Strong reactions poured in over the summer when it was announced that the Dallas Mavericks acquired Josh McRoberts from the Miami Heat. Much of it was negative. Gut reactions aren’t new to the internet, but these seemed especially harsh.
It’s well known that McRoberts missed much of the last three seasons, appearing in only 82 games for the Heat. A torn right meniscus, bruised knee, and a stress fracture in his left foot, in successive seasons, kept him sidelined.
There’s a real concern when it comes to McRoberts. His injury history doesn’t bode well for future success. That’s unfortunate but it doesn’t warrant an immediate red flag. McRoberts is only 30 years old. That’s not too old to carve out a role on the Mavericks. If he’s looking to revitalize his career, Dallas is a great place to do it.
It’s apparent that McRoberts’ past health issues loom over his future in Dallas. He’s in good hands with Casey Smith, the Mavericks’ highly regarded trainer, though. Smith has worked wonders keeping scores of veterans healthy. If Smith is able to work his magic and keep McRoberts healthy, then he could turn into a valuable role player for the Mavs.
It’s not impossible to think that a healthy McRoberts can regain some of what made him a valuable asset on the Charlotte Bobcats four years ago. It just takes some brainpower. In his only full season in Charlotte, McRoberts put up some of the best numbers of his career. Playing 30 minutes a night, he averaged 8.5 points on 43.6 percent shooting (including 36.1 percent from behind the arc), 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.
The assists really stand out. At the time, the Bobcats ran a lot of their offense through McRoberts as he was also able to make plays from almost anywhere on the floor. At 6’10, McRoberts is able to see over defenses and find teammates cutting to the basket. Dallas tried to run something similar with Andrew Bogut last season. However, because Bogut wasn’t a reliable outside shooter, defenders hung back, clogging passing lanes. But McRoberts is an above average midrange shooter. In his full season with the Bobcats, he connected on 63.2 percent of his shots from 10-16 feet. But he’s not just a jump shooter; McRoberts has the ability to create for himself on and off the ball.
Coming off the bench, McRoberts could see a similar role with the Mavs as either a power forward or small-ball center in halfcourt sets. Dallas doesn’t necessarily have the personnel to create a lot of off-ball movement, even in a flow offense. However, they do have a number of guards who can work through screens so that McRoberts can find them if the ball is in his hands.
Defensively, McRoberts has proven that he can hang with big men and battle in the paint. He’s not going to make many, if any, highlight reel blocks, but his size gives him the ability to move opponents off their spots and challenge shots. Additionally, his length and active hands disrupt passing lanes and create turnovers.
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Injury. McRoberts’ past troubles staying healthy caused the uproar from fans after his trade to Dallas. Look, it’s a very real possibility that he could again suffer an injury, sidelining him for a portion of the season. Time on the bench recovering from an injury could see him fall out of the rotation entirely. If that happens, it will be unfortunate.
There is a plus side to this scenario, however. McRoberts is on the final year of his deal. The $6 million he’s making this season is a favorable deal because it comes off the books next year. This makes it a favorable contract if the Mavericks decide to move him. If he stays with the team all season, it won’t impact the cap next summer. Whether he plays or not, the business aspects of his contract are positive for Dallas.
Whether you like it or not, Josh McRoberts is a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He brings with him a concerning resume of injuries which overshadow his on-court accomplishments. But it shouldn’t be his dominant narrative. McRobert brings a unique skillset to the game, not often found in big men. His court vision and passing are things to behold. His shooting touch adds another depth to his game.
The season hasn’t started yet, so let’s not jump to conclusions with McRoberts. He could very well be a solid addition to the team.
Till next time, take care of yourselves and each other.