| Shawn Marion is now playing in Big D: the Matrix, reloaded.
|Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images|
19.6 Scoring average for Jason Terry in the 63 games in which he came off the bench last season, the highest for a reserve since Ricky Pierce averaged 20.5 points for the Bucks and the Sonics in 1990-91.
Record: 50-32 (third in Southwest)
Points scored: 101.7 (ninth in NBA)
Points allowed: 99.8 (15th in NBA)
This article appears in the October 26, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated
The Mavericks are getting up there in age, but that doesn't seem to
bother point guard Jason Kidd, whom they re-signed for three years in the
off-season. Kidd, 36, sees no problem with a rotation that will lean heavily on
five players that are 31 or older -- including forward Dirk Nowitzki (31), sixth
man Jason Terry (32) and center Erick Dampier (34). "I think it's great," says
Kidd. "Jay-Z said 30 is the new 20."
The newest of Dallas's "new 20" set is 31-year-old Shawn Marion, who signed a
five-year, $39 million contract as a free agent. The forward is playing for
his fourth team in as many years, but to G.M. Donnie Nelson the reasons to
acquire the four-time All-Star were obvious. "Here's a guy who's a double double
man in his sleep," says Nelson. "And he's got such an upbeat bounce about him.
Even in practices, he shows up, and all of a sudden an average practice will
turn spirited and lively."
An energy boost is just what the Mavericks need. After making it to the
Finals in 2006, Dallas has a total of one playoff series win in three years.
Coach Rick Carlisle praises the flexibility of the 6' 7" Marion, who can
play either forward position, allowing Dallas to go big or small. "He can really
guard positions one through five," Carlisle says. "He's a unique weapon to
have." While Marion may see time at center when the Mavs go small, even in a big
lineup Dallas will often opt for what Nelson calls a "more versatile, athletic
look" by deploying 6' 10" free-agent signee Drew Gooden at the five in
place of longtime starter Dampier.
In Gooden the Mavericks get more of an offensive threat at center, especially
away from the basket. Of course Marion, the career 17.8-points-per-game scorer,
can also contribute as well. Nelson envisions charges being led by Kidd in the
middle with Josh Howard and Marion on the wings. It may not be the youngest
group -- but, says Nelson, "I think for what we want to do, experience is extremely
-- Elizabeth McGarr