Thinking Inside the Box

Posted by Rob Mahoney on January 11, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

If the Mavs decide to fill their final roster spot with a veteran, we can only hope that they’re capable of real, on-court contributions. If the Portland Trailblazers’ season has taught us anything, it’s that your reserves (and your reserves’ reserves) need to not only be ready to play, but capable of playing. That’s the real benefit of having a deep roster, and though guys like Quinton Ross, Tim Thomas, and James Singleton are tried and true role players, the Mavs have an opportunity to add another competent body to the roster following the two-for-one trade that landed Eduardo Najera.

Jake Voskuhl, C: Voskuhl was a late cut from the training camp roster, and likely would have been offered a contract if not for the presence of Shawne Williams on the roster. The Mavs were resolved to find a taker for Williams’ contract, and now that they have, his spot on the roster is up for grabs. Voskuhl doesn’t do anything terribly well aside from sop up minutes. He has good size (6’11”) but he’s a bit slow of foot, which makes him a better defensive match-up for more traditional, back-to-the-basket bigs. Jake won’t change the game, but he hedges the damage of going to a third string center as a last line of defense by rebounding and blocking shots at a decent rate.

Rashad McCants, SG: The Mavs brought in McCants for an off-season workout, but apparently were not impressed enough to move earth to find him a spot on the roster. His defense can be a bit suspect (in both technique and effort level), and he’s not a great distributor or rebounder for his position, but McCants puts up points. He’s hovered around 20 points per 36 minutes over the last two seasons, and though he doesn’t score at a particularly efficient rate, McCants is a decent option from long range (.368 over his career). I’m not sure that a shooting guard is what the Mavs would or should be looking for, but their past interest in McCants earns him a spot on the list.

Jerry Stackhouse, SG: Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen.

Mike Taylor, PG: Mike Taylor is very much a scoring point guard, but he’s an NBA-level talent. Taylor is quick and frighteningly athletic, but his courtvision is mediocre at best. Provided the Mavs aren’t looking for a distributor, Taylor could be an interesting addition. He’s not terribly skilled defensively, but what Taylor could provide in terms of athleticism and scoring could make him a player of interest. Then again, if the Mavs are looking for athleticism and scoring at the point guard position, why not turn to Rodrigue Beaubois?

Stromile Swift, PF/C: Swift is currently playing professionally in China after playing in just 19 NBA games last season. Swift was and is a leaper; his limited success in the basketball world has been predicated almost entirely on his athleticism, and where many saw potential we know find an aging athlete with little in the way of fundamentals. Swift is not a good interior defender save for his help-side shot blocking, and his offensive arsenal mostly consists of finishes at the rim. He’s a big body, but one contribute much to what the Mavs’ are trying to accomplish defensively or offensively. The 76ers actually signed Swift to a contract in September, but waived him before the regular season began. And hey, if Swift isn’t good enough for the Sixers, he’s probably not good enough for the Mavericks.

Wally Szczerbiak, SG/SF: There was a time where Wally Szczerbiak had not only the distinction of being the NBA’s premier dreamboat, but a completely overrated All-Star. Alongside Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, Wally chipped in around 15 points per game on decent percentages, with a couple of assists and rebounds to boot. But he was still a bit underwhelming as a player, and certainly so as a defender. That was almost a decade ago, and the years have not been kind to Szczerbiak’s lateral movement. He’s useful in a role as a spot-up shooter (most recently, he shot .411 from deep with Cleveland), but is a complete and utter liability on defense and has no other marketable offensive skill. Not a bad choice if the Mavs are looking for someone to camp in a corner, but he would compromise the Mavs’ perimeter D in ways you wouldn’t even believe.