As I survey the Mavericks’ prospects this coming year, I think their major issue is going to be point guard depth. They very obviously have center issues as well. While Bogut is their best C since Chandler, and already one of the best Cs in franchise history by talent, he hasn’t played more than 70 games since literally 2008. And I know it’s going to shock everybody when 30-year-old career European back up Salah Mejri doesn’t turn out to be a consistent world-beater, but, you know, prepare to be shocked.
Still, when you’ve lost Ray Felton and it’s put you in a bad position, you know you were kind of already in a bad position. Not that Ray wasn’t sprightly and surprisingly good last year.
Current people under contract who could plausibly initiate the offense on the Mavs: Deron Williams, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Seth Curry. That’s it – another side effect of the choice to pick up Harrison Barnes rather than Point Forward Chandler Parsons. Don Nelson is rolling over in his whiskey-soaked grave. I don’t see Wes being able to do this. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong. There’s also potentially Kyle Collinsworth and Jonathan Gibson, but, you know, whatever. Let’s see if either makes the team first.
I am by no means a Deron hater. He’s been getting hated on since he signed a hugely disappointing contract with the Nets, but guess what? He wasn’t on a hugely disappointing contracts for the Mavs last year, and he was really good for them. He was probably the Mavs’ best guard on both sides of the floor, except when Wes was feeling frisky, and certainly the best PG. And while I’m kind of a JJ hater, he and Devin Harris are certainly top level backup PGs. If the Mavs only needed either of them for short stretches, they’d be really lucky to have them.
And I’m by no means a Seth Curry hater either, we just don’t know what he is yet. The guy can definitely shoot the three, but can he initiate? Some evidence, namely the last seven games of last season, suggest the answer might be yes. He had five assists a game down the homestretch. Other evidence, which is the rest of his career, when he has generally averaged around one assist a game, suggests maybe not. He hasn’t been asked to do it, and that’s all there is to it. It remains to be seen.
But Deron also has played 70 or more games a season once since 2010. And that means your starting PG next year, for at least 10 to 15 crucial games this year, is going to be JJ, or Devin, or Seth. Which, since the Mavs are not only low on PGs but low on guards and forwards who might plausibly initiate, means that your backup initiator is going to be the second best of those guys and they’re going to have a fair amount of usage.
It may be great. It may turn out that the Mavericks’ S. Curry is a hidden gem. But just peering at the roster card, right now, this is what I see.
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