With so much attention going to analysts predicting the season already, and listing and ranking players, I figured it might be time to throw around some praises and hate as well, about our teammates.
It is very clear to see that this Dallas team is rather old, with many of our players being a bit past their prime. Does being past your prime mean you can't help your team win a title? Not at all. See: Derek Fisher.
Let's start with the obvious player, the curious case of Jason Kidd.
Offense- Jason Kidd has lost a lot in half court offense. Primarily, his ability to drive to the hole and penetrate with outstanding success. This is what made Jason such a fantastic player. Surround him with shooters, and he takes his driving ability into a drive+kick situation, and the next thing you know all of your offense is flowing. With all bad must come some good right? This is a little of what we get with Jason. I like experience, but I'm not one of those believers who thinks experience will do anything when your overwhelmed by talent. Since that is rules out as a major benefit(it's a minor one, mind you) the only one worth mentioning is his shooting ability. Kidd was a Rondo type player in his prime, and now that he can't drive he's suddenly become a red hot shooter from beyond the 3 point line. The only problem? He can't create his own 3 point shot. He has to have his feet set, catch, and shoot.In this case, his damage is smaller than his productivity, so I would say while an improvement would help, there's no dire need to replace Kidd-yet.
Defense- Jason is, in a word, a liability on defense. Kidd is at the least blessed with a big body and strength, so he can slightly use his size to stop smaller guards from penetrating. This is only if we are in zone, and in a zone there is only a 3 or 4 foot gap between defenders, so he can stop penetration. If we go to man, which we have to against strong teams, Kidd gets blown by by most guards. Kidd has also lost his fantastic ability to be a shut down defender on the fast break. If I remember correctly, the old Jason could turn 2 or 3 on 1's into good plays for the Nets, with a steal, or forcing a miss and grabbing the rebound, then pushing the ball upcourt fast. Kidd can take out mediocre guards, and hold his own against savvy ones. However, he has shown he has the muscle to keep up with smaller 2 guards, which I hope he can keep up. If this is the case, we might be able to play him and Roddy at the same time, which lets us keep Roddy's quickness on the court without losing our field general, and not lose a step on defense. His Damage is much greater than his productivity here. He's been consistently dominated by some kind of player in his position since we got him. Because of his ability to facilitate the game I would say we can afford to hold onto him, but for how much longer?
Overall: Productivity > Damage. We can still win with Kidd, but arguments could be made that we would be better with a defensive minded pointguard, since out offense will come(mainly) from 4 guys that can create their own shot. (Butler, Nowitzki, Terry, Roddy)
Next let us dive into Caron Butler.
Offense: Caron is a great player, the slashing 2 guard we've wanted since Fin left. Only problem is that he plays that hole hypothetically. Literally, he plays the role of the guy that catches it at the 3, takes 3 dribbles and shoots an 18 foot jumper. He can help us out a lot, but he also doesn't seem to understand how we flow when were losing. If all goes wrong, and they're on a 15-2 run, it's time to give Dirk and Jason the ball, not shoot up contested 20 foot jumpshots. We already have a guy that bites us in the ass like that. See:Jason Terry. He can produce on offense if he learns his role. We need a guy like Butler on the floor for us. On Offense, his productivity is above his damage.
Defense: It has seen better days, but "Tough Juice" is still a solid defender. maybe no better than that, but solid is not a bad thing. He doesn't necessarily hurt us like Kidd's does. He has his flaws. Ginobili sort-of-kind-of tore him up. But I believe Caron can get the job done for us. I think he should come off the bench, if and only if Kidd can show he can defend 2 guards. This way he have him off the bench to come with Terry.Productivity and damage break even here. He doesn't kill us on defense, but it's not like he takes their best player and shuts them down neither. He's okay.
Now, lets move to Marion.
Offense: Marion can not play offense. Call me a pessimist but I dislike the idea that Marion touches the ball in the halfcourt. Lets start small. He can't necessarily pass, and his vision, just like every other SF in the league is mediocre to say the most. Marion can no longer hit the 3 like he used to. He also, can no longer slash to the hole at will, and when he does get there, he has trouble finishing! Marion completely feeds off of the success of our other players to score and to do good things. If he can't be fed right by the hole he has trouble scoring. Sure he gets his 1 or 2, or maybe 3 buckets on his own, but hey, this is the NBA. Getting 3 buckets on your own as a starting 3 is terrible. I have to say something good, so I'll say he is good on the fast break. Granted he botches layups like its going out of style, he's above average in fast break basketball. His productivity is practically a myth, but at least he's not a turnover machine and doesn't require 20 shots a game to keep him happy. Still, a big hurt on offense for us..
