With the new wave of players, the sense of excitement is palatable. With the American Airlines Center dormant for the first time during the playoffs since Mark Cuban took over the team, the Mavs made another attempt to reload their roster. There are some very intriguing names that have been added to the mix.
With the new players up for discussion again, the Two Man Game crew answers another question relating to them.
Once again, it’s time to run the weave.
Which new acquisition are you looking forward to seeing the most?
Kirk Henderson, @KirkSeriousFace: I’m terrified of Monta Ellis. But one goes to a horror movie because one enjoys being frightened. Monta might very well be a train wreck in Dallas; with eight seasons of professional basketball under his belt, I’m skeptical of him being able to change as a player. At some point, you are who you are, and it’s very likely that Monta Ellis is simply a high volume shooter who doesn’t really grasp his strengths. He’s also never played for a coach as diverse as Rick Carlisle or a superstar as impressive as Dirk Nowitzki. If the Maverick coaching staff can get Monta’s FGA per game down to 12-13 and convince him shooting off the dribble is not in anyone’s best interest, then there’s hope he can live up to his sizable deal.
David Hopkins, @davidhopkins: Jose Calderon or Monta Ellis? Ellis or Calderon? I’ll go with Ellis. I’m curious to see how he functions in the tall shadow of Nowitzki. It’ll be hard to replace what Nowitzki and Jason Terry had on the court, but the German needs another scorer to carry some of the load. People complain about Ellis’s efficiency, but I remember Terry taking some crazy shots and making some questionable moves. Jason Terry, Nick Van Exel — Dirk Nowitzki thrives in a “swagger heavy” environment. If Monta Ellis still thinks he “have it all,” I’ll take it.
Connor Huchton, @ConnorHuchton: Jose Calderon, who I expect to make every single one of his threes this season.
Ian Levy, @HickoryHigh: Devin Harris, if no other reason than nostalgia. I’ll admit that I didn’t watch his campaigns with the Jazz and Hawks that closely. I caught glimpses of his shuffle into mediocrity and read about it sporadically at other blogs. At this point of his career he’s a player with clear strengths and clearer weaknesses, established and fully formed. He is not the future of the Mavericks and is probably only a sliver of their present. But I was so attached to him when he first came into the league with Dallas and really felt like he could have been a more complete player if he’d been able to stay with the Mavs. He never turned into the player we all thought he could be. But I’m really excited for another chance to root for the player he is.
Brian Rubaie, @DirksRevenge: Jose Calderon, for reasons both good and bad. It will be exciting to watch Calderon distribute the ball to a host of good shooters. Calderon is an above-average distributor, a title earned as the three-time NBA leader in assists-to-turnover ratio. While he may never distribute at the level of former Mavs Steve Nash and Jason Kidd, he can shoot the three far more effectively than either could ever fathom.
Calderon’s defense and age are worrisome. This Mavericks team, starting Calderon, Ellis and Dirk, will sacrifice a lot on defense. Can Calderon, surrounded by other veterans and guided by Carlisle, strengthen his individual defense? If he doesn’t, can Shawn Marion and Samuel Dalembert provide enough in relief to prevent other teams from scoring 100-plus points? If both these factors work well in 2013-2014, can they be replicated? These are the haunting questions that will guide worried eyes towards Calderon.
Travis Wimberly, @TravisRW: From an intellectual standpoint, it’s Ellis. He’s got the most raw talent, the most exciting style of play, and the most variance (which is entertaining in its own right).
From an emotional standpoint, it’s Devin Harris. He was a widely-revered fan favorite, and a personal favorite of mine, during his previous Dallas stint. That the Mavs were able to acquire him for the veteran’s minimum (assist to his minor toe injury) is nothing short of spectacular. He won’t be the Mavs’ most important player this season, but don’t be surprised if he has a significant impact. And in any event, I look forward to seeing him back in a Dallas jersey.