Is Stephen Jackson a Good Fit for the Mavs?

We cannot assess the cost of Dallas trading for Charlotte's Stephen Jackson; that price is unset and the Bobcats aren't even admitting he's available. We can, however, assess how the mercurial veteran – one of many possible Mavs targets – might fit in Dallas. We do so in MAVNALYSIS:

Some ground rules before we move forward:

*With the loss of Caron Butler for the season, the Mavs' company line is about "standing pat.'' But behind the scenes, "standing pat'' is only the first part of the policy, and only the public part.

In truth, they are "standing pat until …''

Meaning, "until Dirk Nowitzki returns,'' and "until we see whether this group maintains its competitiveness'' and most of all, until Roddy B is healthy.''

There is a fine line between "actively pursuing a trade'' and "preparing to possibly consider one.''

The Mavs are on that line – but still leaning toward the latter position.

*In the specific case of Charlotte, there is no indication that they are in salary-dump mode. The Bobcats have been there before and they probably will be again.

But here's their on-the-record position:

"We're always monitoring how to improve our basketball team, and that hasn't stopped," Bobcats GM Rod Higgins says. "We owe it to our community, our fan base, to try and improve. Part of the reason for (the dismissal of coach Larry Brown) is we haven't given up on the season and we want to try to get back into it, try to get back into the hunt.''

That doesn't sound like a "seller.'' At least not yet.

Worth noting: The Bobcats started 9-19, fired Brown, and immediately won four of the next six. Said Jackson about the change:

"It's kind of like losing a team,'' he said. "Nobody wanted to play no more. Everybody wanted to play a different style than we were playing. We didn't agree with what was going on. Obviously, it wasn't working, so we needed a change …''

*From the Dallas perspective: We've already shot down the viability of Andre Iguodala (Philly wants to package him with Elton Brand, an expensive buy). And we've shot down the level of important of Omri Casspi (in short, Dallas' personnel dept. does't think the Kings kid can play at a high level.)

And we know the view on Caron is that his value has been "halved'' down to just being a $10.8-million expiring – still valuable, of course.

If Charlotte is ever interested in that – and willing to deal without having Roddy Beaubois included, which simply isn't happening for a player like Jackson, 10 years Roddy's senior – the Mavs … and Mavs fans like you …. should know what they might be getting in Jackson.

We start by looking at Stephen Jackson's salary information:

2010-11: $8,453,250

2011-12: $9,256,500

2012-13: $10,059,750

With Jackson, the Mavericks would be committing to two more years around $10 million each after this season. In one sense this is a negative, because it locks them in to paying a player about to turn 33 a large sum of $20 million of the next two seasons.

But on the other hand … We already have sources close to Mark Cuban saying that the Mavs owner won't mind paying the freight on a true contributor. Besides, if we're talking Caron as the central (and only important) piece, this could be a positive because it at least turns Butler's expiring contract into a player who may have some gas left in the tank … and represents a future expiring contract.

One more "if'' there, though: With the unknown results of the new collective bargaining agreement, the status of contracts like this might be question marks.

What about Stephen Jackson on the court? What does he bring other than toughness and maybe a little bit of crazy?

We look here at his per 36 minutes stats (and discuss this story in full). We can see that Jackson boasts a pretty decent all-around game. He can score, rebound a little bit, pass the ball, steal the ball, and even get to the rim at a solid rate. The biggest question mark, however, is the fact that over the last four seasons he has not shot any better than 42.3 percent from the floor.

How much do the Mavs really need a volume shooter who is going to score at a low efficiency? To us, there is real concern that Jackson does not shoot a very good percentage from the field.

But what about the intangibles? What does Jackson bring to the court that isn't measured in the traditional boxscore? Does he help a team's offense? Defense? We look at his advanced stats…



Off P/M

Def P/M

Adj P/M

























We see that over the last four seasons Jackson has been simply an average efficiency NBA player. Now, "average'' isn't bad. It might be argued that Caron was "average'' in the same sense … and the Mavs feel like he'll be quite missed.

But Jackson has hovered right around 15.0 in PER, which is the league average. In regard to plus/minus, he is not performing well at all this year. His unadjusted numbers are bad (especially on defense, he has been atrocious this year and has not put up positive numbers on defense since 07-08). And his adjusted number is absolutely terrible at -12.28 (even though he has been slightly positive in adjusted plus/minus the three years before this one).

On offense he has certainly been a positive and has done so every year over the last four years (which in our minds is surprising considering that he has average efficiency numbers and low field percentages).

So, what should we make of Stephen Jackson as a potential fit on the Mavs and as a replacement for Butler this season?

It seems that his age (soon to be 33), his contract (two more years at about $10 million per after this season), his low field goal percentages (between 0.405 and 0.423 over the last four), his average PER numbers (right around 15.0), his bad defensive plus/minus numbers, his terrible plus/minus and adjusted plus/minus numbers this year, and the question of how he might disrupt coach Rick Carlisle's "Chemistry Vibe," add up to too many negatives to think that he should be a primary goal for the use of Butler's contract – and is certainly too flawed to include anything substantial in trade in addition to Caron.

The Mavs feel like they know Stephen Jackson well.

But that's not all positive or negative.

Carlisle coached him in Indiana; Rick always says all the right things about their relationship.

Connections between Dallas and San Antonio share positive stories about Jackson's time with the Spurs. But when Dallas GM Donnie Nelson talks to his father Don Nelson, who had Jackson in Golden State, Nellie surely is able to spin some zany yarns. Indeed, two summers ago, Nellie was hatching a plan to move Jackson to Dallas.

And maybe that speaks volumes both on how much his employer sometimes wants to move him and how much the outside world thinks the Mavs might like him. (Some in-the-know tell us now that Capt. Jack will likely curb his erratic behavior if and when he joins his new team, a positive for a contender who relies on him in the spring.)

Oh, and some of the positives might be offset by what Capt. Jack is essentially saying about Brown's time in Charlotte.

"Nobody wanted to play no more. … Everybody wanted to play a different style than we were playing. … We didn't agree with what was going on.''


That's an established NBA team captain talking.

Again … as we and the Mavericks try to conjure up the "perfect trade'' … too many negatives here to flip right now over this guy with this contract.

This is a fluid situation in one regard: As the February 24 NBA trade deadline approaches, if the Mavs find themselves in their present situation – that is, still in contention record-wise but seemingly a player short of being able to catch the Spurs and Lakers – there will be a greater temptation to "overspend'' on someone like Jackson.

But for now? We believe Dallas is "standing pat until …'' on Jackson, and is wise to do so.

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