Manager's note: This week, we will be publishing trial posts from our MMB finalists. With almost 100 applicants, thanks to those who sent an email. This piece is by Taylor Hester; enjoy!
As the new season quickly approaches, one of the biggest questions on the minds of Dallas Maverick fans everywhere has yet to be answered, "Who will start at point guard?" Let's look at the options.
Harris is back after backing up Jose Calderon last season. Last year Harris had one of his worst years statistically in the NBA. Almost all numbers were below his career averages. He played 40 games, averaging 7.9 points per game and only making 37.8% (career low) of his shots from the field. However, his numbers shot up in the playoffs, shooting 47% from the field. He also had career highs in 3-pointers (44%) and from the free throw line (87.5%).
The veteran is a suitable option to replace Calderon as the starter. His leadership, relationship with Rick Carlisle, and knowledge of the Maverick's offense probably makes him the frontrunner for the job. Notice how I said "knowledge of the Maverick's offense" and not defense, because defense went out the window at the PG position when Jason Kidd left. But, he's probably the best defender out of the four guys we have on the roster at PG.
Felton was acquired in the trade for Tyson Chandler from the New York Knicks. Felton was the starter for the Knicks for the past two years. Like Harris, Felton has one of his worst years statistically as well, only shooting 39.5% from the field while averaging 9.7 points per game (career low).
Felton is an interesting character. As we all know, he will be suspended for the first four games of the season without pay after pleading guilty to gun charges. So, there's that. We all know he has had problems with his weight too. His cap hit is just about the same as Harris'. Why include him in the trade? Why do we want a guy who seems to be going downhill in his production? If he can get back to his numbers in 2010-11, that would be awesome. Name him the starter. If he can't, he's a good depth piece. He's a former starter, has experience in the playoffs, and could help this team get to where we want to be. I just don't think it will be as a starter.
Nelson probably had the best season out of this group last year. He played the most games (68) of the three. He also averaged the most points (12.1) and assists (7.0).
Although his shooting percentages have gone down from recent years, I still think this guy can produce with the right group of players and shooting around him. His numbers will rise significantly with guys like Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki getting all the attention. Should Rick Carlisle give Nelson a seriously look for the starting job? I think so.
What would I do?
I know Carlisle will do a lot of rotating, and the starter might not necessarily get the most minutes. But, I'd start Harris. He has been here the longest, he knows Dirk, he knows Carlisle, he knows Mark Cuban, and he knows the Dallas Maverick way. He's the best defender out of the three. Start him at point and rotate him in at shooting guard. I'd have Felton and Nelson coming off the bench and possibly playing SG at times as well. I think Harris will play a lot of minutes this year. This is just my opinion, but I think the Mavs will live and die by how our PGs perform this season.
Let me know what you would do.