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Ricky Castro, Contributing Writer (@trueselective)
In 2005, the Dallas Mavericks front office hired stats guy and creator of 82games.com Roland Beech. His influence on the coaching staff grew and the team was able to make roster decisions about individuals' playing time. This seemed very odd at the time, but playing time was based by Beech's analytics and the results were brilliant. As the Mavs front office acquired big and small names it was Beech who helped push the right buttons at key stretches for the Mavs to eventually win a championship.
Dan Devine from 'Ball Don't Lie' writes:
Beech served as an assistant coach on the championship-winning 2010-11 Mavericks, sitting behind the bench and regularly communicating with head coach Rick Carlisle in an effort to help Dallas continually find its best five and exploit opponents' weaknesses:
The Mavericks knew which lineups and pairings worked for them and optimized their rotations accordingly. But it wasn't just about personnel usage in the NBA Finals — it was play calls, game planning and countless in-season adjustments that built to this moment.
"Roland was a key part to all his," Cuban said. "I give a lot of credit to Coach Carlisle for putting Roland on the bench and interfacing with him, and making sure we understood exactly what was going on. Knowing what lineups work, what the issues were in terms of play calls and training."
"It makes a difference. I think Jason [Kidd] and [Jason Terry] and Dirk [Nowitzki] and Tyson Chandler make a whole lot more difference, but if you don't know what's going on it's hard for you to get smarter and get better."
On August 15, 2015, it was reported that Beech reached an agreement with the Sacramento Kings to become head of their analytics department. The combination of Carlisle, Beech, and the rest of the Mavs' coaching staff has historically made some of the league's most seemingly underrated players extremely valuable.
These are players few teams wanted to take a risk on. They were 'team cancers,' 'rejects', had 'attitude problems,' and just weren't 'good enough'. But someone saw their potential and knew how to use them properly to win. No, they weren't trying to kill each other like in the Quentin Tarantino film. Instead, they were trying to kill the perception that they couldn't bring value to a team.
Here are the eight best value Mavericks of the last decade:
8. Jae Crowder
The Mavericks front office began to draft '3 and D' guys when they drafted Crowder. He was relentless on the defensive end, always brought energy and could score from range. When the Celtics traded Rajon Rondo to Dallas, Crowder was an important piece for them. No one knew coming into the league that Crowder would be this valuable of a commodity.
7. Monta Ellis
The Mavericks signed Monta Ellis on the cheap. At the time they needed a guard who could flat out score to compliment Dirk Nowitzki. Monta did that and much more. Some nights Monta would carry the Mavericks to victory. Other times, he would be the best player on the floor and some nights he couldn't be stopped from scoring in the fourth quarter.
6. Vince Carter
When 'Air Canada' came to the Mavs he was not 'Air Canada' anymore -- he was more like Southwest Airlines. Credit the Mavs' front office for recognizing his defensive acumen and that he didn't need to dunk to score. His mid-range and 3-point shooting was at the top of the league for sixth men.
5. Al-Farouq Aminu
When the Mavericks acquired Aminu via free agency there was a lot of talk of what he could be. No one thought that he would be exactly that. In last year's playoff series, Aminu was by far the best player on the floor against the Houston Rockets. He was rebounding, deflecting passes, pocketing steals, scoring, and putting the brakes on the guy he was guarding through out the series. He so good, in fact, that other teams took notice and the Mavs couldn't afford to re-sign him.
4. DeShawn Stevenson
Throughout the 2011 season, Stevenson finished top ten in points, rebounds, and steals; and was 6th in assists on that Mavs roster. He really shined in the Finals when he put a damper on Lebron James' production. That alone unexpectedly brought huge value, since we all know what happened at the end of that series.
3. Shawn Marion
When Marion joined the Mavericks, he still had plenty of gas in the tank. The Mavs were able to use his skill set to make him a perfect fit on both offense and defense. He wasnt the high flyer he was in Phoenix (which is why not much was expected from him) but instead ended up being a perfect 'energy guy' who was versatile and could do a lot of things for the team.
2. Tyson Chandler
Coming into the 2010-11 season, Chandler was viewed as just another center. Few could have predicted the impact he had in the locker room and defensively on the court. He was the defensive anchor that held it together -- and did it all again in his second stint with the Mavs last season.
1. J.J. Barea
Barea was undrafted and practically a walk-on for the Mavericks during 2006 Summer League. After signing with the Mavs, he didn't get significant playing time until he averaged 27 and 8 for the Fort Worth Flyers and got called back up to come off of the Mavs bench. The rest is history. He came out of nowhere and ending up being an essential piece of the Mavericks' championship.