Monday, April 28, 2008

Scrap Heap

The talk is now unavoidable.  With the Mavericks now only one game away from summer vacation, the talk of blowing up this team and starting over is buzzing now more than ever.  It's never easy to watch a team that went to the finals - the only finals appearance in franchise history - get dissolved.  If, however, the end is inevitably near, I contend there are three players on this roster worth keeping.

He's one of the best players in the NBA.  A 7-foot, 3-point shooting superstar who is always good for 20-some-odd points and 8 or 9 boards.  If the Mavericks try to trade Nowitzki, there is no way they get equal value.  I realize that if you want to rebuild, you could ship him to a team that's on the fringe for some young talent, but Dirk is the face of this franchise.  He still have several good years left, and while they may not be his prime years, Nowitzki will be much more than a serviceable player for that time.  Bottom line: don't ever move superstars.  It never results well.  Ever.

The only possible reason to get rid of Dirk would be because this franchise is simply giving up and will willing to accept going to the very back of the pack in the Western Conference and starting over completely from scratch. 

The JET has a rather large contract - which, by the way, he earned after helping to get this team to the finals.  The argument against Terry is that he doesn't have an actual position.  Is he a 1?  Is he a 2?  I don't know which he is, but he's a solid player.  I get the sense he appreciates to be a contender (or what used to be a contender) after all his years in Atlanta.  He struggled at times this season, but the Mavs can count on him in the postseason - when it really matters.  A look at his playoff numbers the last few years:

YEAR .....   MPG ...  FG%  ...  3P%   ...   PPG
2004-05  ...  38.5  ...  50.6%  ...  49.1%  ...  17.5
2005-06  ...  38.4  ...  44.2%  ...  30.7%  ...  18.9
2006-07  ...  38.2  ...  42.4%  ...  28.1%  ...  17.0
2007-08  ...  34.0  ...  44.9%  ...  44.0%  ...  16.5
CAREER  ...  38.0  ...  45.5%  ...  36.6%  ...  18.0

He's been a solid compliment player to Dirk ever since the JET landed in Dallas four years ago.  Things were a little rocky at first because "how could this guy from Atlanta replace our beloved Steve Nash?"  Well, guess what?  He did.  Terry may not have two MVP-seasons in him, but no one knew Nash had that either.  And when he took that final shot of Game 6 in the 2006 NBA Finals, it didn't bother me that someone other than Dirk was shooting the last chance for Dallas.  And I'm sure most other Mavs fans agree.

While we're at it, here's Terry's six games in the '06 Finals:
Game 1: 13-18 FG, 4-7 on 3s, 3 stls, 32 pts
Game 2: 6-15 FG, 1-6 on 3s, 9 ast, 2 stl, 16 pts
Game 3: 7-14 FG, 1-3 on 3s, 5 ast, 2 stl, 16 pts
Game 4: 8-18 FG, 1-5 on 3s, 9 reb, 16 pts
Game 5: 13-23 FG, 4-9 on 3s, 5 reb, 35 pts
Game 6: 7-25 FG, 2-11 on 3s, 5 ast, 2 stl, 16 pts

Other than his dismal shooting performance in Game 6, Terry had a solid series.  I think it's worth keeping him around for the transition period of getting to the "next generation" of Mavericks.  He's a solid player.

Bass is the only valuable youth on this team.  He's shown that he brings a lot of energy off the bench with his great dunks and nice touch from 16 ft.  And again, he's the ONLY youth on the entire Mavericks roster (not including J.J. Barea).  Without Bass, this first round series this year would be a complete and total bust.

This seasons, Bass has averaged 8.3 ppg off the bench and - despite moves to bring Terry off the bench which became a gimmick at best once Jerry Stackhouse went in the tank - Bass has been the Mavs 6th man in 2007-08.  He's also got that toughness that this team will need when they are ready to make another legitimate run toward the top.

Other than that, I don't know who else deserves to stick around.  Josh Howard?  Maybe if he wises up, shuts up, and gets his scoring up.  Jerry Stackhouse?  Five years ago, sure, but clearly he can't cut it in the role he's in right now.  Devean George?  Ha!  Jason Kidd?  Too much $$ for not enough results.  Malik Allen, Eddie George, JJ Barea, Tyron Lue, Juwan Howard?  No, no, no, no and no.  Sorry, but they are each 9th or 10th guys at best.

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