With Mavs Training Day beginning next week, DallasBasketball.com continues its series of Mavs Player Previews … a few per day between now and Monday's Media Day … with DeShawn Stevenson, Version 2010-11.
What Is Working. Let's give credit where credit is due: Stevenson was the "throw-in" in the Caron Butler/Brendan Haywood deal and we know for certain that at one stage in the negotiations, his inclusion was nearly a deal-breaker for Dallas. But the Mavs bent … and were rewarded with Stevenson's modest contributions and lack of disruptions.
Now to the basketball:
DeShawn is quite some time removed from being the guy who the Wizards used to use to guard LeBron James. But in theory, he's still got some "stopper" in him – especially if his back doesn't trouble him. His ability as a defender and even as an enforcer of sorts might be useful over the course of an 82-game grind.
What Isn't Working. Previous to coming to Dallas, DeShawn had not been fully healthy since undergoing back surgery in March 2009. But even if he's ready to go, he figures to be leapfrogged by every other guard on the roster, largely due to his substantial offensive limitations.
What Must Work. There is no "good-news" scenario in which Stevenson is part of the rotation. It's going to have to be enough that he play rarely -- but with aggression and high energy when he does. We can see him serving as a defensive model for the similarly built rookie Dominique Jones, and we hope he proves to be as team-oriented as he was in the late-going here last season when was nothing but supportive of his mates. (Remember when he wore "No. 31'' bands around his ankles in tribute to the injured Jason Terry?)
Stevenson has proven to be a professional … part of the supporting cast but not the rotation.
The Stat Box. The offensive numbers are troubling enough that they alone should keep him off the floor. DeShawn's shooting percentage? A crummy 28.3 percent. His overall offensive efficiency? Just as bad, with a PER of 3.2.
The Closing Quote. "DeShawn has shown that he can be a talented asset to this team." – Mavs GM Donnie Nelson.