Dallas Mavericks: Jeff Teague

Search for starting PG remains a priority

July, 1, 2013
7/01/13
10:52
AM CT
The Mavericks remain in the market for a starting point guard after acquiring 18th overall pick Shane Larkin and agreeing on three-year, minimum-salary deal with Israeli star Gal Mekel.

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Former Maverick Jason Terry joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss being traded to Brooklyn, Dirk Nowitzki and having his jersey in the rafters at the American Airlines Center one day.

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The Mavs want Larkin and Mekel to compete for backup minutes. They’ll continue to explore all avenues in finding a proven starter at point guard, a problem position last season in Dallas when Darren Collison lost his starting job to a pair of 37-year-olds who were unemployed at the beginning of the season before the Mavs allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Dallas attempting to initiate trade talks with Boston regarding perennial Rajon Rondo created a lot of buzz over the weekend, but it’s an extreme long shot at best that the Mavs and Celtics would make a deal involving the perennial All-Star point guard.

As a source told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, "Danny (Ainge) telling them that they're only interested in Dirk (Nowitzki) is his way of saying: ‘You don't have enough to get in the game.’”

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Donnie Nelson joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the crazy NBA draft, new Mavs Shane Larkin and Ricky Ledo, and Dirk Nowitzki's long-term roll with Dallas.

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The only somewhat feasible scenario in which the Mavs have a chance to land Rondo is if the rebuilding Celtics try to dump a lot of salary along with him, with the Mavs using cap space to absorb the contracts if they miss out on Dwight Howard. A source said the Mavs might be willing to take Brandon Bass (two years, $13.35 remaining on contract) and Courtney Lee (three years, $16.35 million), but not Gerald Wallace (three years, $30.32 million).

Getting back to the realm of much more realistic possibilities, the Mavs are intrigued by Jose Calderon’s high basketball IQ and history of being an extremely efficient distributor and shooter. They’ve expressed that interest, but the Detroit Pistons intend to attempt to re-sign Calderon and several other teams have inquired about him.

USA Today reported that the Clippers, who met with O.J. Mayo in the early hours of free agency, could be interested in a Mayo sign-and-trade that would send Chris Paul's ready-to-start backup Eric Bledsoe to Dallas.

The Mavs will at least touch base with most of the veteran point guards in free agency, such as Mo Williams, Jarrett Jack and Monta Ellis. The Mavs could also reach out to restricted free agents Brandon Jennings, Jeff Teague and Tyreke Evans, but the likelihood of the Dallas making an offer their teams would decline to match is slim.

A low-cost, stopgap possibility: 36-year-old Chauncey Billups, who credits coach Rick Carlisle for helping his career take off in Detroit and would be a tremendous mentor to the rookies.

Free-agent PGs: Search for Plan B starter

June, 24, 2013
6/24/13
10:10
AM CT
The first in ESPNDallas.com’s position-by-position series previewing the free agency market that opens July 1.

Barring a one-in-a-million type of miracle, the Mavericks must move on to Plan B.

With Doc Rivers re-locating to Los Angeles, Chris Paul maximizing his money by re-signing with the Clippers is all but a done deal. There’s a steep drop from CP3 to the rest of the point guards available in free agency -- and maybe the Mavs acquire their starter via a trade – but upgrading this position ranks right up there with center among the Mavs’ top priorities.

A look at potential PG fits for the Mavs in free agency:

Jose Calderon: The Mavs were intrigued enough by the 31-year-old Spaniard to engage in trade talks about him with the Raptors before and during last season. Calderon, who has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 7.2/1.7, would give the Mavs a significant boost of basketball IQ and get Dirk Nowitzki the ball at the right spot and right time on a regular basis. Calderon can also consistently knock down open jumpers, as evidenced by his career percentages that are outstanding by point guard standards (.483 FG, .399 3s).

