In one day the Mavericks went from "Completely healthy" to "totally f%&ked."
Actually, it's not that bad but Dallas currently only has three (THREE!) healthy guards available for Friday's game against the Sixers. Luckily, Jason Terry is expected to come back Sunday against the Knicks, which will at least give Dallas a fairly normal rotation.
But the Delonte West injury really sucks. I've pined over West before, but he's probably the Mavericks best two-way guard, bringing both excellent offensive and defensive qualities. So with him out it's time for Domonique Jones to step up, Rick Carlisle told reporters last night:
"We're going to need him," Carlisle said. "He's worked hard and this gets his feet wet for Friday."
The Mavericks, who have a full roster of 15 players, don't intend to seek veteran help at the position. They would have to release a player if they sign a free agent guard.
"We'll just have to make it work," Carlisle said. "With Kidd, we're going to have to keep his minutes reasonable. Dominique Jones is going to have to play some. Vince is going to have to get more minutes at the 2 position. We had Odom handling the ball a lot tonight. Look, we may have to be creative with our rotation."
A couple of interesting things from Carlise...
- I know it's out of necessity rather than trust, but those are confident words to Jones, someone who has floated around the D-League and the back of the bench. Jones doesn't boast the mystifying talent of Rodrigue Beaubois but I've always felt he was more NBA-ready as a backup point guard. While Beaubois wows with his natural talent and seemingly unlimited offensive capabilities, Jones just plugs away, playing sold defense and being able to find teammates at a much better rate than Beaubois. This isn't to discount Jones, who has talent, but I've just felt Jones could be a more consistent player, right now, than Beaubois.
- But, funny thing about Jones is, he can't really shoot. There's a reason Beaubois has been able to get so much more than burn than Jones – Jones just can't buy a basket. He was empty on six shots last night, displaying the same game we've seen for over a year now: He can get to the basket and free throw line, but damn, he can't make a jumper and has trouble finishing at the rim. For someone who is so good at getting to the rim, he's inability to finish there is really surprising. Luckily, Jones showed off his floor vision, which has never really deserted him. Jones should be able to hold down for at least one game with Terry out
- Also, expect to see Vince Carter's minutes maybe climb into the mid 30s and perhaps Lamar Odom's as well. If Jones isn't cutting it, don't be surprised if Carlise gets a little whacky and throws out a lineup of Odom, Carter, Marion and then two more big men. It would be absurd, but if Carlisle is really committed to keeping Kidd's minutes from going to far north of 30, it could happen, if only for a brief spell.