Ever since the Dallas Mavericks reached that sweet pinnacle of the NBA world in 2011, they have gone through a new roster every. damn. year. In Owner Mark Cuban’s grand plan to make another Title Team, he broke up the aforementioned one, a move that will long be attached to the distinguished owner’s legacy. That and the Steve Nash trade and I hear he yells at refs.
Even before this unfruitful endeavor, the Mavericks backcourt has always been rather fluid. The last time the Mavericks ran out consecutive Opening Night backcourts were the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons when Steve Nash and Michael Finley started.
Since then, at Shooting Guard, we’ve seen the likes of Doug Christie, Quinton Ross, Antoine Wright and in just the past four seasons O.J. Mayo, Monta Ellis twice and now Wesley Matthews.
Point Guard has been far more consistent. Steve Nash, Devin Harris, Jason Kidd and then things picked up to modern Mavs times with Darren Collison, Jose Calderon, Jameer Nelson and now Deron Williams.
Coming into this season, pretty much everyone was down on these Dallas Mavericks. Not starting nor ending with the PG/SG positions, there was reason to be skeptical about Deron Williams, signed after the Brooklyn Nets bought out the final two years of his max contract (that he initially signed in 2012 with Brooklyn over Dallas) and Wesley Matthews, who was expected to be out until around Christmas recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered on March 6 of last year.
Well, as the story goes, Matthews not only returned before Christmas. He played Opening Night. They weren’t joking about the nickname “Iron Man.”
And as for Deron Williams, signed to just a two-year, $10 million dollar contract after three injury-riddled, miserable in Brooklyn, he’s been the number one story of the year for the Dallas Mavericks. I guess aside from Dirk Nowitzki reformulating the aging process Captain America-style.
First, on Deron Williams. Injuries had turned what was once one of the league’s most explosive quarterbacks into a spot-up shooter and Brooklyn simply didn’t have (any/)the personnel to deflect this off of Williams and with a max contract to his name, he drew a lion’s share of the blame.
He’s having his best season in three years –his first in Brooklyn– and is both healthier, more efficient, more productive and also he’s much, much happier. Let’s just say we’re happy he stuck with basketball.
Deron is second on the Mavericks in scoring at 14.2 PPG and on the other side of 30 and with the many, many injuries he’s obviously a role player and his overall numbers show just that. However, he’s a leader and he’s always had the clutch gene. Injuries can’t take that away. Williams has been the Mavericks next-up option to Dat Dood Dirk late in games this season, including the thrilling Double-Overtime game-winner against the Sacramento Kings on January 5th.
For a “consolation” prize after the DeAndre Jordan fiasco (that resulted in the cap room to snag Williams), Deron Williams has been an absolute godsend to the Mavericks.
Production hasn’t exactly been Wesley Matthews’ M.O. this season. The ultimate “3-and-D” player may have skipped out on a lot of time thought absolutely lost, but there’s obviously been rust. However, the aptly named “Iron Man” actually leads the Mavericks with 32.9 MPG.
To quickly address something not totally related but very relevant, his character, here’s how Portland TrailBlazers fans welcomed back their former starting shooting guard of five years.
Yeah. With a max contract received from the Mavs and Portland in no place to try to match (and having C.J. McCollum waiting in the wings), there was no ill will towards the
former fan favorite for signing with Dallas.
Last season, only the “Splash Brothers” in Golden State, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, were better from the three-point line, that is until Matthews’ injury.
There’s been a clearly noticeable adjustment for Wes, even when the minutes restriction was lifted in early December. Speaking of early December, the sharp shooter showed just what he’s capable of when he tied a franchise record with 10 made three-pointers in a road win at Washington.
The man who shoots the bow and arrow after he nails a trey is averaging only 12.9 points, the lowest since his rookie season with Utah. He’s also shooting a career worst 36% from his lethal zone, the three point line, but a lot of that is attributed to two main things:
- His health, and more specifically his legs haven’t totally been under him.
- Shooters play off of their teammates, and Matthews has been let down by some poor floor spacing this year with the struggles of Chandler Parsons.
One more thing about the undrafted Hawkeye from Marquette is that even though his offense has been quite the stranger to his usual self this year, he’s fulfilling the “D” part of a “3-and-D” player. He can lock up almost any player in the league and is consistently pinned on the opponent’s top scorer.
Consistency with the Dallas Mavericks since they won it almost five forever long years ago has only been found in the person of Dirk Nowitzki. The backcourt, as illustrated earlier, has never been that much of a constant since the “Dirty-Filthy-Nashty” days over a decade ago. But with Matthews under contract next season, Deron Williams holding player option for 2016-17 and seriously loving being back home in Dallas, it’s a close bet that the Mavs roll with the same guys next season, building chemistry on a team that certainly doesn’t lack any in its first Soiree together.
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