This is a crystal ball type column.
None of it may happen. Dom Jones may never play another game in a Mavericks uniform, despite his new neck bling. Rudy Fernandez is guaranteed gone after next year and there may not be a next year. Nick Calathes may never come home. Corey Brewer’s role remains uncertain.
That’s the fun of one of these things, though.
Ladies and gentleman, your contenders:
Which One of The Mavericks' Young Players Will Have the Biggest Impact Next Year?
Rodrigue Beaubois, SG:
Roddy’s the obvious choice, of course. Nobody on this list sniffs his talent. But the last year has been a process of the obvious becoming…unobvious. Hasn’t it?
During the playoffs, my brother pointed out to me something that really kind of shocked me: that JJ Barea was giving us pretty much exactly what we’d hoped for from Roddy B. It was impossible to argue with, but it doesn’t make sense. Besides ball-handling there doesn’t really seem to be anything basketball related that JJ can do better than Roddy.
You’d take Roddy’s jumper in a second. You’d take Roddy’s speed. You wouldn’t necessarily take his actual ability to get to the hole—sometimes JJ can seem like the Dallas-area Latin-American ballplayer who really deserves the nickname "El Mago"-- but you’d take his theoretical ability to get to the hole. You’d take his athleticism, you’d take his leaping ability. You’d even take his height, which isn’t true over too many other ballers.
So what’s the problem? And where’s the evidence that it won’t continue to be? If Roddy B had JJ B’s heart, he’d be an all-star. Which would also be true if JJ had Roddy’s talent.
Nevertehless, it’s Roddy who has the talent, and is by far the most tantalizing name on this list.
Corey Brewer, SF, SG
Everybody loves Corey Brewer. He’s, in theory, one of the best defenders we have although at times his ability to get into foul trouble was almost Mahimnian. As a teammate, he draws rave reviews. His athleticism, on this team, is almost unparalleled. It sure looked like, every time he got in there last year, he was a gamechanger. He was a McDonald’s All-American, the 7th overall pick in the draft and was the star or second star on a college team that included Joakim Noah and Al Horford.
On the other hand, next season will be his sixth as an NBA player, he’s only once shot better than 43%, once played more than 35 games (not the same season), and once averaged more than 9 points a game.
That being said, he could be exactly what this team needs and vice versa. With this team, nobody has time to play good defense on Corey Brewer. With all the shooting the Mavs have, a big guard who can get inside could be worth his weight in gold. And if he learns to shoot—something I’m not going to bet against with all those shooters around him—he could really be something.
Rudy Fernandez, SG
Rudy has an image problem. It didn’t help that he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for, apparently, a Texas Longhorns player meaning a guy who there’s good reason to be skeptical about anyway got traded for a guy who was certain to be a fan favorite. The fact that Jordan Hamilton wasn’t even drafted FOR the Mavericks doesn’t make much of a public perception difference.
Rudy is that rare NBA player who’s apparently gotten worse since he started. After averaging 10 points and shooting 40% from three as a first year player, he’s not only never recaptured his stroke, he, in his two other seasons, has never averaged over 40% from the field, which is godawful.
Despite his considerable athleticism, Rudy’s shooting numbers skew as heavily towards three-pointers as Peja Stojakovic’s do, with considerably less success.
On the other hand….
Anyone who watched the incredible job Rick Carlisle did coaching in last year’s playoffs probably noticed that he puts a lot of trust in his offensive guys. If you’re getting into trouble defensively, you’re out, but if you’re JJ Barea and you’re starting each playoff series going 2-27 or whatever, it must be a terrific relief to know you’re still going to get your twenty minutes tomorrow night.
It worked wonders for JJ. Worked wonders for Peja, too. And it could be just what Rudy needs.
Nick Calathes, PG and Dom Jones, PG-SG:
I’m putting these guys together because to me they represent kind of the same thing and this is getting long.
Nick is apparently putting on a great show in Greece. Then again, there’s some pretty understandable reasons why he’s in Greece and not here. On the other hand, Jason Kidd is 102 and there’s no obvious heir to the PG throne. Nick is getting high marks, over there, in the kinds of things Jason does.
Dom is a similar case. On the one hand, true, his broken foot robbed the Mavericks of seeing what would happen over the course of a season. On the other, I reckon nobody spent much time saying "boy, if only Dom was healthy," at any point last season. He looked like a guy whose inability to get to the rim was only matched by his inability to make a jumpshot.
On the third hand, when the Mavs briefly tried to turn Roddy into a point-guard, it was Dom who showed the real playmaking flair. It’s also not as if he wasn’t more than capable of getting to the rim against good defenses in college—that’s where he made his mark. If he can figure out how to do that in the NBA, I’m sure he can figure out a reasonable mid-range jumper.
So who’s it going to be, Mavsland?