A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Why the Dallas Mavericks should get involved in the Pau Gasol sweepstakes

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Español: Pau concentrado con la Selección de b...

Español: Pau concentrado con la Selección de basket en el Puerto de Santa María. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pau Gasol will likely be traded by the deadline. Mentally he appears to be checked out and perhaps his struggles are just for a pragmatic reason, he needs to be playing center, not power forward. The Lakers are struggling because they need more speed and depth.

Many people are listing teams like the Raptors (Bargnani/Calderon), Bucks (Ilyasova/Dunleavy/Udrih), Warriors (Lee/Jefferson) as teams who can give the Lakers a frontcourt shooter who fits Howard and more depth. Those are solid ideas, but I’ll throw a darkhorse into the mix, at least in terms of a team I believe *should* be interested in Pau Gasol: The Dallas Mavericks.

After winning the 2011 title the Mavericks arguably made a big mistake. By not resigning Tyson Chandler so they could have a chance at getting Deron Williams or Dwight Howard, they sacrificed the immediate present for the future. They gave up a chance at defending the title in 2012, one of Dirk’s last prime seasons. Prime years of a player like Dirk are scarce resources, they give you a chance to win the title. After Dirk retires the Mavericks could be waiting decades to contend again. Simply punting away one of those precious decisions to gamble in free agency seem ill advised to me. That’s why I advocated this summer they make a huge push for Steve Nash, as at least that’d give them a shot this upcoming season at making noise in a final Dirk contention season.

It’s for the same reason I believe they should look at a deal like this: Send a package looking like OJ Mayo, Chris Kaman and contract fillers (Dahntay Jones, Dominique Jones) to the Lakers. Mayo gives the Lakers a super 3pt shooting 6th man who’s having a breakout star season. With his roots in LA going back to his USC days he can be a long term fixture for the team if he resigns. Kaman gives them a starting PF beside Howard who can shoot the ball enough to space the floor. Dahntay Jones may be able to get some minutes as a defensive stopper. I’m not sure if this is the best deal the Lakers can get but it’s one they’d have to consider with Pau’s age and contract hurting his trade value.

As for the Mavericks, it then pushes them into the “super win now mode” they should’ve been in since the 2011 title. Their top 6 is now Darren Collision, Vince Carter, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Elton Brand as the most important player off the bench. That is a legitimate rotation. The Dirk-Pau combination is a devastating fit with Nowitzki’s shooting opening up space Gasol hasn’t had in years to score in the post. Marion is still a great small forward due to his size and intelligence. Collision has had his moments this year and Carter can still score. Brand is a smart, skilled veteran. The basketball IQ and passing of these 6 players is almost as tremendous as the 2011 Mavericks’ were. They would not be title favorites but they would give themselves a real shot at being a team nobody wants to face in the playoffs. This is opposed to the current Mavericks roster who I don’t believe have a chance in the 2013 playoffs. What people missed at the time of the 2011 playoffs is that the Mavericks indeed had a “2nd star” beside Dirk Nowitzki and that player was Tyson Chandler, who is one of the top 20-25 players in the league due to what he does for a team defensively and finishing at the rim. For the Mavericks to compete again they need that 2nd star, who would be Pau Gasol.

I don’t expect this deal to happen, both because the Mavericks have shown no sign of entering this “super win now mode” phase the last few years and frankly it seems like the Lakers may be able to get a better deal. My prediction for a Pau Gasol trade is that he ends up in Golden State with David Lee and another contract like Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins going back. This is a fine trade for the Lakers with Lee’s offensive fit beside Howard. However, I would love to see Pau in Dallas as they try to close the Dirk era with a bang and not a whimper.

Written by jr.

December 5, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Have Pau’s recent struggles caused you to re-evaluate his 33 pt rating?


    December 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

    • No, my 33pt ratings are players’ talent level which does not change when they get decline due to age/injuries. I actually believe Pau despite an amazing career actually fell short of his talent level and overall upside though. His skill and feel for the game is almost perfect for a big and he has elite physical tools. He would probably rank as a player in the 28-31 range which is a mega-star’s. Talent wise there’s not a lot that separates Duncan and Gasol to me. Gasol is as big, skilled and nearly as natural a player, he just didn’t come close to the defensive impact even though he had the physical and mental tools to, arguably. I think the difference in their careers is more mental make-up than anything. I think you could make the case that Pau Gasol with KG/Jordan/Bird level of competitiveness/fire gets to that Duncan/Bill Walton level


      December 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm

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