The concerns with Calderon: He’ll remind Mavs fans of the biggest flaws of the two best point guards who have played with Dirk. Calderon has never been a good creator or defender, and that’s putting it kindly. His hesitation/inability to penetrate is Kidd-like; his 0.9 attempts per game at the rim were the lowest among starting point guards last season, according to hoopdata.com. He’s a Nash-like liability at the defensive end, especially against explosive guards. Those issues aren’t going to improve as Calderon ages.

Nevertheless, Calderon could be the best fit for the Mavs in the market, assuming the price drops significantly from the $11 million he made last season. Estimated cost: three years, $18 million.

SportsNation

Which free agent PG would you like to see with the Mavericks?

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Discuss (Total votes: 5,869)

Monta Ellis: He’s the most talented point guard in the market who isn’t a perennial All-Star. The problem: It’s a stretch to call Ellis a point guard. He’s a scorer first and foremost, probably best suited for a Jason Terry-type of role as instant offense off the bench.

The Mavs have major question marks about how Ellis would fit as the starting point guard alongside Nowitzki. Ellis is a premier penetrator in his prime, which makes him intriguing, but he’s never averaged more than six assists per game and is a high-volume, low-efficiency jump shooter. His 3-point percentage last season (.287) was the worst among any player with more than 170 attempts. He shot more long 2s than any point guard other than John Wall but hit only 34 percent of them, per hoopdata.com.

Ellis gets a lot of steals, but he’ll never be confused with a defensive stopper.

He’d give the Mavs the kind of athleticism they haven’t had at point guard since Devin Harris. Of course, you might remember Nowitzki lobbying hard behind the scenes for the Jason Kidd trade because he wanted a more cerebral partner at point guard.

The Mavs will pass if Ellis gets something close to the four-year, $40 million deal he’s rumored to be seeking. If he slips through the cracks like O.J. Mayo last season, the Mavs could be waiting with a short-term offer in the $6 million-per-year range.

Jarrett Jack: He excelled as the Warriors’ sixth man this season, often running the point next to Stephen Curry during crunch time. That’s a role that suits him well.

While he struggles to defend quick foes and isn’t a pass-first guy, there are reasons to be intrigued about the 29-year-old Jack’s potential as the Mavs’ point guard. He’s an outstanding midrange shooter (48 percent last season) and has a knack for knocking down floaters in the lane. Those are the kind of shots that come in bunches when running pick-and-pops with Dirk. And Jack has the type of tough-minded mentality that would mesh well with the Mavs’ vets and coach Rick Carlisle.

A four-year, $24 million deal for Jack would make sense for the Mavs. However, it’s a long shot at best that he’d leave Golden State for that kind of money. With Golden State’s ownership promising to spend to sustain success now that the Bay Area is buzzing about the Dubs, another team would probably have to overpay to get Jack.

Mo Williams: The 30-year-old Williams is really a score-first combo guard, not a pure point. He’s a good catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter (.386 career) who also likes midrange jumpers off the dribble but isn’t much of a threat to drive. He’s an average passer (6.2 assists per game last season) and mediocre defender. And he’s injury prone, missing at least a dozen games in seven of the last eight seasons.

Williams would be a stopgap starter, not a long-term solution. The Mavs probably wouldn’t be willing to pay more than $5 million per year for his services.

Brandon Jennings: The Mavs had mild interest in Jennings before the trade deadline and he’s made it clear that he’d love to play in Dallas. Let’s hold off on the debate about how much the 6-foot-1, 169-pound, lightning-quick, low-percentage-shooting Jennings would benefit from playing with Dirk. Jennings, a restricted free agent, is expected to sign an offer sheet to play one more season with the Bucks before having the freedom to be a free agent with no strings attached. If he’s a Mav this season, it almost certainly means there’s been a trade. (Same goes with Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans, but we’ll classify him as a shooting guard.)

