First Quarter Report Card Grade for Every Dallas Mavericks Player

Ross Bentley@@imrossbentleySenior Analyst IDecember 14, 2012

First Quarter Report Card Grade for Every Dallas Mavericks Player

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    Still without their superstar Dirk Nowitzki, the Dallas Mavericks sit at 11-11, third in the Southwest division through the first quarter of the season.

    Dallas has had their ups and downs so far this year, and continue to just try and tread water until Dirk returns to the lineup.

    In a team that features several new players this year, some have seen a great amount of success in Big D, while others seem to be lost playing under Rick Carlisle.

    Here are the report card grades for each Mavs player through this point in the season.

Rodrigue Beaubois

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    Many believed this would be the year that Roddy Beaubois would break out of his shell and become a significant contributor for the Dallas Mavericks.

    Simply put, that has not been the case.

    Beaubois is once again struggling to find playing time, especially since the addition of Derek Fisher and is averaging a measly 3.6 PPG, and 2.1 APG in under 13 minutes per contest.

    At some point, Donnie Nelson may want to consider trading away Beaubois so he can have a fresh start somewhere else. At this point, he has to officially be considered a failure in Dallas.

    Grade: D

Elton Brand

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    Although he has been in the league for 13 years already, at age 33 the Mavericks still believed Elton Brand could be a big contributor the squad when they signed him this offseason.

    However, Brand is showing signs of aging this year through the season's first quarter.

    Brand is averaging career lows in points, rebounds, and minutes and has fallen out of the starting lineup now for the Mavericks.

    Brand has been unable to find his rhythm on offense, shooting just over 40 percent, another career-low.

    When Dirk Nowitzki comes back, it will be even more difficult for Brand to maintain consistent minutes as other big men on the roster are surging past him.

    Grade: C-

Vince Carter

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    Vince Carter is never again going to be the player he was in his prime when he was near the top of the league in scoring while playing for the Raptors and Nets.

    However, the 35-year-old Carter has proven this year that he still has plenty left in the tank to contribute to an NBA team.

    Carter's numbers are up across the board despite coming off the bench for the Mavs this year.

    Despite his former superstar status, Carter is accepting and excelling in his role as a sixth man scoring over 12 points a game this season.

    When Carter gets hot he can be deadly from beyond the arc, and is still a threat that teams need to be on the lookout for offensively.

    Grade: B+

Darren Collison

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    Darren Collison has been harder to figure out this season than any other player on the Mavericks roster.

    On one hand, Collison's skills have been on prominently on display this year. He is scoring above his career-high at 12.8 PPG and also is passing the ball well at 5.7 APG. His quickness in the open court provides an added dimension to the teams offense that the other guards on the roster lack.

    However, Collison has fallen in and out of favor with Rick Carlisle losing and winning back his starting spot. This has been in large part due to his turnovers, something Collison has struggled with immensely this season.

    Collison has turned the ball over 57 times already this season, and he has just a 2.1 assist to turnover ratio, not what you want out of a starting point guard.

    Still, overall Mavs fans have to feel optimistic about Collison's future with the team, as long as he takes care of the ball.

    Grade: C+

Jae Crowder

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    Jae Crowder still may be undersized for his position, not shoot the ball great and not look like a prototypical NBA small forward, some of the reasons team passed up on him until the second round of the NBA draft earlier this year.

    But Crowder hustles, plays defense and is always looking to improve, meaning there is a spot for him on an NBA roster.

    Crowder's stats don't jump off the page, and he has been inconsistent as you would expect from a rookie.

    Still, Crowder has been able to contribute from the start for this Mavs team, something they didn't necessarily expect from him when they drafted him.

    He still has a long way to go to be a permanent starter in the league, but it has been fun watching Crowder develop his game so far this year.

    Grade: B

Jared Cunningham

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    It is unfair to judge Jared Cunningham's performance this year because we have barely seen him.

    Cunningham has not been able to crack the rotation in his rookie year, averaging only 3.4 minutes per game and is scoring 2.3 PPG.

    You could say Cunningham is having a bad year because he has not impressed the coaching staff enough to get minutes, but it's also important to note he is playing behind established veterans at his position in Vince Carter and O.J. Mayo.

    Grade: Incomplete

Derek Fisher

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    Considering that point guard was supposed to be one of the positions that Dallas was deep in before the season started, Derek Fisher was not a player many fans expected to see in a Mavs uniform this season.

    However, since coming over Fisher has done a nice job, and is proving at age 38 he still is a capable NBA player.

    Fisher has started all six games he has played for the Mavericks, and scoring at 7.8 PPG. If that number stays, it will be Fisher's highest average since the '08-09 season.

    Fisher is shooting the ball poorly and is taking too many shots in the Mavs offense, but if he can limit his shots to three-point attempts and set up his teammates for scores, he can be a valuable player for the team as the season continues.

    Grade: B

Bernard James

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    The jury remains out on whether or not Bernard James can be an effective NBA big man.

    James' minutes have been inconsistent, and when he has seen the court he yet to make a serious impact.

