Dallas Mavericks: Is It Time to Hit the Panic Button or Rebuild?
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I'm going to have to respectfully disagree.
A few days ago I finally publicly pontificated about the record playing in my head since before last summer's bloodletting—when the Mavs blew up a championship team on a wing and a prayer and violated other time-tested old adages.
Yes, I had a feeling deep down inside that this whole path was a very bad idea and boy, how I hate to be right sometimes.
However, all is not lost. It may indeed be very soon but not just yet. The Mavs have specific weaknesses thanks to last summer's shenanigans, and if you can address those weaknesses, great things can still happen before Dirk rides into the sunset.
In addressing Tyler's specific points, I simply don't see things the same way.
1) The team has no trade chips.
I do agree that there are no trading chips, but that can be overcome. The Mavericks had a very respectable draft and the free-agent market has a number of excellent prospects beyond Williams, some of who the Mavs might actually be able to afford now.
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2) No one left on the free-agent market is actually worth their market value.
And D-Will is? I'm a big "bang for the buck" guy. Some players are certainly overpaid, but everything is relative. It's true that Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin aren't worth what Deron is, but did we somehow miss out on his signing for almost (gasp) $20 million a year?
How is it then that Nash isn't worth $12 million, leaving nearly $8 million for other needs? The same can be said for Lin, whose production admittedly diminished somewhat after he initially lit up the Garden—stats that Tyler describes as "below average." I'm not ready to write him off. Eight million doesn't seem like such a bad deal to me for Jeremy and remember, he's young and hasn't even put in a full season as a starter. He is certain to improve and Goran Dragic reportedly wants more money than that for inferior numbers.
Lin and Nash also have incredible star power which shouldn't be ignored. In addition, a Nash/Dirk combination has no adjustment period as the two already played together for years and have a warm and fuzzy friendship to boot (gotta love that). Most importantly, can either of these guys put up numbers that are anywhere in the neighborhood of Deron Williams for half the price? Most certainly, yes.
There are obviously other options ranging from Dragic to Andre Miller and beyond. My next choice would be Chauncey Billups, if he can return from injury. He was also playing at an age-defying level before going down and his leadership skills and all-around game are undeniable.
3. The Mavericks are incredibly old and aren't winning a championship regardless of who they acquire.
If that's true, then why empty the bank account for Williams? The Mavericks are indeed old but they were already old when they won the championship. While Dirk had injury issues last year and wasn't in great shape as the season started, ultimately he played at the same level he has for years.
Of the most important cogs in the wheel, only Jason Kidd has shown significant decline and he won't be running the show anymore. In fact, Nash, Lin or a healthy Billups would be an upgrade to the Kidd who helped the Mavs win the championship.
There is young talent on the Mavs as well, not a new superstar, but lots of potential. I am a firm believer that giving significant time to Brandan Wright will yield big dividends. The three draftees should get significant opportunities with Jason Terry gone, along with the presumable exits of Brendan Haywood and Ian Mahimi. And let me proudly shout, I think Yi Jianlian has potential too. He's only 24, inexpensive and played decently for the Nets. He has a good outside shot and if he could work on his inside game and get his FG percentage up, who knows?
If they can bring back Sean Williams, I think they should. Otherwise, if the Mavs can use the extra money saved by not signing Williams to bring in a good young solid all-around player such as Kris Humphries, all is definitely not lost. I do feel they have to have someone contributing defensively in the low post or it's going to be a long year.
There will come a time to rebuild; sadly, it shouldn't have been last year, but based on who the Mavs still have and who is still available, it doesn't have to be right now. Looking at the championship team and taking chemistry out of the mix, you can actually plug the holes pretty well and even make a couple of upgrades. So for now, I'm going to put my pick and shovel away and hope for some exciting news.
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