Jeff Teague: There’s a lot to like about a 25-year-old who averaged 14.6 points and 7.2 assists while playing good defense for a playoff team, which is why Atlanta is expected to re-sign the restricted free agent. He’s only an option for the Mavs if the Hawks strike it rich in free agency and are forced to renounce Teague’s rights. You could do a lot worse than signing Teague to a four-year, $30 million deal.

Darren Collison: He clearly considers himself a starting point guard and will search for a team that agrees with him this summer. The Mavs do not. If he slips through the free agency cracks, the Mavs would welcome him back as a backup for the kind of money that reflects that role.

Devin Harris: There’s a lot of love in the Mavs organization for Harris as a person. However, he isn’t perceived to be a starting point guard at this point of his injury-prone career. He averaged 9.9 points and 3.4 assists as a part-time starter for the Hawks last season. The Mavs wouldn’t mind bringing Harris back to Dallas, but it’d have to be as a $3 million-per-year backup.

Nate Robinson: He’s like a turbo edition of J.J. Barea with baggage that has caused Robinson to bounce around to five teams in the last five seasons. He was arguably the best minimum-salary bargain in the league last season, averaging 13.1 points and 4.4 assists off the bench for the Bulls and starring in some playoff wins. How much did Robinson boost his value? The Mavs wouldn’t spend big on him, but if he’s in the $2 million salary range, he’d be a great fit.

Chauncey Billups: His career really took off during his season playing for Rick Carlisle with the Pistons, so there’s a strong tie there. But he’s 36 years old and wasn’t close to being the same player when he came back from a torn Achilles tendon last season. The Mavs might value his veteran savvy enough to offer Billups the bi-annual exception of a little more than $2 million.

Shaun Livingston: The 6-foot-7 former straight-outta-high school high lotto pick whose career was destroyed by a devastating knee injury wouldn’t be a bad, low-dollar backup. He’s not a good shooter, but Livingston is a solid defender, passer and rebounder.

Will Bynum: The 30-year-old, who averaged 9.8 points and 3.6 assists off the Pistons’ bench last season, is a poor man’s Barea. If he’s getting offers for the minimum, the Mavs should be interested.

Mike James: The 38-year-old who ended the season as the Mavs’ starter is an option as a minimum-salary backup.

Daniel Gibson: “Boobie” is a bench shooter who would pique the Mavs’ interest as a minimum guy.

Mavs' top priority: Upgrade point guard

April, 19, 2013
4/19/13
11:59
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The Mavericks will explore all potential avenues of improving the talent on their roster, but upgrading at point guard is the top priority.

While Darren Collison confidently declared Thursday that he believes he could start for any team in the league, the Dallas decision-makers clearly don’t share that opinion. After all, they opted to start Derek Fisher and Mike James over Collison in a season that president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson described as a “point guard odyssey.”

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Donnie Nelson joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' season and the importance of this summer.

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The Mavs might welcome Collison back as a backup, depending on the price. They’ll search this summer for a long-term starting solution at a spot that coach Rick Carlisle calls “the most important position in the league.”

“We’ve been spoiled with Jason Kidd and Stevie Nash before,” Nelson said during a Thursday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Galloway and Company. “I think the quarterback position is just a really, really important one. I’d say that that’s up there.

“That’s no disrespect for anyone. Darren Collison did a terrific job with a tough situation, and we’d certainly be open to the conversation of him coming back, but (upgrading point guard) has got to be in my mind first and foremost.”

The pie-in-the-sky scenario: Sign Chris Paul. Of course, the odds of him ditching a talented, young Clippers team to come to Dallas to play with a mid-30s core are awfully slim. As Mark Cuban recently said, he’ll be rooting for teams with free agents the Mavs might target to lose early in the playoffs. Would Paul consider leaving the Clippers if they flame out in the first round?

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Rick Carlisle joins Chuck Cooperstein and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Mavericks' disappointing season and what needs to happen for them to get back to the playoffs.

