Mavs Moneyball Blog Off

Here is the final contestant James Park and his player profile of Drew Gooden.

This thursday we will have the final voting poll posted so make sure to check it out and get your vote in.

I'm going to start this post with a prediction: Drew Gooden will be a significant contributor to this team. Don't allow his performance in the first two games of the season tell you otherwise. The man that dons the number 90 for the Mavs has a lot going for him.

            Even though it feels like he has been around forever, Gooden is only 28 years old. Despite his relatively young age, this is his ninth year in the league, making him a seasoned veteran. With career averages of 12 points and 8 rebounds on both good (Cleveland Cavaliers finals run) and mediocre (Chicago) teams, Drew Gooden is a proven commodity in the league.

             Now Mavs fans, there is one fallacy that most of you are committing that makes Drew Gooden seem like an insignificant or unworthy pickup: you keep comparing him to Marcin Gortat. In reality however, the man you should be comparing Gooden's skill set to is not Gortat, but our very own, 265 ib. Erick Dampier. Now, now, I know what you're thinking, but if you think in objective terms, whether or not Drew is superior or inferior to Gortat is irrelevant because we never had him to begin with! Let me say this again. MARCIN GORTAT WAS NEVER A MAVERICK, so stop hating on Drew for it! Comparing Drew Gooden to Marcin Gortat would be like the Charlotte Hornets (RIP) refusing to trade or sign any shooting guard worse than Kobe Bryant after realizing that trading him to the Lakers immediately after drafting him was a mistake. Does that sound sensible to you?

            Now, don't mistake what I'm saying as "Drew Gooden is the perfect player." As talented as he is, Drew isn't quite as talented as he thinks he is. He's got a wide arsenal of offensive weapons, but is not discipline enough to know when to use what. For example, Drew can consistently hit an open jumper from 18 feet and in. This could be potentially useful in situations where a defender doubles off of him to guard Dirk, a pick and pop, etc. However, Drew is not the greatest shooter off the dribble. Specifically, as much as he loves those baseline Js, statistically they are the worst shot for him to take. Every once in a while you'll have the "treat" of seeing him try moves that players like Kobe, Brandon Roy and Carmelo pull off with ease...only to see him miss horribly or get swatted.

            Drew Gooden getting blocked is something you'll see a lot of this year. Although I've never been able to pick out the exact factor that explains why he gets blocked so much, I've narrowed it down to two leading factors: He doesn't go up hard with the ball when there are defenders present, and he tries to pull off moves that he isn't talented enough to do comfortably. I remember watching Drew the Cavalier facing the Wallaces in the Palace of Auburn Hills. He would literally struggle to get anything around the rim, forcing him to take jump shots for the rest of the series. Think back to last year, when Brandon Bass would just throw Drew Gooden's shots out of bounds, or even this preseason against Houston, when the Rockets pulled off numerous highlight blocks on him. As I've said, for whatever reason, Drew Gooden is on the receiving end of many blocks. You'll see it throughout the season. However, this does not mean that he isn't or wont be a good basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks.

            There are a few reasons for this. First of all, Drew Gooden is at his best when he is not relied on to be the main man, or even the wing man to the main man. Think back again to Drew Gooden, the Cav. Drew was the starting power forward of the Eastern Conference Champions. On that team, Lebron got so much attention from the other team's defense, that Drew's skills were very well complimented: he hit his open shots, filled the lanes for some big dunks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmFtn9bRGkA), and played some defense. Compare that with Drew's role with the Spurs last year, where he was given the ball almost every time down the floor, and expected to create on his own with the second unit. This brings us to his role on the Mavs.

            When Drew is out on the floor with the Mavs, he will mostly be the 4th option, and never more than a 3rd. With defenses focusing on stopping the "Uberman" Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, and Josh Howard at various points of the game, Gooden just has to learn to pick his spots and play smart basketball.

The main reason that the signing of Drew Gooden is a plus for the Mavericks, is that although he is no superstar, he has to be accounted for on the offensive end. I don't think people realize how crucial a factor this is. When Erick Dampier is out on the floor, teams can completely back off when he gets the ball because they know that 9.9 out of 10 times, he is looking to pass it out as soon as he can. Although the Mavericks have enough offensive fire power to get away with playing 4 on 5 offense against some of the teams in the league, it fails against the better ones.

Many people point to the fact that Drew Gooden isn't the greatest defender; I don't see him being any worse than Dampier against any centers not named Shaquille O'Neal, Dwight Howard, and Yao Ming. This is how I look at the Gooden vs. Damp meter. Dampier can't guard or score on the majority of the "centers" he matches up with. Gooden on the other hand, might not be able to guard some of the players he is up against, but he can at least score on them/make them guard him. One specific example would be the matchup against Nene of the Denver Nuggets. Being stronger, faster, and more skilled, Nene completely dominated Erick Dampier on both ends of the floor in their recent playoff series. He ran right by Damp when he was on offense, and didn't even need to account for him when on defense. Imagine that we replaced Dampier with Gooden. Although Gooden might not fare any better in trying to stop the Brazilian, he would definitely make him work much harder on the defensive end. In short, getting 20 points scored on you and scoring 12 is an improvement from getting 20 points scored on you and scoring 4.

            Finally, unlike Dampier who has bad/really bad/horrible hands, Drew Gooden can catch the ball. This means no more perfect no look passes from Kidd that end up in the hands of the other team, no more passes out of bounds, no more fumbled passes. This means more easy baskets, more equal matchups, and probably more wins. At the end of the day, Drew Gooden may not be an all star, but he is a better option than what we currently have in at least 28 of the 30 matchups we will face throughout the season, and playoffs, which is exactly why he'll be a good contributor to your Dallas Mavericks.

p.s. Good Hands! <3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OAcfzJkyBA&feature=related

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