MAV MEN: Player-By-Player Breakdowns

Mavs Media Day is Monday and training camp begins Tuesday at SMU. Here is an in-depth look at the cast of camp characters … each and every player evaluated by The Upside, The Downside and The Inside.

Alexis Ajinca C

The Upside. When he was initially acquired in the Tyson Chandler trade with Charlotte, he was a "throw-in.'' After that, the Mavs have been pretty open about being willing to do the Frenchman a favor and trade him along to someplace where he might get a true shot. There are whispers out of Mavs HQ that Ajinca has done some impressive things in individual workouts with coaches. So maybe that's it. We think it's something else, though: With the arrival of training camp comes a renewal of hopes and dreams: He's a coachable 7-footer who is cheap and young and full of "maybes.'' So for the moment, the Mavs are celebrating the maybes.

The Downside. Once upon a time, Ajinca did a little something in the D-League, where he was contributing 14 points and seven rebounds per in Maine. Outside of that, the two-year pro and former first-rounder played just six games last season and scored just 10 points in 29 minutes … and again, the Bobcats – who held out some hope that they might retain Erick Dampier in that trade (after cutting him) – are obviously desirous of center help. … He is reed-thin, terribly inexperienced and as a Frenchman, is likely still making the cultural adjustment to life as a pro athlete and life in the U.S.

The Inside. This is a pressure-free experiment, with Ajinca due to make $1.47 million this season and then the Mavs owning options for 2011-12 and 2012-13. And even if it all "works,'' we're still talking about Ajinca beating out Ian Mahinmi and evolving into a third-string center behind Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler. But the Mavs do have visions of December 10, 2008, when, playing against the Hornets for Charlotte in a season in which he appeared in 31 games and actually started four. Against New Orleans, made 5-of-9 shots for 12 points, with four rebounds, in 20 minutes.

J.J. Barea G

The Upside. The backstory is a beauty: JJB is 5-11 (almost) and has arrived as a viable NBA weapon via the island, a small college in Massachusetts, some club stuff in Miami and the D-League … and here he is, a long-standing and reliable fixture on a playoff perennial. … He's fearless on both ends of the floor: The numbers paint him as one of Dallas' top Mr. Inside/Mr. Outsides. On defense, he'll forever be known as the fireplug who stayed in front of Tony Parker in the 2009 Playoffs. And we should remind that he battled through last year with a bum shoulder. He's likeable – not just in Puerto Rico, but also in the Dallas locker room. And at $1.7 million for this final year of his contract, he's a motivated player and a cheap asset – for the Mavs or, eventually, someone else who is interested in a swap. … There is and should always be room for a JJB on an NBA roster.

The Downside. JJB remains a man without a real position. The Mavs ask him to be Jason Kidd's caddie, but that doesn't play to his strengths. There are things he can do offensively on the wing, but he really doesn't have any business playing in front of talents like Caron Butler, Roddy Beaubois and this year, probably even rookie Dominique Jones. … We think JJB must not play 20 minutes per game. It's too much for him (he gets overexposed, as we saw when the 3PG Attack become a season-long package) and it's too much for the organization (because it's a sign that the Mavs really aren't getting better).

The Inside. Barea was handed an important, full-time role and responded with an awful 12.8 PER. … Kidd and Beaubois must be in front of him. Butler (when he's a 2) must be in front of him. DoJo should be in front of him. That would make JJB the fourth guard and JJB is a darn good fourth guard – a good spot for a guy who posted a team-worst -6.4 plus/minus.

Roddy Beaubois G

The Upside. He is a rare member of an exclusive group: "The 50/40/80 Club.'' Is Roddy Beaubois deserving of being unshackled from the bench (not to mention his broken-foot-protecting walking boot)? Yes. When camp ends and he's healthy, we'll see more evidence that the Mavs front office found itself a gem. A quality guy, smart and personable and starving to learn … and he's a freakish athlete, a 6-2 kid with a 6-10 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical and sprinter's speed. … He can play the 2 right now. And he can play man-on defense right now. "The 50/40/80 Club''? Those are the shooting percentages he exceeded last year, from the floor, the arc and the line, respectively – and he's the first rookie guard to ever accomplish that.