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Paul will be the perfect fit, but the Mavs must be prepared to find their point guard of the future somewhere else. They might be able to draft next season’s backup with the 13th overall pick, assuming they don’t get amazing lottery luck, but a team determined to drastically improve its basketball IQ isn’t going to hand the reins to a rookie to run the show for 30-plus minutes a night.

It’s time for the Mavs to find a proven veteran point guard to fill Kidd’s shoes.

“I don’t know exactly what style, but the guy’s going to have to be able to score,” Carlisle said on Galloway and Company. “The guy’s going to have to be able to come off screens and hit shots, because when you’re come off screens from Dirk, you’re going to be open because of the way guys play him.”

A quick look at some of the other potential long-term upgrades available in free agency:

Jose Calderon: The Mavs have been involved in trade discussions about Calderon, as recently as midseason, when he got dealt from Toronto to Detroit in the three-way Rudy Gay deal. Calderon, who turns 32 in September, is a pass-first point guard who is a very efficient offensive player. He has career averages of 7.2 assists and 1.7 turnovers per game and is an excellent shooter (.483 FG, .399 3s, .877 FT). His flaws: He doesn’t penetrate well and is a poor defender, especially against speedy point guards.

Monta Ellis: The 27-year-old is not really a point guard. He’s a scorer (career 19.4 ppg) who sometimes plays point guard. He’s dangerous off the dribble and trouble in transition, but Ellis jacks up a lot of long jumpers and doesn’t make very many. He attempted 328 3s this season despite hitting only 28.7 percent, the lowest of any player with at least 200 tries. The idea of Ellis running pick-and-pops with Dirk Nowitzki is intriguing, but can a guard who has never averaged more than six assists per game in a season be counted on to consistently deliver Dirk the ball in prime scoring situations? And Ellis doesn’t exactly have a great defensive rep, either, despite his high steals totals.

Jarrett Jack: Jack, who turns 30 in October, is coming off his best season, averaging 12.9 points and 5.6 assists as the sixth man for a playoff team with Golden State. He’s an excellent midrange shooter and very effective hitting floaters off the dribble. He has a low turnover rate, the kind of strength and toughness Carlisle wants in a point guard and hit a lot of clutch shots for the Warriors this season. But Jack is really a combo guard who has never averaged more than 6.3 assists per season and struggles defensively against quick point guards. Like Kidd, he’s actually better defending shooting guards.

Brandon Jennings: Can the former lottery pick flourish under Carlisle’s coaching? Would it be worth offering enough to the restricted free agent for Milwaukee not to match? The 23-year-old Jennings, who has butted heads with his Bucks coaches, is on the record saying he’d love to play with Dirk and for Cuban and Carlisle in Dallas. His shooting percentage might soar in that situation, but the fact that it’s 39.4 percent for his career is a red flag. So is his slender frame (6-foot-1, 169 pounds). Oh, and so is the fact the Bucks have occasionally benched him during crunch time down the stretch this season. But Jennings (17.5 ppg, 6.5 apg this season) has shown enough flashes of brilliance to at least make him intriguing.

Jeff Teague: He’s a restricted free agent on a playoff team that has a ton of cap space, so the Mavs would have to overpay to get Teague. The four-year veteran is a quality young point guard, averaging 14.6 points and 7.2 assists this season, but it’s difficult to envision the Mavs throwing a ton of money at him.

Mo Williams: The 30-year-old Williams is best suited as a scoring sixth man, not a starting point guard. He’s a good spot-up 3-point shooter and knocks down a lot of midrange jumpers off pick-and-rolls, but he’s never been more than an average driver or distributor. Plus, Williams has major durability issues, having missed at least a dozen games in seven of the last eight seasons, including 36 with the Jazz last season, when he averaged 12.9 points and 6.2 assists.

