Does Adding Brewer Make the Mavericks the Deepest Team In the League?

Just a couple months ago, I remember much of the Mavericks fanbase becoming panicked about the Mavericks depth. Caron Butler had just gone down, Dirk was nursing his knee injury, and Roddy Beaubois had seemingly been stashed away in some dark hole, never to be heard from again. Funny how things change, because its not just hyperbole or homerism to call the Mavericks' depth the best in the league.

Roddy is now back. Peja has had ten games in a Dallas uni. Corey Brewer is now officially a Maverick. Its not just new additions, though. Bench players who struggled to begin the year have finally found their role, namely Jose Juan Barea. And, as the Mavericks ride their seven game winning streak, seventeen of eighteen overall, 3rd best in the league, everybody is clicking, from top to bottom.

But where exactly does the "bottom" stop? Here's the simplistic depth chart:

PG SG
SF
PF
C
Jason Kidd
Rodrigue Beaubois
Peja Stojakovic
Dirk Nowitzki
Tyson Chandler
Jose Juan Barea
Jason Terry
DeShawn Stevenson
Shawn Marion
Brendan Haywood


Corey Brewer
Brian Cardinal
Ian Mahinmi

 

Missing Chandler, the Mavericks played all twelve players on Friday...in a game that was not a blowout. That does not mean the Mavericks are 13 deep, but they are very deep. Better yet, there is no position without multiple backups. A team can be 13 deep but only have two real centers (which we'll see in a bit). However, the Mavericks have extremely versatile players, starting with Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd and ending with Corey Brewer, who at 6'9" is listed as a guard-forward.

Having this many solid players does not require Carlisle to use a 12 man rotation at all times, but its nice to see that he has the ability to go to it without any hesitation or misgivings now. Let's move around the league now, though. How much of a rarity is this depth? Here's the Heat.

PG SG SF PF C
Mario Chalmers Dwyane Wade LeBron James Chris Bosh Erick Dampier
Mike Bibby Mike Miller James Jones Juwan Howard Joel Anthony
Eddie House Udonis Haslem (I) Zydrunas Ilgauskas

 

Yes, we're starting slow. Everyone knows the Heat have no depth, thanks to their offseason splurge. But before signing Bibby, the Heat barely had six solid rotation players (and one was Erick Dampier). Bibby helps, but Big Z, Anthony, and the other J. Howard have varied from 20 minutes to DNP-CD's...and more because of the most recent one's ineptitude. James Jones has played 45 minutes in the past five games and scored five points, and is only averaging 3.1 for the entire month of February but still gets over 10 mpg. They simply don't have anyone better. Haslem's eventual return will help, but the Heat are most shallow contender you will see here.

PG SG SF PF C
Jameer Nelson Jason Richardson Hedo Turkoglu Brandon Bass
Dwight Howard
Gilbert Arenas JJ Redick Quentin Richardson Ryan Anderson
Daniel Orton

 

Here's the Magic. With those trades they made, they have great depth, right? Well, they do, 1-4, but trading away Gortat leaves them without a true backup center. I love Brandon Bass and his game, but he's clearly not anymore of a center than he was when he was with the Mavericks. And Anderson? He's like a rich man's Eddie Najera, I suppose, but definitely not a center. How do the Magic fix this? They play Dwight Howard basically the entire game. In their last three games (Bulls, Heat, Knicks, all close games), he's played 43, 45 and 43 minutes. Maybe it works for now, but what happens when Howard picks up that 4th foul early in the 3rd? Or picks up his 16th technical and is suspended for a game? And I haven't even mentioned that Quentin Richardson rode the pine for much of January and February while the Magic went with an eight-man rotation.

