Mike James is the worst. Well, the concept of him is definitely the worst.
He's a 37-year-old point guard who hasn't had a meaningful season since 2009 and has played in 15 total games over the last two years. He's shooting 36.5 percent from the floor and has a PER below 10. In other words, the worst.
Yet, the Mavericks are 8-3 since he entered the starting lineup. How? Most of it is due to James doing two things: He's hitting his open 3s and not making critical turnovers in the half court.
With about the same amount of usage, James is posting lower turnover numbers than Darren Collison (17.5 TO% to 15). He's averaging a little over one turnover a game and other than his four-turnover game against the Hawks last week, he's played relatively clean games.
Of course, one could argue that instead of turning it over, James has been hoisting shots instead of handing the ball off to Dirk Nowitzki. There's definitely some merit to that thought, but I'll take a missed floater or pull-up jumper over a potential live-ball turnover (and ensuing fastbreak) any day.
Then there's his shooting. Despite his awful attempts inside the arc, James has been deadly as a spot-up threat. According to Synergy Sports, he's shooting 29 of 62 (46 percent) on spot-up 3-pointers. He's been an one of the few Mavs to knock down corner 3s at a decent rate, too (7 of 17 from the right corner, according to NBA.com), which is invaluable as teams continue to double and triple-team Dirk when he parks himself in his comfortable spots on the left-side of the floor.
James' spot-up shooting was on display against the Jazz on Sunday night, where he hit 3 of 4 three-pointers as part of his season-high 19 points.
So James still has his faults. Tons of them. When he isolates, he's a sub-40 percent shooter and his defense is so-so. He still isn't the distributor the offense needs. But he's fitting in nicely as a release-valve with the starters + Vince Carter and the Mavericks desperately need more weak-side floor-spacers (which you would think Anthony Morrow would be perfect for, but, whatever.)
That's added up to James being a net-plus 6.5 points per 100 possessions for the Mavs while he's on the court. Mike James is helping. May god have mercy on our souls.