Strengths and Weaknesses
Admission 1: I kind of hate Mario Chalmers.
Admission 2: I also kind of think that he is a better player than many give him credit for.
Given my feelings about Chalmers, it makes sense to begin with the negatives. I think Steven A. Smith (played by the excellent Jay Pharoah) can put it better than me (skip to the 2-minute mark):
Even the president gets it:
But seriously, why does everyone seem to hate Mario Chalmers? Well, he's a turnover machine, with less than stellar ball-handling skills despite being the starting point guard for one of the league's best teams over the past four years. His career averages are 8.6 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. And yet Chalmers, by most accounts, appears to think he is one of the top point guards in the league.
That said, Chalmers is fairly talented. His problems are mental, not physical. When he is on his game, he can be an effective player. I honestly can't figure out whether being on the Heat has helped or hurt his free agency. On the one hand, he's probably much more well-known than he would be if he spent the past four years on, say, the Detroit Pistons or Houston Rockets. On the other hand, Chalmers has received an overwhelming amount of criticism whenever he has made mistakes, largely due to the massive spotlight and sky-high expectations that come with playing for the Heat. Ultimately, Chalmers probably isn't as good or as bad as most people think.
Fit with the Mavericks
The only reason the Mavericks should sign Mario Chalmers is if he comes at a significantly cheaper price than Devin Harris. Since this almost certainly won't be the case, let's not stress ourselves worrying about how we will force ourselves to root for Chalmers. But just for fun, here's a list of (restricted and unresricted) free agent point guards I'd rather have than Chalmers: Kyle Lowry, Devin Harris, Shaun Livingston, Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas, Patty Mills, Ramon Sessions, and D.J. Augustin.
Now let's say the Mavs did sign Chalmers; how would he fit in with the current roster? Playing with LeBron all these years, Chalmers is accustomed to playing off ball much less than the average point guard. This could work well with Monta. Chalmers is obviously an upgrade over Calderon defensively, but he's still smaller than you would like Monta's backcourt partner to be. He did, however, hit 38 percent of his 3-pointers last year, which is significantly better than Devin Harris or Raymond Felton (both hit 31.8 percent last season). Chalmers would probably be serviceable, performance-wise.
Ultimately, Chalmers is probably a slightly better fit next to Monta than Devin Harris or Raymond Felton, because he is a surprisingly decent defender and three-point shooter. Devin is, however, much more well-liked here in Dallas. There seem to be several other point guard targets the Mavs are more likely to be interested in, and there's no obvious reason to think that Dallas is near the top of Mario's list of destinations either. Which is probably for the best.
If you want a more in-depth look at the perplexing Mr. Chalmers, this article is for you.