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Monday, February 22, 2010
Haywood already Mavs' best big man ever?

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- After three starts, the debate has begun: Is Brendan Haywood already the best big man in Dallas Mavericks' history?

That's only a slight overreaction, considering the Mavs' center-starved history.

The Mavs have really only had two legitimate true centers in their three-plus decades. James Donaldson and Erick Dampier combined for a grand total of one All-Star appearance.

Coach Rick Carlisle and others will tell you that Dampier is one of the league's elite screen setters, but we'll give Haywood the edge over him based on more quantifiable facets of the game such as scoring, rebounding and blocking shots.

(Quick aside: Whether Haywood continues to start when Dampier is ready to return from the open dislocation to his right middle finger will be very interesting. My hunch is that Dampier will return to the starting lineup, but Haywood will play more minutes.)

Haywood will have to re-sign with Dallas and put a few solid seasons together because he trumps Donaldson, who averaged a double-double in two of his six Dallas seasons.

Not-so-honorable mentions go to Raef LaFrentz, Shawn Bradley, Pat Cummings and Lorenzo Williams. (Roy Tarpley was a power forward.)