There are, of course, other ways for the Mavs to acquire point guards. Hey, maybe Cuban can come up with some kind of multi-team deal that lands Rajon Rondo in Dallas.
DALLAS – Forget the Mavericks’ failure to finish. Coach Rick Carlisle preferred to rant about his team’s wretched start in Monday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Never mind that the Mavs still managed to take a five-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, only to blow it down the stretch.

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Has the time come for the Mavericks to take the ball out of O.J. Mayo's hands at the end of games? Coop and Nate discuss.

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“The game was lost in the first three minutes when we were down 10-0 and weren’t ready to play,” said Carlisle, who called a couple of timeouts before the Mavs managed to score a point. “If you want it simple, that’s simple. It’s on me. I didn’t have our guys ready to play, so I’m taking all the responsibility for this.

“You’ve got a team of guys that just goes out and is just kind of walking around. At the beginning of the game. That’s on the coach.”

Elton Brand comes off the bench, so he can’t be blamed for the Mavs’ bad start. But he had an explanation for the Mavs’ stumbling out of the gates that was as good as any, although it’s inexcusable.

Maybe the Mavs got a little full of themselves after opening the homestand with a couple of wins.

“The mood before tonight was, OK, we have a chance,” Brand said. “We felt good about ourselves and it might have been to our detriment. Tonight, we might have been feeling a little too good at the offset of the game.”

The Mavs felt miserable after the game, dealing with the sickening feeling of faltering down the stretch yet again. They fell to 8-13 in games that were within three points in the final minute of regulation this season.

O.J. Mayo committed two turnovers to complete this clutch crumbling. Those were the most glaring of many mistakes in the final five minutes.

“We definitely needed to have that one,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “I don’t even know what to say. It’s a game we needed to have. It’s a tough one. We had our chances.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ frustrating loss:

1. Mayo’s mistakes: Two poor possessions in the final minute made Mayo’s 19 points a mere footnote.

With the Mavs down one, Mayo was trying to finish a fast break with a go-ahead layup when ex-Mav Devin Harris stripped the ball from behind with 23.9 seconds remaining. The Mavs were forced to foul Josh Smith, who made both free throws to extend Atlanta’s lead to three.

On the ensuing possession, Mayo threw a poor pass that was picked off by Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague, essentially sealing the Mavs’ fate. The Hawks fooled Mayo by switching at the point of a screen on a pick-and-pop with Vince Carter and the pass hit Teague in the head as he blanketed Carter, who Mayo hoped to set up for a 3-pointer.

“I’ve just gotta take care of the ball,” Mayo said. “It’s just an opportunity for us to win the game and we’ve got to take care of the ball better.”

It’s been a recurring problem for Mayo in close games. His 15 clutch turnovers this season are tied for the third most in the league, according to the NBA’s advanced statistics.

2. Scorching Smith: The book on Atlanta forward Josh Smith is to let him try to beat you with his jumper. Well, he did just that to the Mavs.

Smith scored a game-high 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and made three more long jumpers.

“He’s so good at putting the ball on the deck and so athletic that obviously I’ve got to give him a step or two,” said Nowitzki, who defended Smith most of the night. “He just looked really good stepping into his shot and really confident. The way he was going, I probably should have closed out harder and made him put the ball on the deck, but that’s usually his game.”

3. Cuban’s commitment: Owner Mark Cuban, who hadn’t been around the Mavs for a couple of weeks while he dealt with other business interests, returned with a day’s worth of stubble on his face. He vowed to join the bunch of Mavs who are letting their beards grow … but only for the rest of the week.

“I just have to see what happens with this other [business] stuff,” Cuban said. “ I can’t go and sell a big chunk of my company and show up all scruffy.”

Cuban said he thinks the pact to not shave until the Mavs get back to .500 is “fun.” He joked that the only downside was that his wife stopped shaving.

Where does Roddy rank in Year of the Guard?

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
6:05
AM CT
Say this for Roddy Beaubois: Of the seven rookie guards whose teams made the playoffs, none came close to his rate of postseason points per minutes played.

