Jason Kidd is firmly entrenched as the starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. That was a given but the question is, who will be his backup? There were hopes that Roddy Beaubois would fill that role but after an up-and-down Summer League performance and a foot injury, he doesn't appear to be the short-term answer. Dominique Jones is a combo guard and he could possibly handle the responsibility in small doses but it's too much to ask for a rookie to be the main facilitator for the second unit. With those two youngsters out of the equation, it only really leaves two viable options to back Kidd up: J.J. Barea and Jason Terry.
Speed kills in the league and J.J. Barea has shown the ability to get in the lane and cause issues for the opposing defense. Again, the ability to break down defenders and get to the rim is a major weakness this team has as a whole. Whether Barea's ability to penetrate into the lane is because the defense doesn't respect his offensive abilities or not, he takes advantage of the situation. J.J.is also a pest on the defensive side of the court, there have been countless instances over the past couple of seasons where Barea has been able to kill a possession by forcing an offensive foul.
There are moments where Barea has momentary lapses in concentration when it comes to the team concept and he will try to be the first option when it really isn't necessary. I tend to call that "The Black Hole" theory, I saw it a lot in a former Maverick but hey, you can't control what the ball do. While his pest-like defense is a plus, his size does present himself at times as a defensive liability.
Who was the point guard for the Mavericks during their NBA Finals run, it was Jason Terry. The Mavericks have taken the dust off the PG_Jet theory from 4 years ago and it's produced some results in the preseason. It's possibly a form of self-preservation for the former Sixth Man of the Year. With Roddy Beaubois slated to be the starting shooting guard and Dominique Jones battling for minutes, Terry's ability to play point guard in stretches can allow him to stay on the court.
Like Barea, he isn't a natural point guard and is more of an impact on the court with the ball in his hands, but Terry's perimeter shooting and experience really can set him apart in the group. The threat Terry presents can really stretch the opposing defense and opening things up for everyone else. It shouldn't be discounted that Jason has a great ability to ignite the home crowd with his engaging personality.
No matter which route they take with the backup point guard position, if Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Dominique Jones are a main part of the second unit, the lack of defensive productivity that exists for Barea and/or Terry will be somewhat masked. Think about that majority of the second unit: who out of Marion, Chandler and Jones exactly scare you offensively? I think this needs to be taken into consideration when deciding who should be the point guard to take over for Kidd when he gets his rest.
One thing I do hope this "battle" does result in is the end of the Three-Guard-Lineup. There have been plenty of stretches where we have seen Kidd, Terry and Barea on the floor at the same time and while it is unorthodox and has had it's moments, it's a nightmare for the Mavericks on defense. Even with the Barea-Terry backcourt, it's still problematic defensively. With Beaubois and Jones being a factor in the rotation, it appears that this scheme Rick Carlisle created should meet it's demise.
It also should be noted that Terry has had a to try to fill a lot of different roles over the past six years he has been with the Mavericks. As far as we can see, he's done it all with his typical Terry grin and positive attitude, definitely embodying the role of the "good soldier." Coach Carlisle does view J.J. as a difference-maker and a valuable asset to the team. For both, it's an opportunity that is up for grabs. If Terry gets the spot, what happens to Barea? If Barea gets the spot, does Terry get lost in the shuffle or does he cut into someone's development? Will this even be a defined role or will it be a revolving door? The answer may just be the guy playing the best at that given moment.