The Downside. Assuming coach Rick Carlisle's reluctance to insert Roddy B into the full-time rotation is behind us (thus the hope that Beaubois plays more than the 56 games from his rookie season, and that Dallas is no longer scared to allow him to potentially dominate a playoff series), Beaubois is left with two major issues: One, how soon will the broken bone in that foot heal? And two, how much should the Mavs bother with trying to force him learn to play point guard? … There are some minor concerns … Beaubois ought to get to the line more frequently, must quit reaching on defense, and needs to work on making defensive decisions against the pick-and-roll. But that's all learning-curve stuff. It's coming.

The Inside. Beaubois is an electric offensive player and has the ability to be the same on the offensive end. He's still a work-in-progress (Hey, Roddy B, how are those twice-a-week English classes coming along?) but he is clearly among the candidates to become this team's much-needed "second star.'' Therefore, it's imperative that he be handled properly … But at the same time, for the 2010-11 Mavericks, it's imperative that he be given every opportunity to emerge as soon as possible. To put it in statistical terms: The Mavs need Roddy B – whose scoring last year was the second-best rate on the team (20.4 points/per 36 minutes), as was his PER -- to be twice as good as he was last year. … To earn a leap from 12.5 minutes per to 25 minutes per and with it, to go from scoring 7.1 points per to scoring 14 points per.

Dee Brown G

The Upside. Brown will enter Dallas as a relative unknown amongst most fans, likely recognized more for sharing a name with the winner of the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest than for his accomplishments on the court. … To really find what's worked you must look back to his time at the University of Illinois. In the 2004-05 season he won the National Player of the Year by the Sporting News, was a consensus First Team All-American, as well as the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Downside. Brown hasn't been able to force a sustained presence in the NBA. Whether by choice or circumstance, he has spent time in Italian, Israeli and Turkish leagues. … His biggest drawback on this roster may be the fact that he is an undersized guard -- standing at 6-0 even -- on a team with several other physically similar and more established players. From the start, it would appear the odds may be stacked against him making the regular season roster unless there are unforeseen complications with Roddy B's injury or further roster moves.

The Inside. Dee Brown's rookie season came in 2006-07. Since that time, he has totaled only 68 games in the NBA, and 49 of those came in his inaugural season. The remaining 19 all came in 2008-09 with the Wizards, and two games with the Suns.

Caron Butler G-F

The Upside. "Tuff Juice'' put up back-to-back games of 35 and 25 points in Games 5 and 6 against San Antonio in the playoffs … His post-trade numbers in the regular season were acceptable, too, at 15.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per while adjusting to a new team and a new position. … He devoted himself this summer to a workout program. … Butler needs to be a double-figure scorer … every night. When Caron scored 10-plus points, Dallas' record was 18-3. … Butler shot 34.0 percent from the arc in his time in Dallas. … He posted a good +2.7 plus/minus rating last year.

The Downside. He's not an ideal fit as a 2-guard and seems to have fallen a bit from when he was a two-time All-Star … He underwhelmed coach Rick Carlisle at times in the postseason and found himself on the outside of the rotation looking in. His talent needs to be supplemented by scrambling for loose balls, by finishing at the rim and by adding to Dallas' level of ‘tude.

The Inside: Last year, across the board, Butler posted his lowest PER, his lowest free-throw attempts/36, his lowest rebounding rate, and his lowest field-goal percentage since his second year in the NBA. And think about it: Those are all exactly the categories where Dallas needed his help.

Brian Cardinal F

The Upside. There is something to be said for a player who's managed to find a home in the NBA for ten years. In itself, that is an accomplishment. … Cardinal can be a power forward that can stretch defenses. … When playing more than a mere handful of games, he has been a reliable to semi-reliable 3-point shooter, having never hit below 30 percent of his chances. If he makes the final roster, it will be this ability resting at the foundation of why. … If he can raise his 3-point percentages to those he saw earlier in his career, which includes four seasons above 40 percent, he could prove to be a useful addition. While age and injuries may have done their part in stealing his legs, it wouldn't be unreasonable to hope his shot returns … though it may be asking too much to assume it will do so.

