After a few days of wondering which late first-round prospect the Mavericks would try to turn into the next Roddy Beaubois or Josh Howard, the suspense is over. The Mavericks picked University of Texas forward Jordan Hamilton, only to send him to Denver via Portland for Rudy Fernandez.
First, a few words on what might have been. Hamilton was a possible lottery pick, with an explosive offensive game that stretches from the paint to the three-point arc. He could have been a nice insert for youth, speed and scoring, which the Mavs could use more of on all counts.
But he also isn't a very active defender and, with any late-round pick, there are questions to how his game will translate to the NBA.
We already know Fernandez is at least capable of playing in the NBA, even if his three-point shot has deserted him over the last few months.
When you break it down, Fernandez is a slightly richer man's Peja Stojakovic, complete with 5 o'clock shadow and swarthy foreign look. Rudy is younger, can run a little bit more and, with a salary next year of about $2 million (and a $3.1 million qualifying offer for 2012-13), is a fairly affordable piece.
When Peja went cold in the Finals, coach Rick Carlisle yanked him pretty quick, and I'm sure he won't hesitate to do the same with Fernandez. And after all the Mavs were able to win a title with a benched Peja (for those of you waiting for my season review of the Mavs championship, it's coming).
Fernandez, 26, offers a little bit of youth and he's more of a true 2, so he might find some useful minutes for the Mavericks. But he's also just about as much as a defensive liability as Peja as well, though he has the quick footspeed and long wingspan to maybe become a passable defender.
So while the addition of Fernandez probably means no more Peja for the Mavericks, he could have also come at the cost of another youth piece.
Rodrigue Beaubois, Dominique Jones and Hamilton could have been a young, talented backcourt for the Mavs of the future, and learning from players like Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Caron Butler might have also helped those young'uns develop.
From my perspective, Fernandez doesn't seem to be able to do anything that Hamilton couldn't give the Mavs, so it's a questionable trade for sure.
But then again, Mavs GM Donnie Nelson just built a championship team. And while I've been known to build a killer plate at the all-you-can-eat buffet, I guess we'll have to bow to Donnie this time.
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