Special contributor to WFAA.com
Posted on January 28, 2012 at 7:34 PM
Saturday, Jan 28 at 7:39 PM
Jason Kidd is done.
Sadly, an NBA and Mavericks great is at the end of his road. It is hard to watch a superstar deteriorate, but it’s happening and Dallas must now look to the future for a new point guard.
Kidd, in his 18th season, sustained a lower-back injury which held him out of four games earlier this month, and early in Friday night’s (1/27/12) win over the Jazz he strained his calf. These injuries may contribute to his poor output, but all things considered, the guy has played the seventh most minutes in NBA history. He’s breaking down.
Understanding that the season is 19 games in and coach Rick Carlisle is wise to the fact that Kidd is old and therefore playing him less than seasons past, let’s take a quick statistical look at Kidd’s season to this point:
Shooting percentage – Kidd is shooting an abysmal 28.2 percent from the field on a career-low 5.2 attempts.
Assists per game – 5.5. His previous low was 7.7 in his rookie season and Kidd never averaged under eight afterwards.
Turnover percentage – 29.2 percent. He is averaging a turnover 29 out of every 100 times he possesses the ball. This is the worst rate in his career by over five percent.
PER (The semi-controversial statistic which measures a composite of a player’s per-minute production) – A career low 9.2 for Kidd. Put into perspective, John Stockton in his final three seasons (17th, 18th and 19th) put up PERs of 22.3, 21.9 and 21.0.
All of this to say that Kidd’s career is over. So, where do the Mavericks look to fill the void of a future Hall-of-Famer? There are no internal options, as Rodrigue Beaubois is not a legitimate point guard.
Dallas will have loads of cap room following this season, assuming they choose to exercise their Team Option on Lamar Odom, amnesty Brendan Haywood and find a trade partner for Shawn Marion and the 18 million owed to him over the next two seasons.
The first two options will almost certainly go through, the Marion trade is a bit less likely. Regardless, Mark Cuban will have a lot of money to play with. The popular thought is that the Mavs will make a power move and lure Deron Williams back home to the Metroplex. What if they can’t? What are some other options?
In the Free Agent class of 2012, the Unrestricted Free Agent point guards are by and large aging veterans and unproven younger spares. However, one player looks rather attractive. D.J. Augustin is in his fourth season for the Charlotte Bobcats. Following lackluster rookie and sophomore campaigns, Augustin established himself as a legitimate young player last season, averaging 14.4 points and 6.1 assists. It seems logical that the Bobcats would be open to trading Augustin, a Texas kid, or setting him free on the open market in order to avoid wrapping up too much money in a crowded backcourt.
If Dallas does not or cannot find a point guard in 2012, the 2013 Free Agent class is similarly scarce. Jose Calderon will become unrestricted, but the Mavericks are unlikely to sign a perennially underachieving 31 year old. Only one other player remains a logical target: Jarrett Jack.
Jack, charged with stepping into Chris Paul’s shoes in New Orleans, has shown so far this season that he is capable of running the show. He currently averages 16.8 points and 7.2 assists as the primary scorer (while Eric Gordon remains sidelined) on a pathetic Hornets team. He willl likely seek greener pastures, and the 29-year old might be worth the risk.
Another option is to sign a veteran to a short-term deal and find a player in the draft that the Mavs might try to develop (although Roddy B shows us that's easier said than done). One player to keep an eye on in the 2012 draft is Scott Machado of little-known Iona. Machado, a six-foot-one point guard, leads the NCAA in assists at 10.2 per game. He was third as a junior last season and has also averaged over 13 points per game over the past two years. Machado’s name does not appear until the middle to late second round of respected NBA mock-draft sites, so if Dallas wants a young facilitator there is a good chance that Mr. Machado might be around.
If the Mavs wants to remain a contender while Dirk Nowitzki approaches the twilight of his career, finding a new floor general is a must.