PG SG SF PF C
Tony Parker Manu Ginobili Richard Jefferson Tim Duncan DeJuan Blair
George Hill Gary Neal James Anderson
Matt Bonner
Antoine McDyess
Steve Novak Tiago Splitter

 

This may surprise you, but the Spurs are not as deep as they are made out to be (which is often the deepest in the league). No, they simply blow teams out, which allows their bench to play a lot more minutes. That's different. In closer games, the Spurs only tend to use a nine man rotation, with Hill, Neal, Bonner, and McDyess coming off the bench. Unfortunately, this achieves a very similar purpose, but in terms of rotation, the Spurs can't play as deep...or at least, choose not to...as the Mavericks.

PG SG SF PF C
Derek Fisher Kobe Bryant Ron Artest Pau Gasol Andrew Bynum
Steve Blake Shannon Brown Luke Walton Lamar Odom Joe Smith
Matt Barnes (I)

 

The Lakers, like the Spurs, have a pretty solid nine man rotation, with Odom, Gasol, and Bynum sharing the 4 and the 5. Behind that, though, they are pretty barren. Luke Walton is currently filling in for the injured Barnes, but with Walton pretty much being a big pile of "meh", he'll probably go back to his usual DNP-CD when Barnes returns Sunday. Their backup big men, Smith and Ratliff, haven't got any burn and are just hoping for a ring riding the coattails of Kobe while providing cheap insurance (in money and in performance) for a Bynum injury, while Ebanks and Caracter have got very spotty minutes in their rookie seasons.

PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo
Ray Allen Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett
Nenad Krstic
Delonte West
Von Wafer Jeff Green
Glen Davis
Shaquille O'Neal (I)
Troy Murphy Jermaine O'Neal (I)

 

Let's be honest...when healthy, the Celtics have a loaded front court. Green, Pierce, Davis, Garnett, Krstic, Murphy, and both O'Neal's. Of course, when you have Garnett and the O'Neals together, chances are that "fully healthy" will never actually happen, but they have enough depth that it should not really even matter now. The weakness they have is their backup 2-guard. Wafer plays, but inconsistently, and Pierce and Green can't really play the 2. Surprisingly, though, Doc River's answer to this is to give Ray Allen a ton of minutes. After the talk last year about resting and coasting through the regular season, it seems surprising, but the last time under 33 minutes a night was 1/28, and the last time he got under 25 was 11/30. Allen has played over 40 minutes in a game 14 times this year (Dirk's done it four times). Still, Boston is the first team whose depth really matches that of the Mavericks player for player.

PG SG SF PF C
Derrick Rose
Keith Bogans
Luol Deng Carlos Boozer
Joakim Noah
C.J. Watson
Ronnie Brewer
Kyle Korver
Taj Gibson
Omer Asik
Rasual Butler Kurt Thomas

 

At least, we reach the real contender in terms of player depth. With the recent acquisition of Rasual Butler, the Bulls can play 1 through 12, just like the Mavericks. Kurt Thomas filled in admirably playing around 25 minutes a night during Noah's injury, and Asik has had some very solid games recently (his stats don't show it because he's a nonfactor on offense, but he rebounds well and plays solid defense). Gibson started as a rookie last year and is now coming off the bench, Korver is deadly and underutilized because of all the other mouths to feed, and Watson, Bogans, and Brewer all have to be accounted for or they can make a team pay.

So I asked the question, are the Mavericks the deepest, and honestly, I'm a little bit surprised to say that I think they are, at least compared to these teams right here. As I said, the Bulls make it very close, but I just can't see their 13th man ever playing, despite his massive fanbase, while the Mavs' will and has. In case you're wondering, I'm talking about Brian Scalabrine and Brian Cardinal.

Does this make the Mavericks the champions? Not even close. But its easy to see that depth helps. That's why Chandler going down for a week or two is not a huge worry, because Haywood and Mahinmi will be able to step up. That's why Stevenson's shooting woes are okay, because he'll get a few weeks of DNP's until someone else starts slumping and then he'll come back in, hopefully with his touch back. And, of course, it gives the guys up top a lot more rest if the bench is able to hold their own. So maybe Brewer or Stevenson or Cardinal or Mahinmi won't even get a sniff of minutes in the playoffs, but its sure nice to have right now.

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