The small forward was an interesting position for the Dallas Mavericks this year and will certainly be an interesting one to look at in the upcoming free agency. Today’s position grading will look at the 6th man candidate and 37 year old Vince Carter, 36 year old Shawn Marion and Jae Crowder. None of these three people will be on contract this coming year so the position is definitely up in the air to say the least.
The effort of Jae Crowder has never been the question; day in and day out he is working his tail off to do the best he can. The issue is, what is his role? He does many things barely above average, there is no one thing that he dominates in. He can defend, but he’s no Tony Allen, he isn’t that lock down defender that will take on the opposing team’s top player. At the same time he isn’t a liability. On the offensive side of the ball he isn’t going to make his own points and his three is sometimes shaky. In order to make a big impact on either the Mavericks or another team next year, he is going to need to vastly improve on at least one side of the ball to fully learn his role.
It’s incredible to watch Vince still have the game that he has today. When he is dominating on offense, he is awesome to watch. His three seems to be better than it has ever been in his career. I can recall a couple of times throughout the year that he even had that hop in his step with monster dunks. This doesn’t include the absolute monster shot he had in Game 3 against the Spurs that we all remember. While his future with the Mavs is in the balance, there is no question what he did for the Mavs this season.
The Matrix’s play this year seemed to take a little bit of a dip this year. He really is not the incredible defender that he once was and consistently made some very questionable decisions throughout the year. Too often he tries to create his own shot or takes ill advised three pointers. While the Mavs look like they want him back, I don’t think he will get the minutes that he got this year.
Small forward is one of the positions that I think the Mavs will pursue in the offseason. Whether it be Trevor Ariza or Luol Deng I believe the position will look totally different next season. For a team having the 8th seed it’s tough for me to believe that they will once again give so many minutes to a 37 year old Vince Carter and 36 year old Shawn Marion. Hopefully, this offseason the Mavs will secure a bit of a long term solution.
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