A couple weeks ago, we determined Derek Harper was the best point guard in Mavericks history. Today, we continue our series this week with a look at the best and most productive shooting guards, with Rolando Blackman, Jason Terry and Jim Jackson as our three potential candidates. It was hard narrowing the list down to just three players, and a few solid guards just missed the cut, such as Monta Ellis (only played two seasons) and Jerry Stackhouse (only played 25 minutes per game with Dallas). Check back next week to see our look at small forwards.
A tall, lanky shooting guard who played in the backcourt alongside last week's winner, Harper, was a silky smooth scorer who possessed an astonishing combination of graceful speed and a bull-dog toughness at the rim. His offensive strength was very clearly centered around his ability to finish in the paint. His soft hands and ability to finish through contact made him an especially tough defensive assignment, averaging 19.2 points per game with Dallas.
He shot 49 percent from the field in an era before three-pointers became common -- he shot 33 percent behind the arc, but they only made up four percent of his field goal attempts. His midrange jump shot was picturesque, with good follow through and high elevation, and the form translated to the free throw line, where he shot 84 percent during the course of his 11 seasons with Dallas. Some might say his success at the foul line was a result of confidence, baby!
Despite playing 34 minutes per game for Dallas, Ro was never a very productive rebounder, only managing to snag 2.4 defensive rebounds per game.
Blackman appeared in the playoffs six times, and took a trip to the Western Conference Finals, pushing the Showtime Lakers to 7 games in 1988. He was also selected to four All-Star games, including the legendary game in 1987, in which Blackman scored 29 points in 22 minutes, on 15 shots and nailed 11 free throws, two of them being the most clutch free throws in All-Star history. It’s impossible to forget him screaming, “Confidence, baby, confidence!” as he sunk both shots to send the game to OT, eventually leading to a West win.
Jason Eugene Terry. JET. What better nickname could their possibly be for a 6’2 shooting guard with enough swagger to get the Larry O’Brien trophy tattooed on his bicep before even making the Finals? Terry was a longtime fan favorite in Dallas, known especially for his three-point shot and deadly two-man game with Dirk, but was most loved for his undying confidence. Every time the AAC erupted after Terry drained a clutch three-pointer or hit a mid-range jump shot to spark a frantic comeback, as he ran back up the court he spread his wings and truly lived up to his nickname, throwing the stadium into a frenzy.
Terry has always been an offensive dynamo, whether he was starting or coming off the bench. He averaged 16.1 points in his career with Dallas spanning 619 games. Jet’s shooting numbers are pretty impressive too, posting the second-best shooting percentages of any player we’ve looked at so far. He shot 46 percent from the field, 39 percent from behind the three-point arc, and 85 percent from the free throw stripe.
His offensive efficiency benefitted every other Mav on the court as well. His two-man game with Dirk was one of Dallas’s go-to weapons, and would be implemented into offensive schemes with other small, offensively inclined guards like Monta Ellis, J.J. Barea and Deron Williams. Besides Dirk, JET is the only other Maverick to appear in both NBA Finals in franchise history, and he appeared in the playoffs eight total times alongside the big German. Terry was never named to an All-Star game, but he was named Sixth Man of the Year in 2009 when he averaged 19.6 points per game off the bench for Mavericks team that won 50 games.
The biggest and most powerful player we’ve looked at so far, Jackson was an absolute wrecking ball in the paint, using his 6’6, 220 pound frame to finish through contact. He averaged 19.6 points per game over his 5 year season with Dallas, but only appeared in 289 games out of a possible 410.
Jimmy Jackson played alongside one of the other point guards we mentioned last week, Jason Kidd, and was a consistent second scoring option behind Jamal Mashburn (when he could actually get on the court). His offensive game, much like Rolando Blackman’s, was based around scoring in the paint. Jackson was not only a power playing in the paint, using his strength to create space, but he also relied on a series of vintage post moves like jump hooks and dropsteps. While he was never an incredibly efficient scorer, shooting 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from downtown, he was a solid free throw shooter (80 percent) and was a decent mid range jump shooter.
As I mentioned earlier, Jackson played alongside Kidd so his playmaking abilities were never heavily featured in the flow of the offense, but he still managed to average 3.8 assists per game in a high powered, run and gun style of offense. One of Jackson’s most underrated offensive contributions was his offensive rebounding. Just two other guards in NBA history have ever averaged more offensive rebounds per game than the 2.0 offensive boards Jackson snagged in 1995 — Jason Kidd and Magic Johnson, arguably the two best rebounding guards of all time, behind maybe only Oscar Robertson. Jackson was not a terrific defensive rebounder, and in general was not a terribly effective defender, but his offensive rebounding and scoring ability complimented the rest of the roster very well.
Jackson played on one of the worst Dallas teams in franchise history, and in his first two seasons with the Mavs, the team only won 24 games. Dallas would never post a winning record while Jackson was on the roster, and for the majority of his time in Dallas, the Mavs were basement fodder for the rest of the league to work out the kinks in their offense against. This certainly is by no means a reflection of Jackson himself, but it does dampen any chance he had of being considered a top two shooting guard in Dallas. He never made the playoffs, never played on a team with a winning record and never won a single individual accolade in his time with Dallas.
Winner: Jason Terry
It was a very tough choice this week, but I believe JET was the most instrumental to Dallas’ success, especially in the playoffs. Terry played alongside the greatest Maverick of all time and still managed not to fade into the background, on the court or off. He was a great offensive player and one of the best shooters in franchise history, not to mention his knack for hitting big shots and stepping up when games were on the line. Rolando Blackman was a close second, and the main reason I gave the edge to Terry was the fact that JET was featured so heavily in the Dallas offense for so many years, and that he was the second leading scorer on a team that delayed LeBron James and the mega-talented Miami Heat from mounting their pedestal, albeit just for a year. Jim Jackson was certainly a talented player but in terms of longevity and success, his career with Dallas just doesn’t stack up.