The Downside. Defense is not one of Cardinal's strengths. Perhaps slowed by the chains of numerous injuries in his past, he is very slow and physically incapable of defending most adversaries in on-man situations. He is also not a real threat as a shot blocker. … At 6-8, and as a power forward, he is also no longer an efficient rebounder. Particularly worrisome is the mere 3.9 he averaged per 36 minutes last season. … The injury risk here must be considered a high one. In 10 seasons, Cardinal has only managed to play more than 70 games once, more than 60 games twice, and more than 50 games three times. … Put bluntly, he's failed to play in more than 37 games for 70 percent of his 10 NBA seasons.

The Inside. According to his bio on NBA.com, Cardinal once earned the nickname "The Custodian" as a player willing to undertake the "dirty work," as well as contribute an abundance of hustle. It's these roots he may need to return to in order to earn his way onto this roster. … Beyond a nice plus/minus during the 2008-09 season, the biggest positive in Cardinal's stats must be his high free-throw percentages. For his career, he is an 85.8-percent shooter from the line.

Tyson Chandler C

The Upside. As he's struggled with his health, Chandler has remained a strong presence at the defensive end. His individual defensive rating recovered from the worst of his career during the 2008-09 season to match his career average of 102 last year. This number, only average production for TC, would have led the Mavs for 2009-10. … On the offensive end, Mavs-land has witnessed firsthand what a healthy Chandler may accomplish when given the benefit of a great passing point guard. Jason Kidd is just that. If Chandler, who will turn 28 in early October, can recapture some semblance of the explosiveness we saw in New Orleans, the Mavs could strut onto the court with the best center duo the franchise has known in the Dirk era. … While we may be disappointed over his role with Team USA in the FIBA World Championships, it didn't take long to see that the player on display there was not physically the same guy who struggled over the course of the past two seasons.

The Downside. One word: health. Chandler has missed 68 games over that past two years. If that trend continues, what he can do when healthy is rendered irrelevant. Simply put, if he can't stay healthy all of his positives are quietly washed away. He can't help the team in a suit waiving a towel. … Chandler's offensive and rebounding production has slipped in the recent past (more on this when we look at the stats). For the moment, the excuse of injury seems like a justifiable one. However, if things don't change this year, it's an excuse that quickly loses credibility. … He isn't old, and the presence of Kidd should help, but if the two year injury trend can't be shattered, it becomes more than a trend. It can become defining.

The Inside. Again, he must stay healthy. Until proven invalid by a sustained presence on the court, this will be a primary concern. … He must also adapt to and thrive from the bench. Time may see the center minutes split relatively evenly between Haywood and Chandler, but it is Chandler who will first wear the label of "backup." This is a role relatively new to him in the NBA, and one he must be able to produce from. … The history of on-the-court strife between Haywood and Chandler must also be set aside, or embraced in a manner healthy for the team. A little competition within the roster can be a good thing as long as it doesn't spawn dissention. They don't have to like each other, but they must coexist.

Brendan Haywood C

The Upside. When Haywood arrived from Washington after last February's deadline trade, the impact was immediate – and positive. Who can forget all of us proclaiming Big Wood to be "The Best Center The Mavs Have Ever Had'' after just a week? Taken as a statistical whole, Haywood's half-season in Dallas still fit the description. Haywood posted a good PER (16.1), shot a good percentage (56.4 percentage), rebounded well (10.1 rebounds/36), blocked shots well (a team-best 2.8 blocks/36), and did a good job of avoiding turnovers (1.6 turnovers/36).

The Downside. Now "Big Wood''must prove he can do that every night, thus justifying the five guaranteed years (averaging $8.3 mil) on his new contract.

The Inside. There is no physical reason that keeps Haywood from being a substantial improvement over predecessor Erick Dampier. … Haywood needs to do little things better. (Two years ago, he was a 73.5-percent free-throw shooter; he gets to the line well enough that a return to that success could be quite a secret weapon.) Haywood needs to do big things better. (Why can't he be a 9/9 guy?) … Overall, Haywood was impressive enough to post a fine +5.7 plus/minus rating.

Adam Haluska G

The Upside. Adam was able to take advantage of the college three-point line, shooting 36.4% from behind the arc in his time at Iowa. …During his senior season, his personal best, he accumulated notable numbers by averaging 20.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and shooting 36.3% from behind the arc over the course of 31 games. He also showed the desire to attack the rim, earning 6.2 free-throw attempts per game. … For these accomplishments he was named First-Team All-Big Ten.

