas. With his shooting and age, he can still find a team that will pay him a healthy amount.
Note: Though he’s not in the top five, Anthony Morrow is a name worth keeping tabs on as free agency hits its second or third wave. The Mavs acquired Morrow at the trade deadline. He sporadically played, but he showed more of an offensive game than I believed he had when he saw time. Teams can never have enough shooters or spacers on the floor. It’s hard to imagine he’ll get a lucrative deal, so he might have to take a one-year deal in order to have a chance at a better deal the following summer.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University, studying ideologies of Clark Kent. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.