When the Dallas Mavericks heard Jason Kidd was going to sign with the New York Knicks, there was a level of optimism (in public anyway) that Dallas might be better off with a younger point guard to run the show next to star Dirk Nowitzki.
After all, Kidd isn't close to the player he used to be. He's slower and forced to become a spot up shooter in the game. Darren Collison and Roddy Beaubois were supposed to be cheaper and younger alternatives to help the Mavericks during this season with a low salary cap and a wish list of signing another superstar to go with Dirk in the offseason.
The best case scenario would be the Mavs becoming a decent team with a piece or two they can sign to a longer term deal and still allowing flexibility and worse case scenario was maybe a second round exit with the likes of Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and OJ Mayo to help the team. What the Mavs didn't figure out is there might be something worse than the worst case scenario and that showed in last night's game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The Mavs didn't just look young or inexperienced, they looked downright horrible. With the exception of Shawn Marion's hustle on both ends of the floor (the stats don't do him justice here) and a returning Dirk Nowitzki, the rest of the team looked lost as if they've never played alongside each other before. You could compare their style of play to a pick up game style mentality while they were playing against a well coached experienced team. Any fan who saw that game will agree, even Dirk shares that sentiment:
Our basketball IQ obviously went down a little bit with J-Kidd leaving.....I think that’s pretty obvious. (ESPNDallas.com)
Kidd may be slow and his game may not be close to what it was 5+ years ago, but one thing is certain about him: he's one of the smartest players the league has ever had. That's something you can't teach or coach, it comes with the player and his mentality. A cheaper alternative could work, but on a veteran team. The Spurs are a perfect example of this.
When they'd bring in a new piece (whether a rookie or a new signed player), they always had more than enough leadership on the starting unit and in the locker room to help them get adjusted to the team's mentality. As a rookie, Tony Parker came to a Spurs team with Tim Duncan and David Robinson taking the burden off of him in the starting unit when he took over for Antonio Daniels. Manu Ginobili came in the following year with a veteran squad, also featuring Malik Rose and Danny Ferry as with the year before. These two major pieces are still a part of the Spurs' success today and having a great head coach doesn't hurt either.
The Mavs do have veterans on their team, but they're veterans to the league and not the team. Kaman and Brand aren't familiar with how the Mavs and Rick Carlisle want to run the show. All the Mavericks truly have is Dirk Nowitzki and he's barely coming back from a knee injury. What if Dallas re-signed Kidd?
That wouldn't mean they'd be over .500 or on win streaks, but their chemistry and style of play would have an identity and that's what they lack right now. Time will only tell if Dirk can help create one for them and save the season for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Dallas Mavericks are struggling and I blame the Organization for the reason why. Mark Cuban is one smart/dumb dude. He put together a team that finally gave Dirk the help he has needed for years, and then blew it up after winning it's first Championship in hopes of getting pieces that may or may not come. Not resigning Tyson Chandler was a big mistake in my opinion and it has shown these past 2 years without him on their team. The Mavs are hurting in the Center Position as well as the Point Guard position. The hope was to get Deron and Dwight. Mavs got neither. If Mark Cuban showed up when Deron visited Dallas during free agency I believe their chances would have been higher in getting him. But Mark instead insisted on letting Donnie Nelson and the rest of the guys in the Mavs front office try and attract Deron to Dallas while he continues to do his show Shark Tank. Really? Why would you not be there Cuban? You didn't show up and show Deron you really wanted him there. Brooklyn showed up and showed him they wanted him with talks and trades and they got him. Pat Riley showed up to meet with Ray Allen and look what happened Miami got him. Kidd would have stayed if Deron came. But you can't blame him for leaving "He's Old" and he want's to win another Championship before he retires just like your favorite player Cuban, "Dirk Nowitzki". You got a steal Cuban in getting Mayo I'll give you that. It was looking really bad for a moment before you got him. Without Mayo this team would be worse. Cuban has too much pride in himself that he doesn't realize he continues to hurt his team after helping them. It's unfortunate for Dirk, Marion, Rick Carlisle and Die Hard Mavs fans to have to go through this, but that's the Mavs organization. Mark Cuban constantly trashes the Spurs, but Mark you might want to take some notes from the ones you constantly trash talk too. I pray the Spurs Organization continues to show creative smartness in the NBA because time and time again they are proving people wrong. It's about building around what works not destroying it because something new popped up. In the mean time, keep doing your Sketchers commercials and 2011 championship ring raffles Cuban. It's pure entertainment for me.
Mark Cuban built the Mavs into cohesive winners but that group couldn't win the title that he had to have, so he put together a team that could win it all, but as it turns out that team had no cohesiveness.
@JRG1023 @projectspurs nice article but didn't Kidd leave of his own accord. Mavs wanted to sign him.