Can Peja Stojakovic be the real X factor?

April, 11, 2011
4/11/11
3:00
PM CT
HOUSTON -- Young Rodrigue Beaubois was the anticipated X factor. Perhaps veteran Peja Stojakovic can be the real one for the Dallas Mavericks.

Between his six-game injury absence in March and some sporadic playing time of late, sometimes one can forget that Stojakovic was added to the team back in January. Take Friday night against the Los Angeles Clippers for instance. Through three quarters, Stojakovic had only stepped on the court during a timeout to give up his seat to guys who were playing.

But he got his chance in the fourth quarter and rattled off 10 points in 12 minutes. He followed up Sunday in the runaway against the Phoenix Suns with 17 points in 21 minutes. There's no doubt that Stojakovic can light it up quickly. The only question is how consistent he can become and if he can stay healthy. Having played just 32 games this season, 24 with the Mavs, his 33-year-old legs, despite a nagging knee injury for much of the season, should be pretty fresh.

"I love his approach since he’s been back from the injury," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, referencing Stojakovic's sudden stiff neck last month. "He’s going to be systematic in terms of stepping into shots that are there. You’re talking about a guy that’s been around 13 years. He knows where his bread is buttered. He knows that it’s all about getting in positions for open shots."

And although he seems to go to the extremes with hot and cold spells, add it all up and he's still shooting the 3-ball at 39.4 percent (41-of-104). He can be a tremendous postseason offensive weapon that the Mavs have not possessed outside of Jason Terry. Stojakovic ranks fourth all-time in the NBA with 1,759 3-pointers made, one spot behind Jason Kidd (1,791) and four spots ahead of Terry (1,648).

"You can see a veteran guy like him, regardless of what’s happening with his shooting numbers that night, every time there’s an open shot, it’s get set, look, shoot," Carlisle said. "He keeps stepping into his shots. History and the NBA guide will tell you he’ll hit a lot of them."

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2