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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Fresh Fit: 'Tear up any rotation sheet'

By Tim MacMahon

Our weekly look at the Mavs' newcomers:

Not many Mavs have defined roles, and certainly none of the newcomers do.

“You can tear up any rotation sheet,” coach Rick Carlisle said last week. “It’s going to be by the seat of our pants.”

Vince Carter accepted a reserve role early in the season and played well. He has excelled in the last couple of games as the starting shooting guard, scoring a season-high 21 points in the win over the Spurs and matching it the next night in a victory over the Suns.

Lamar Odom is back to coming off the bench after an up-and-down stint as Dirk Nowitzki’s fill-in at power forward. At this point, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is pretty much the Mavs’ eighth or ninth man, still searching for consistency as he works on his conditioning and tries to find a comfort zone in Carlisle’s system.

Delonte West, perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the first month of the Mavs’ season, is coming off the bench again after starting 14 games at shooting guard and another four at point guard during Jason Kidd’s previous injury layoff.

West’s shot had abandoned him for about a week, when the defensive tone-setter was also dealing with hamstring tightness that caused him to sit out Friday’s win over the Jazz. He was 3-of-15 over a three-game span before the Mavs headed to Phoenix. However, there is clearly no need to worry about West’s game after he scorched the Suns for a season-high 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting and dished out six assists in 28 minutes.

The Mavs will continue to be patient with Odom and hope he emerges as the kind of impact player he’s been for most of his dozen-year career. And they’ll hope that Carter and West continue to be among the NBA’s best veteran bargains, regardless of the roles they’re asked to fill.