Defense: Marion can at least, still play decent defense. He can't guard the 1-4 like he used to be able to, but he is still good. He can slow down a star player on a good day. Marion is a little slower than he used to be. His hands aren't as quick and he fouls when he used to get steals. His numbers are a little down, but even though i dislike the guy and hated the idea of acquiring him I'm still somewhat confident in his defensive abilities. Not a shutdown specialist by any means, but he can help. Productivity> Damage
Offense: We all know Dirk. To save time and space I'll skip the obvious offensive portion, and say his productivity is miles ahead of his damage.
Defense: Dirk is always known to be a weak defender. I don't believe this is so. The problem is, that people compare his defense to a) his offense or b)Other PF's defense. The reason this is unfair is because a)His offense is so phenomenal if his defense matched it would be, uhm, unreal? And b) most PF's aren't offensive minded guys. It is like judging Rondo and saying he's a bad PG because most PG's can shoot and he can't. He still a top 5 guard in the NBA. He's not a shutdown player, but his defense is above average. Dirk doesn't commit stupid fouls, and while he may get beat on occasion he almost never lets other PF's drop 30 or so on him, when he is constantly scoring 30 and 35 on some of the league's best. Productivity vs. Damage, he breaks even here.
Offense: While the offense isn't necessarily fantastic, I can't rule these guys as losses. They can both catch and finish, and both rebound. Neither will drop 30 on ya, but what they can do is provide a solid 15 points on occasion, probably 8-10 on average, most of those coming from 2nd chance points off of double teams Dirk draws. Either way, a step up from Damp's offense. neither of these guys are consistent however. We can't seem to get a good number from Haywood, and Chandler gets hurt too often. Since our number 1 scorer plays in the same area of the court as they do , i can't say they damage our Offense. But they don't do good things either. Break even. (EX. Nobody gives D. Fish crap for not scoring, because the person he shares the side of the court with drops 28 a game, if that makes sense)
Defense: This is what they do. Big, scrap, stop others. When small guys drive, make them mess up. They are not shutdown defenders but with a chance they can slow down some threats, and god willing Chandler can get some blocks "up in here". not much to say about them, they're practically big bodies down there. Productivity>Damage.
*I categorized them together because they play a similar style, and because I wanted to include them both but neither deserved full attention.
Offense: In a word, streaky. Jason can turn a 1 point lead into 10 in 2 minutes. He can take us from down 5 to up 2 in a minute. The problem is, how many times had Terry turned a manageable deficit into a blowout by turning it over and missing 3 3's. SOOO streaky. I love Terry. When he's hot sometimes I wish nobody else would touch the ball. So when i say that his damage is bigger than his productivity don't chew me out. Over 1 game, or 1 quarter, or hell, 1 series, he might produce more. But mark my words, over the course of this whole season, he will hurt us more than he will help.
Defense: Uhm, I don't want to explain myself when I say Productivity<Damage. If anyone wishes to make a case for him here go ahead, but from reading other posts I think we all agree on this one. Don't get me wrong, he's not TERRIBLE, and I'm not saying he kills us, but he definitely hurts more than he gains. Even if the difference is small, it's there.
Offense: I have high hopes for Roddy. For this upcoming year, I'm going to have to say I hope, nay, I expect him to score over 10 points a game. He is a solid player. He does need to relax a little though. He plays too fast, and turns it over too much. Roddy is often out of control, and doesn't seem to be that good of a passer. These are clear rookie mistakes, that I can look over is he can produce for us this year. Overall, I'd say Productivity> Damage, But unlike other people I don't dub him Sir Roddy. He does hurt us a lot. His productivity is more than his damage, but not by much. Personally I think people get a little too carried away. As much as we love him for the San An series and against Golden State, remember that outside of those 3 or 4 games, he really didn't do much this year, even in games Rick gave him a solid 12-15 minutes.
Defense:Roddy is fun to watch, and comes up with many steals and such. I love his ability to keep up with faster guards, too. He is explosive to say the least, but he is very small. He is easily overpowered and would have trouble guarding the bigger guards in the league. He can't play PG as he's shown(at least for now) so he'll either have to guard 2 guards or he'll force Kidd to guard 2 guards. Because of this, I'm sorry i have to say Productivity<Damage, but only because of size. That rating goes purely on what Kidd can do. I know it seems unfair to Roddy, But I would like to hear a compelling argument as to why he helps more than he hurts us on D. His being on the court forces us to change our schemes and often go into Zone or make other guard players they're not comfortable with so...
Overall, I think our chances are good. I feel good about this year. Breaking down position by position I don't see why we lose as often as we do. We should win more. But the NBA is not about theories, it's about performance. The only thing stopping a 55ish win season and a ring is, well, ourselves.