The Downside. When three full seasons have passed since a player was drafted and you are forced to look to college accomplishments for "what is working," that's not generally an indicator of a high level of success … and least not on an NBA level. … Haluska spent a portion of the 2007-08 season in the D-League with the Iowa Energy. Unfortunately, his college shooting percentages showed a fair level of decline … even as he posted otherwise respectable numbers. … In 11 games with the Energy, he averaged 18.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 38.5 minutes per. However, these numbers may be misleading as he managed to shoot only 41.8% from the floor and 30.4% from three-point land … while posting a PER of 14.6. … His defensive numbers were also troublesome, with a defensive rating of 113. And, this comes with the reminder that it came against D-League competition.

The Inside. Haluska will enter camp with one small advantage working in his favor: size. Standing 6-5, Adam will hover above guys like Jason Terry, JJ Barea and Roddy B. … Even with this advantage, he'll have to play almost lights out to have any chance of making this team. His highest probability of success may come in the hopes of getting an invite to join the Texas Legends.

Dominique Jones G

The Upside. DoJo is a worker. He has already shown himself to be a gym rat, spending substantially time at Mavs HQ, laboring with the coaching staff in an attempt to get him up to NBA speed. The conventional wisdom that would have coach Rick Carlisle continue his reluctance to hand ample burn to a rookie – remember Roddy B? – is challenged here because one of the coaches who has supervised DoJo's summer … and hinted at DoJo's readiness … is Carlisle himself. … The Mavs argue that Jones' stardom at South Florida in the Big East Conference makes him closer to ready than most rookies … Jones, playing 2-guard in Summer League, was near-dominant, slashing to get any shot he wanted and showing a knack for guarding waterbug types. The Mavs believe he might develop into an excellent perimeter defender.

The Downside. We know Jones is not yet a polished jump-shooter. And here's what else we know: An NBA training camp is a completely different level of basketball. And Game 1 of an NBA season is another level still – and then you have to do that 82 times. We're reluctant to pencil in DoJo ahead of any veteran … at least until after Tuesday. At that time, we'll scoff a little less at all the comparisons being made to

The Inside. Mavs owner Mark Cuban made a commitment to this deal with his $3 million buy-up in the NBA Draft. That was a powerful statement that eventually must be justified. … Jones can help this team in spots right away as a defender, as a finisher and maybe even as a rebounder; his physique is impressive and so is the 6.1 rebounds he averaged in his final year in college. … But again, we urge patience here. Those draft-day comparisons to Dwyane Wade and even to Rodney Stuckey seem grossly premature. … In his final season at South Florida, DoJo averaged 21.4 points on 45.0 percent field-goal shooting. He attempted 282 free throws (more than eight a game) and he shot 74.1 percent. Dallas needs every bit of that.

Jason Kidd G

The Upside. BBIQ. It is easy to forget, now that Kidd (and Rick Carlisle) have so obviously put their stamp on this program. But before Kidd came back to Dallas, this perennial contender was sorely lacking in BBIQ. Dallas now wins close games at a rate that befuddles the pocket-protector crowd, but it doesn't mystify anyone who on a nightly basis watches Kidd run this show. … The stats are there, too. Kidd finished last season averaging 10.1 points and 9.1 assists while also shooting a career-high 42.5 percent from 3-point range. And Kidd even remains a clutch defender – at least when put in position to succeed. At the end of games, in short stints, he'll guard the superstar swingmen. With hustle, muscle and brains, he'll survive many of those challenges.

The Downside. Once again, the Mavs are starving for someone to ably backup Kidd. … It's why there is a near-panic to get Roddy Beaubois to grow into a position he does not come by naturally. It's why J.J. Barea has been Peter Principle'd into the job. … There are some things Jason Kidd cannot do. But those problems are exacerbated when the club requires him to play 36 minutes per game.

The Inside. Kidd disappeared in the postseason, and the team believes that was due both to an illness and all those minutes. … He is 37. He looked 37. A rule of thumb here: A guy who is approaching age 40 shouldn't play that same number of minutes per game. … Kidd averaged eight points and seven assists and shot 30 percent in the six-game playoff loss to the Spurs – numbers mediocre enough to render his celebrated "leadership'' meaningless. … Kidd's numbers in the last two years jump out in two categories, we think: 1) His continuing remaking of himself as a 3-point marksman (has any star-caliber player in NBA history reinvented himself like this?); 2) Kidd's shrinking plus/minus (+5.8 plus/minus in 2008-09 compared to +11.7 last year). Like we say, leadership isn't enough.

