Spanish Flavor

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on July 5, 2013 under Commentary, News | Read the First Comment


The Mavs have made a move.

The thoughts of the NBA contracting the Dallas Mavericks based on them striking out on Dwight Howard were clearly premature. ESPN has reported that it will be a four-year deal for $29 million. This news came shortly after the news that O.J. Mayo was going to sign a three-year, $28 million deal. If you ask me for the money being equal or close to it, I’d rather have Calderon.

Calderon was ranked as the best point guard, outside of Chris Paul, on the free agent market. When it comes to shooting and protecting the ball, Calderon is about as good as it gets. The seven-year veteran has career averages of 11.3 points, 7.1 assists, .483 shooting from the field and .399 from 3-point range. His assist-to-turnover ratio is one of the best in the league, a spot where Dallas struggled tremendously at over the course of 2012-2013. He will certainly be able to direct traffic for the Mavs and space the floor with his ability to shoot the rock.

This isn’t all sunshine and daffodils for the Mavs, though. Calderon does have his warts. He struggles on the defensive end, to say the least. He has often drawn comparisons to Steve Nash due to his ability to facilitate for others, but it also rings true for his inability to stay in front of his man on defense. There is a footwork issue and that can also be seen in his lack of free throws attempted. For his career, he only has averaged 1.6 free throws per game.

That said, this was about making a move for addressing one of the weakest areas for the Mavs from last season. Calderon will take care of that issue. In addition, he will be a solid mentor for Shane Larkin and Gal Mekel as they try to find their way in the NBA.

Speaking with Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack on Twitter) covers all things hoop up in Toronto and she had nothing but high praise when it came to describing Calderon. She described him as a “true professional” and that he has “a really, really, really great presence” on the floor. She spoke of his ability to really direct traffic and put the ball in the spot that it really needs to go. It could be the makings of a Jason Kidd-like player that was at the tail end of his career, minus the defensive chops. In addition, she said that he’s “the nicest human being I’ve met in sports.” I know that doesn’t score any points, but that should count for something.

This move will likely also add years onto Dirk Nowitzki’s game on offense. It’s a given that Dirk operates better with a drive-the-bus point guard.  That is something extremely valuable for the Mavs. Making Dirk happy is always a good, good thing.

The Mavs will now need to address the shooting guard and center position. They will also need to decide what they want to do with Shawn Marion. Since free agency has been approaching, the thought was that they could trade Marion to obtain a defensive or more mobile center (like a Marcin Gortat). That still is a possibility. Either way, they’ll need to address those two positions, with center being the higher priority.

Dallas has roughly $10 million of cap space to work with. Things will clearly open up if they unload Marion for a piece or for space. Keep in mind, the years on Calderon’s deal sound a bit rich, but Mark Cuban said he would likely offer that amount of years in order to help soften the blow if they do end up using the stretch provision on players. It also shows that Cuban is sticking to his plan. If they weren’t able to get the big fish in Dwight Howard, they were going to start to bring in pieces that would help establish the new core for the Mavs.

The Mavs didn’t get Dwight, but they did address a major need. The ball is now rolling and they’ve got someone who can grab it and they know what to do with it.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He also attended Ball So Hard University. Bryan channels his inner-Clark Kent on a day-to-day basis. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.

  • jqpowell

    Great signing!

    There hasn’t been a lot to cheer about since 2011. Just a lot of hope and empty promises. I want to unleash some irrational exuberance. I know this is siloed but have people just forgotten about 2011? Dirk is still the best kept secret in the NBA and the title holder of the most underrated and under-appreciated player (sorry Pau).

    Calderon isn’t CP3 but as atrocious as his defense can be he washes it out with his offensive proficiency. It would be amazing to have a superstar PG but it was imperative for this team to find a serviceable player at least.

    Calderon is no savior but is a piece that aligns with the strategy of making incremental improvements in order compete for a championship again. We now know that championships are precious and we have first hand experience of the process it takes to earn the chance to win it all. All I want is for the Mavs to be able to make one more legitimate run with Dirk.

    Calderon has a unique portfolio of individual offensive skills that rivals ANY NBA PG. I have a feeling he is an example of a “bad situation guy” where the “sum of his parts” ended up operating at less than optimal efficiency. I do trust Donnie Nelson and company to construct a roster that allows Calderon to showcase his elite talent by surrounding him with complementary players. Barring injuries I am certain the Calderon acquisition will be viewed as a coup.

    Post script:

    - It would be ideal for Shane Larkin to improve on his PnR game by attacking the rim and becoming a crafty finisher. (Fingers crossed that he will be as productive as JJ Barea in 2-3 years).

    - I hope that the Mavs can bring in a couple of affordable defensive specialist (1 perimeter and 1 interior). Even if they are one-dimensional the addition of Calderon would help to offset their deficiencies.

    - No reason not to think that with a healthy Dirk we would have been a middle seed last season. Not making the playoffs didn’t kill me it was the helpless feeling that the season started with an expiration date. Hopefully this will be the last season that begins with an expiration date.