Shawn Marion is irreplaceable.
Now, ther are different types of irreplaceable. There are the dozens of pictures of socks he posts on Instagram that are a complete lifesaver when I'm writing a links post in the offseason and there's no real content on the internet. That's irreplaceable, because I just can't see another Maverick having such a love for roosters and dancing skeletons on his ankles.
Then, there's the stuff that Marion does on a basketball court. I use the word "stuff" not because I don't have a vocabulary, but because there's no other word that fits. It's little bit of everything, whether it's offense or defense, scoring or rebounding, finding or filling a hole in the defense, or just flat out hustling his butt off. That's irreplaceable.
Here's those career stats:
And a nice video from the Mavericks when they were pushing him as defensive player of the year:
Alan, recapping the preseason game against Alba Berlin last Friday, summed up Marion's impact on this team.
Shawn Marion- This may have been a classic Shawn Marion game. Other than a random post up or two, Dallas didn't call any plays for him, or go out of their way to put the ball in his hands. He did have an aggressive block early that showed he was treating this game with the same level of intensity he does any other, exhibition or not, but for most of the contest he seemed fairly invisible. Then, when you look at the boxscore at the end, you see he had 12 points on just 6 shots, to go with 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Marion is the super glue guy for Dallas and though he'll probably continue to not get the full credit he deserves he's a big part of what is going to make this team work.
Now 34-years old, Marion has lost some of his athleticism, as older players are ought to do. However, the game he plays has changed since his glory years in Phoenix. There's no doubt that there are several good years left for him. His minutes should continue their slow decline, just to keep him as healthy and rested as possible. With Vince Carter and Jae Crowder behind him, the Mavericks should have no problem taking Marion off the court to get the breaks he needs.
The Mavericks have a lot of help on the defensive end: Elton Brand, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, and the returning Delonte West. There's no doubt, though, that it will still be Marion spearheading it all with his veteran smarts. Elite, versatile defense is still Marion's calling card.
Everyone knows that Marion's inability to shoot sometimes hurts the offense and its spacing. With Brand and Kaman stepping out consistently to 18 feet (and according to some reports, even further than that), look for Marion to operate inside more than ever. Despite the occasional chippie that he blows, he's a solid finisher around the basket, so this move should be a great thing for the offense.
Marion will also continue to be a force on the boards. Last year, he lead the Mavericks in rebounding, and while he will likely cede that title to Chris Kaman this year, his increased presence on the glass should help make up for the fact that Dirk's rebounding has not aged well. Especially on offense, where Dallas was 27th in the league last year, Marion will be able to wreck some havoc simply by being that guy crashing the boards and being a general nuisance.
That's what glue guys do. That's what Marion does. That's why he's irreplaceable.
Well, the socks really do help, too.