Ian Mahinmi C

The Upside. Mahinmi will be only 23-years-old as the season begins and has already gathered the experiences of playing with the French national team and having the chance to learn under at least one great coach in Gregg Popovich. … Particularly for his size, standing in at 6-11, he is extremely athletic. He has time and is in a circumstance that should provide favorable conditions to allow for growth and maturation. … In the FIBA World Championships, Mahinmi displayed occasionally highlight worthy defense, but lacked consistency. While he was able to make a major impact on some games, such as 14 points and nine rebounds against Lebanon, he also faded from the rotation late in France's run; playing 11 minutes combined in their final two games. … Ian showed a nice face-up game, including a quick and effective first step off the dribble, with France and the Mavs Vegas Summer League team.

The Downside. Mahinmi is raw. For every highlight reel play there may be others that find him out of place or ineffective. Like most coaches, we've seen Carlisle turn to less physically talented players who are proven to be more reliable in the mental aspects of the game. Because of this, when he can find minutes, most nights could find him with a short leash or little room for mental errors. … A positive for the Mavs, though possibly a negative for Mahinmi and his minutes, is the fact that he will likely find himself behind multiple players on the depth chart. At center he will be no better than third in the rotation behind Haywood and Chandler. And, if he can crack the power forward rotation, he will find both Dirk and Marion ahead of him at the very least.

The Inside. His contract is guaranteed for two years. Even if he cannot crack the primary rotation immediately, in order to remain a piece of the Mavs long term plans he must come ready to be coached and willing to work. The physical talent is certainly there, and if things progress as Dallas hopes, the consistency will come. … When he is on the court, Mahinmi – who does have a physical presence -- must bring the all-out hustle that a player like Eduardo Najera delivered. He must be active on the boards and defense and not force his way into the offensive attack outside the flow of the game. Patience could be a key to his success with the Mavs.

Shawn Marion F

The Upside. When Marion is on the floor, the Mavs win. Period. According to plus/minus stats (+6.3) from last season, he was the second-most critical player to the Mavs' on-court success. … He was a touted defender (really, Dallas' best), causing us to wonder every time Dallas failed to assign him a stopper role. … Marion is also an offensive weapon (he shot 50.8 percent) and a finisher. On top of everything else, he proved to be unselfish and not the "pouter'' some thought he'd be after stints in other cities.

The Downside. Three things: 1) Marion's 3-point shot is gone. 2) He somehow wasn't used as a wing finisher with Jason Kidd centering the break, at least not in the volume coaches envisioned. 3) His willingness to accept a declining role will be one of the stories of camp.

The Inside. We think Marion should be the early-season starter at the 3 and then should graciously become the sixth man – backing up the 3 and the 4 – when Roddy B is ready. There are plenty of minutes for Marion to be impactful if used that way, and in fact, Shawn's greatest effectiveness has come as a 4. … Last season, Marion posted the lowest rebounding rate of his career (7.2 rebounds/36), maybe because he was asked to guard perimeter guys (as Dallas' guards couldn't do so) so Marion was pulled away from the rim on defense. … It's a demanding job: Be willing to defend outside, upgrade the rebounding, and don't bitch when your reward for all that hard work is a seat on the bench.

Steve Novak F

The Upside. Steve Novak represents "unconventionality'' in the sense that he's a "stretch power forward'' who is 6-10 but can play on the perimeter player with his career 40.3 percentage from 3-point range. He's also just 27, so while Novak is one of those "he-is-what-he-is'' guys, he's limited rather than decrepit. … He's a camp body at this point.

The Downside. Novak cannot stop anybody. His defensive ratings for the Clippers for the last two years are 115 and 113. And nobody is pretending to blame that on the Clippers. And he wasn't able to be much of a factor even in that problem playing just 54 games last season.

