Even as the Dallas Mavericks have made it deeper and deeper into the playoffs in recent years, they've had weaknesses at two key positions; some might say THE key positions.
Center and shooting guard have been two holes in the Mavericks' game, and one would argue having a superstar at either position is the quickest way to a championship.
I've already discussed the Mavericks' center woes, and believe you me, I'll get into that more as the season progresses.
Now let's take a look at what the Mavericks are doing with the shooting guard position. For next year, I hope they land Joe Johnson, but once again, we'll have to get into that later.
Let's look at what the Mavericks are doing this year. They have four point guards on their roster (Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, Jason Terry, Rodrigue Beaubois), and only one true shooting guard, Matt Carroll, who won't be seeing much of the floor this season.
The original plan was for a healthy Josh Howard to start alongside Kidd, Marion, Dirk, and Erick Dampier. Howard's ankle has put a kink in those plans, so the Mavs are left to figure out something else.
And that something has been a twoand three PG lineup, making the best use of the four point guards the Mavs have on their roster.
The Mavericks are using point guards to fill in the shooting guard position, and are having a good amount of success doing so.
Jason Kidd brings Finals experience, Hall of Fame credentials, and a passer's eye that has rarely been equaled in NBA history. With shooters like Terry, Dirk, and Howard in the lineup, the more open looks they get, the better.
Kidd is also one of the best rebounding point guards to play the game.
While Jason Kidd brings a lot of little things into the mix for the Mavericks, he has two glaring flaws, namely, offense and defense.
Okay, that sounds a bit harsh. He can run an offense, he's just not a scoring threat. For someone who can rebound and pass as well as he can, there are nights like last night against the Bucks when the only thing keeping him from a triple-double was low scoring.
Jason Terry, on the other hand, provides scoring and not much else. The starting point guard (until Devin Harris took the reins) at the start of the 2007-08 season, Terry has found his niche coming off the bench as instant offense, a role for which he seems to be destined.
His defense is lacking and his passing isn't his strong suit (to be polite), but he's also the heart and soul of the team, connecting to his teammates and fans alike in a way many professional athletes seem incapable of doing.
J.J. Barea is the guy no one saw coming.
Who he bribed to be listed at six feet tall we'll never know, but the guy is a spark plug. Not to mention my inspiration for maybe one day playing in the NBA.
J.J. plays wherever he's needed, and in the past two seasons, he's done much to earn himself playing time with an ability to squeeze under and around big men to get through to the rim.
He's also developing a pretty good jump shot and decent passing skills. Sometimes he gets a little too reckless, especially when he's on the floor in crunch time, but he's exciting enough to usually make it worth my while.
The final member of this Fab Four is Rodrigue Beaubois, the X-Factor. He showed flashes of brilliance in summer league play and seems to be adapting to the NBA faster than anyone could have imagined.
Speaking of imagining, envision someone with Tony Parker's speed, Ben Gordon's range, and Chris Paul's defensive chops. Not only is that a distinct possibility, we're seeing it right now; he's playing less than 10 minutes a game.
He saved the game for the Mavericks last night against the Bucks, with an incredible block on Brandon Jennings as he tried to launch a go-ahead three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left in overtime.
Beaubois managed to get enough of a hand on it that Dallas was able to pull down a rebound and call a timeout, and Dirk sank the buzzerbeating game winner (is there a sweeter combination of compound words in the English language? Methinks not) 3.5 seconds later.
So what, exactly, does having this fearsome foursome mean for the Dallas Mavericks?
Well, with the absence of Josh Howard, possibly until the end of the year, it gives the Mavs options at the shooting guard besides Quinton Ross, who can't shoot his way out of a paper bag.
It also gives them a deeper backcourt than anyone else in the league, and youth and experience in one package.
Call me crazy, but as Jason Kidd's skills inevitably decline over the course of his freshly-inked three-year deal, I really like the thought of him passing on pearls of wisdom to J.J. Barea (we can already see the benefit he's gotten from a little more than a whole season) and Rodrigue Beaubois.
Last year we saw coach Rick Carlisle roll out a three-guard lineup against smaller teams, and it played out pretty well.
Now, they have a well of three point guards who together offer a few different looks to opposing teams.
Kidd and Beaubois offer a nice passand receive offense that has already produced a couple of highlight reel alley oops. Because really, who expects a point guard to point guard alley oop?
On the defensive end, I'm dying to see what Beaubois can do oneon one against those quick point guards that have torched the Mavs for years.
He did pretty well against Brandon Jennings, who is about as quick as they get, so that could add another dimension to a Mavs defense that's experiencing a resurgence this season.
How about Beaubois and Terry, a combination that is sure to get plenty of time together as the seasons go on? Both players are great on offense, and as long as the team doesn't have a quick point guard and a strong, athletic slasher at the two, the Mavericks should be able to pull this combination off.
Beaubois and Barea give the Mavericks an explosive combo on the offensive end, and while J.J. is a weak link defensively, the team shouldn't be running it in crunch time too often.
Imagine Kidd, Beaubois, and Terry, alongside Dirk and Damp/Gooden. That's three very good offensive players, combined with some low-post bulk and a world class distributor.
You get the point. With a Fab Four of point guards, the Mavericks are wide open to throw some crazy looks at opposing teams, even more so than last season.
Throw into the mix Rick Carlisle's ability to find successful, unorthodox lineups, and the Dallas Mavericks are poised to do some major damage this season.