OK, so the Dallas Mavericks' youngster from Guadeloupe logged 21 of his 31 total playoff minutes and 16 of his 21 playoff points against San Antonio in the desperation of Game 6. Beaubois ended his first NBA playoffs by averaging 5.3 points in 7.8 minutes a game, but with a vow from management to greatly increase his floor time next season.

The 2009 NBA Draft was the Year of the Guard. Of the 30 selections in the first round, 12 were guards. Beaubois was the least known and last of the group taken, 25th by the Oklahoma City Thunder and then traded to Dallas. The class actually shrunk to 11 when Ricky Rubio, drafted fifth by Minnesota chose to remain in his native Spain.

Of the 11 rookie guards, Beaubois' 56 regular-season appearances were fewer than only the 43 games played by Gerald Henderson, the 12th overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats. And, Beaubois' average playing time of 12.5 minutes eclipsed only Henderson (8.3) and Jeff Teague (10.1 minutes in 71 games), the 19th pick by the Atlanta Hawks.

In Beaubois' limited playing time this season -- which did include 16 starts -- he produced some remarkable performances. He bombed Golden State for 40 points and nine 3-pointers. He blasted Chicago for 18 points in the third quarter on his way to 24 points. He scored 16 in the second quarter the night earlier against the Kings on his way to 22. He became the first rookie in league history to finish his first season shooting 50 percent from the field (51.8), 40 percent from the 3-point arc (40.9) and 80 percent from the free throw line (80.8).

However, his lack of substantial playing time, especially against the league's better teams, makes it impossible to judge the explosive, 6-foot, 170-pounder against the league's top rookie guards, starting with Sacramento Rookie of the Year and fourth overall pick Tyreke Evans (20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 37.2 minutes), Stephen Curry (17.5, 5.9, 4.5, 36.2), the seventh pick by Golden State, or Brandon Jennings (15.5, 5.7, 3.4, 32.6), the 10th pick by Milwaukee.

It's difficult to even measure Beaubois against the second and third tier of rookie guards such as the Thunder's pair of James Harden, the third overall pick, and Eric Maynor, selected 20th by Utah and traded to Oklahoma City during the season, or Ty Lawson, taken 18th by Denver, Jonny Flynn, picked sixth by Minnesota, and Darren Collison, the 21st selection by New Orleans who filled in impressively for the injured Chris Paul.

If the draft was redone today, Beaubois certainly wouldn't be the 25th pick. Where he'd land is a great debate, one that should have a much clearer answer this time next year.

A look at the guards selected in the first round of the 2009 Draft and their stats:
3. James Harden, OKC, 76G, 22.9 minutes, 9.9 points, 3.2 rebounds)
4. Tyreke Evans, Sac, 72G, 37.2 minutes, 20.1 points, 5.8 assists, 5.3 rebounds)
5. Ricky Rubio, Min, remained in Spain)
6. Jonny Flynn, Min, 81G, 28.9 minutes, 13.5 points, 4.4 assists)
7. Stephen Curry, GS, 80G, 36.2 minutes, 17.5 points, 5.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds)
10. Brandon Jennings, Mil, 82G, 32.6 minutes, 15.5 points, 5.7 assists, 3.4 rebounds)
12. Gerald Henderson, Cha, 43G, 8.3 minutes, 2.6 points)
18. Ty Lawson, Den, 65G, 20.3 minutes, 8.3 points, 3.1 assists, 51.5 FG%)
19. Jeff Teague, Atl, 71G, 10.1 minutes, 3.2 points)
20. Eric Maynor, Utah/OKC, 81G, 16.5 minutes, 4.5 points, 3.4 assists)
21. Darren Collison, N.O., 76G, 27.8 minutes, 12.4 points, 5.7 assists, 47.7 FG%, 40.0 3FG%)
25. Roddy Beaubois, Dal, 56G, 12.5 minutes, 7.1 points, 51.8 FG%, 40.9 3FG%)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9