Wednesday , Feb , 13 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Jason Kidd’s Return to the Dallas Mavericks Will Change the Team but Not Their Chances

Jason Kidd's Return to the Dallas Mavericks Will Change the Team but Not Their Chances

The Dallas Mavericks gave up a lot to pick up Jason Kidd. He is a huge addition. Although he is no longer in his prime, very few players in their primes would ever do as well as he is doing today. However, Dallas just traded away a third of its team with the hope of having the New Jersey Nets waive Jerry Stackhouse only for Stack to return in thirty days.

A huge strength of Dallas’ team has been that they are versatile and deep. While DeSagana Diop is not exactly an elite big man, he does provide a different look – namely, length, quickness and a little speed – than Erick (aka “Ericka”) Dampier. Devin Harris was just signed to a big, long-term deal and was their point guard of the future (more on the future later). He was coming along, but, admittedly, is nowhere near Kidd’s level right now. The Mavs traded away a handful of “other players” who, from time-to-time, could give some decent minutes.

The Mavs do obtain a great point guard who will create easier and better shots for their offensive studs Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki. However, we all know that Kidd cannot shoot and is having his worst shooting year ever (37%). How is he going to command attention on the perimeter? Opposing point guards will simply be able to sag off him and dare him to shoot, thus allowing them to better defend against penetration and clog the middle. For an aging point guard whose defense has always been suspect, there cannot be a better cover (*cough* Steve Nash *cough*).

They also add a floor leader, a rebounder and a proven winner. He is undefeated in international play and has been to two Finals’ series. Can Dampier hold up, though, alone against Andrew Bynum, Tim Duncan, Carlos Boozer, Pau Gasol and (maybe, who knows?) Shaquille O’Neal? Am I missing anyone else? I also question whether Kidd will be able to effectively rebound in the land of giants that now occupies the Western half of the country.

Jerry Stackhouse is interesting. He seems to believe the Nets will buy him out and then he will wait the requisite thirty days on the waiver wire until he re-signs with the Mavericks. If you are a Mavs fan, you had better hope it works out that way. He is a solid player who has the propensity to pop off for twenty-five points in big games. He is an important, albeit aging, component to the line-up.

For everything Kidd brings, the Mavs lose something else. My initial reaction to this is that the deal is just a wash. It’s a closed system – for every plus there is a minus. It changes the look of the team, but not necessarily for the better. The Mavs still have afraid-to-take-a-tough-shot Nowitzki and the Napoleonic about-to-burst-a-blood-vessel Avery Johnson holding them back.

Mark Cuban, much like Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, has just gone “all-in” for the next two years at the expense of the future. He’s given up his first-round picks in 2008 and 2010 as well as jettisoned his “point guard of the future.” Kidd has a few good years left in him and Nowitzki has a few more but Nowitzki needs supporting players to be effective. Who will be there for Dirk when Jason’s gone?

Good luck, Mavericks, you’re going to need it.

The pressure sure appears to be on the other Western teams to make moves to keep up. Funny how San Antonio doesn’t think so. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That frightening calmness is what makes them my favorite to come out of the West. It’s kind of like that guy in the Samurai movie who stands perfectly still as all hell breaks lose around him and then suddenly kills everyone.

Yeah, kind of like that.