The Inside. Novak has one skill that's kept him in the NBA since being the No. 32 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft to the Rockets. In 2008-09 he was good for 6.9 points per game. That suggests that there is a chance that he could be a Tim Thomas Jr. – again, at least as a perimeter guy and an end-of-bench guy. … Is that Novak? Is that Brian Cardinal, a veteran coming to camp with a similar resume? Is there justification for Dallas' fascination for this type of player? … Maybe he made an impression on the Mavs last spring. On April 12, he was 6-of-9 from the floor (and 3-of-5 from the arc) in his best outing of the year … in a 117-94 loss to. … Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki F

The Upside. Dirk had another birthday and yet remains in his prime, coming off yet another season in which he was an MVP finalist (he finished seventh in the voting) and made improvements in areas in which he was already All-World. … Really, how is it possible that he upgraded his shooting percentages in every area from the previous season? How is it possible that he almost never commits a turnover (astounding, really, for a 7-footer who has the ball in his hands on most every possession and against the opponent's top defender)? And as a bonus, The UberMan conducts himself as a model teammate, employee and leader. … The Dirk Way is so near-perfect that we're not even certain we agree with coach Rick Carlisle that his minutes should be cut down. Carlisle also says maybe Dirk should be asked to score 22 or 24 points per game instead of 26, and we don't see the need for that, either. … Whatever problems this team has, The Dirk Way isn't one of them.

The Downside. Dirk can be picked at for being less than special on defense (though he is crafty). The rebounds are slipping (down to 7.7 per game). And we think the offense should be re-geared to getting him open shots at the arc. In 2009-10 he registered a career-low 1.4 3PA/36; isn't that under-utilizing one of the league's most disruptively lethal weapons? … But the biggest issue with Nowitzki, we think, is about finding him help. … The Mavs love to celebrate their depth. But this is still Batman in search of a Robin … and the truth is, the club spent the summer swinging and missing at providing Batman with even a stunt man to stand in for him. …The club has no shortage of guys capable of being stellar "third-best players'' on a great team. But the Mavs are one (additional) Dirk shy of a load … which puts an even greater load on the original Dirk.

The Inside. Emotionally, the organization (and the fans) want to see Dirk Nowitzki rewarded for his excellence, his character and his loyalty. It's a beautiful thing; Nowitzki can have girl problems one year (Broken Cristal) and a new Swedish art-gallery girlfriend the next (awww!) and none of it has any impact on his training, his numbers or his production. … He is, as always, The UberMan. … The franchise commitment cannot wane. There can be no "rebuilding.'' And Dirk's present teammates should be made to understand: They might all spend the next four years on the trading block … because everything is in play due to the fact that Dallas Digs Dirk. … The Face of the Franchise earns from us yet another taken-for-granted-so-we'll-say-it-again number mention: That +9.2 plus/minus thing is at an elite level.

DeShawn Stevenson G

The Upside. 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. … 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.

The Downside. 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.

The Inside. 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?) … Still, 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.

Jason Terry G

The Upside: Jason Terry offers work ethic and toughness and confidence and attitude. Look under that plastic facemask he had to wear last year when he hurried back from a broken face; Jet's loaded with them. If all that adds up to Jason contributing just one "dimension'' – as an offensive microwave – that can be a plus, even as he just passed his 33nd birthday. …

The Downside. Jet still has his eye on another NBA's Sixth Man of the Year trophy. The truth is, though, that the Mavericks might be much better off if Terry isn't even the sixth man on his own team.We know … blasphemy! But here are the facts: Terry was streaky all season before streaking straight down in the postseason, when he shot just 37 percent in the playoffs. That is now a perennial trend and it really cannot be excused by organizational claims like "Jet had tough matchups'' and "we ran into a hot team.'' Starting with the NBA Finals loss, that's five straight seasons and five different teams that have been "tough and hot'' against Dallas -- when the Mavs were counting on Jason Terry to be the tough one and the hot one.

The Inside. There are reasons to keep a lid on Jason Terry's minutes this year (not even counting the contractual one), to have Jet take his special brand of enthusiasm one seat south on the bench. Never before could we envision the Mavs taking the floor with the ball at the end of a game and having Jason Terry not among the chosen fivesome. We can envision it now. We think the numbers do not lie: Jet's PER, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage from last season are an all-time low for his otherwise terrific time in Dallas.

Mike Fisher covers the Mavs for FOXSportsSouthwest.com and at DallasBasketball.com. Follow The Fish and the Mavs at twitter.com/fishsports

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