Entering the off-season, I felt the Mavericks' three biggest needs were to address the center, shooting guard and lack of athleticism. It appeared that the Mavs had addressed the center situation by singing an offer sheet for Marcin Gortat; however, we all know how that worked out. While several rumors have swirled around regarding other potential deals to address the center position, none have materialized as of this time.
Acquiring Shawn Marion improves the athleticism of this team to some extent and the flashes that Rodrigue Beaubois has shown in his brief NBA Summer League career suggests tha the too could add some athleticism to this team. Yet this team still lacks the athleticism of many of their Western Conference counterparts.
The only thing the Mavs have done at the shooting guard position is the signing of Quinton Ross, who the front office says will provide defensive help and shoot the three. What they really mean to say is that Ross is just another Antoine Wright. If we assume that the Mavericks will move Josh Howard to the starting shooting guard position, we can set the depth chart--Jason Terry will come in off the bench and get a majority of the minutes at the 2 and Ross will fill in, as needed, in specific situations. Theoretically, the Mavs are three deep at the 2 position.
I love what JET brings off the bench, but neither Ross nor Howard excite me. My suggestion? Go for a change of pace, sign Von Wafer. The little I saw of Wafer last year, I liked. He would instantly add a level of athleticism to this team that is asbsent.
How would the rotation work at four deep? The move would make Josh Howard expendable. He could be shopped to someone like New Orleans, for Tyson Chandler, or to Charlotte, near his home, for someone like Emeka Okafor.
The Mavericks starting line-up would look something like this:
PG - Jason Kidd
SG- Von Wafer
SF - Shawn Marion
PF- Dirk Nowitzki
C - Emeka Okafor/Tyson Chandler
I realize the move has it drawbacks. One, Wafer's limited body of work and lack of starting experience. Terry would still get a majority of the minutes at the 2, but would start as a change of pace. Think of the way the Nuggets used Dahntay Jones last season (18.1 MPG, 5.4 PPG). Wafer put up better numbers (19.4 MPG, 9.7 PPG) as a reserve.
Could you get Okafor or Chandler for Howard? It's worth shopping around. I hope the Mavs learned from the Gortat fiasco and would have a deal in place for Howard before inking Wafer. This is the key piece to making the deal work. If you can't move Howard for an upgrade of Dampier, then there's really no sense in pursuing Wafer. However, if the Mavs are serious about addressing two of the most glaring weaknesses, they should at least give Wafer a casual glance.