DALLAS -- Jose Calderon's preseason crash course has ended, but the learning process continues for the Mavericks’ point guard.
Limited to only four preseason games due to a hamstring strain suffered early in training camp, Calderon isn’t as prepared as he’d prefer for the start of the regular season. Not that the eight-year veteran sees any reason to panic. He’ll just be doing a little more on-the-job learning than is ideal.
“It’s going to take some time,” said Calderon, who averaged 10.5 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor in the preseason. “I feel good. Actually, I felt better my first two [games] than the last two, but it’s going to be about time. I feel comfortable there. They’re helping me. We’ll be all right."
The Mavs made Calderon their primary target in free agency after missing out on Dwight Howard because they desperately needed to upgrade their point guard position. He instantly boosted the Mavs’ basketball IQ, which was lower than their scoring average last season.
Dirk Nowitzki was only half-kidding when he said that Calderon “knows the plays already better than some guys who have been here for years.”
What Calderon needs to figure out on the fly is exactly when and where his new teammates need to get the ball.
“It’s still going to take time as far as just understanding all the plays and where guys are going to be, where they should be and where each player likes their sweet spot,” Vince Carter said. “But he’s a veteran point guard who’s been around, so he understands that and he’s aware and he talks about it. He’ll say, ‘Oh, I missed you there because this, this and that.’ That’s what you’re looking for.”
A suggested solution for Calderon from Nowitzki: Don’t worry so much about setting up everyone else.
“To me, he needs to be more aggressive coming off that screen-and-roll,” Nowitzki said. “I would live with him shooting those pull-ups, 16, 17-footers. That’s money in the bank. I told him a bunch of times just to keep firing them. He’s one of the best shooters we’ve got out there. He’s trying too hard to run the team, but we need him to score if it’s there.”