    However James does show signs that he can be an effective defensive-minded center. James rebounds the ball well and is averaging at 0.9 blocks a game, despite playing only 11.5 minutes.

    James has to battle with Chris Kaman and Brandan Wright for playing time, but I would like to see him get in the rotation more to see if he can perform at the NBA level.

    Grade: C

Dahntay Jones

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    As the season has gone on, Dahntay Jones has found himself more and more minutes for this Mavericks squad.

    In the last three games, Jones has played 21, 29 and 32 minutes respectively, the three highest totals for him of the season.

    Jones also has been in double figures the last two games, the first times he has done that this year.

    Jones isn't shooting the ball well at all, shooting under 16 percent from long distance, but if he can get into a rhythm the veteran can be a valuable spot-up shooter on offense.

    However, where Jones really is valuable is his defense. Jones has the capability of being a lock down perimeter defender which is a large reason why he has been getting into the lineup.

    Jone's season thus far has been underwhelming, but he seems to be heading in the right direction.

    Grade: B-

Dominique Jones

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    While Dominique Jones seems to be making a little bit more of an impact for Dallas this season, he still can't be regarded as much more than a reserve.

    Jones started more games this season (two) than he did in either of his first two previous years, but he still is far back on the depth chart.

    Jones is averaging under 11 minutes played per game, and is scoring at 3.3 PPG. Part of the reason Jones can't find consistent playing time is that he continues to have problems shooting.

    In his first two seasons Jones shot 31 and 39 percent, respectively. This year he continues to stay in the thirties with a shooting percentage of 32.2. 

    Jones has been passing the ball nicely at 3.1 assists per game in his limited minutes. However, he still has a steep climb ahead of him if he is going to be a mainstay in Rick Carlisle's rotation.

    Grade: C

Chris Kaman

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    The reason Dallas has been able to stay competitive is that they have acquired two significant players who have helped keep them afloat in the first quarter of the year.

    One is O.J. Mayo, who we will grade later, but the other is Chris Kaman.

    Kaman has always been a solid consistent big man during his NBA career, but this year his numbers seem even more impressive because of just how badly the team needed him to contribute.

    Kaman is scoring at 14.2 PPG, and is also grabbing 6.7 RPG. Kaman is shooting well over 50 percent from the field and over 80 percent from the free-throw line.

    Dallas desperately needed a solid big man to go to down low in Dirk's absence and Kaman has been able to be just that when healthy.

    Kaman has been in double figures in 17 of his 20 games played this season.

    Grade: A

Shawn Marion

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    Despite being 34, "The Matrix" Shawn Marion is another another excellent season for the Mavericks.

    Marion has been able to score at double figures in points (10.0 PPG) and also rebound very well for a small forward (7.4 RPG).

    Marion continues to be efficient from the floor, play outstanding perimeter defense, rebound consistently and be a leadership force in the locker room.

    It is hard to argue that Marion is the most valuable member of the team, but without him Dallas certainly wouldn't be in a position to fight for a playoff spot.

    Marion has been putting up good numbers with also taking a lesser role this season, averaging under 30 minutes played per game for only the third time in his career. 

    Grade: B+

O.J. Mayo

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    When Dallas failed to acquire Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, they knew they needed to find someone capable of being "the guy" on offense when Dirk wasn't on the court. 

    They signed O.J. Mayo hoping he could fill that role, and he has more than exceeded expectations for all Dallas fans and front office members this year.

    Mayo has carried the team offensively, scoring at 20.9 PPG, good for eighth in the NBA. Mayo has done this while shooting almost 50 percent from the field, and 52 percent from beyond the arc.

    Mayo has been aggressive, smart and consistent for the Mavs, everything they had hoped he would be coming in. He also hasn't forgot to get his teammates involved, sprinkling in over three assists per game as well.

    Although he was relegated to a sixth man role in Memphis, Mayo is proving this year that he has what it takes to be the top scorer on an NBA team, and the buzz is building around Dallas to just how good he and Dirk Nowitzki can be together when Dirk finally suits up.

    Grade: A+

Brandan Wright

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    Brandan Wright has found himself battling to stay in the rotation this season.

    Wright started the year as the team's starting center, and even kept the job when Chris Kaman returned from injury. 

    However, Wright then lost his position because of a lack of rebounding, and he struggled to find the court at all once he was dropped from the starting lineup.

    As the team began to deal with injuries, and Wright began to play better he has now reemerged, for now, in the Dallas rotation.

    When he has seen the court, Wright has played well offensively.

    He scored in double figures the first four games of the season and scored a season-high 16 against the Suns earlier this month.  He is also shooting nearly 63 percent from the field and is growing into his body this year. Wright has shown a much better ability to finish around the rim than in previous seasons.

    However, Wright continues to be somewhat of a liability defensively, and on the glass despite his 6'10'' frame. 

    It will be up to Rick Carlisle if he can deal with Wright's lack of rebounding intensity as the season continues, or if he will fall out of the rotation once again.

    Grade: C+