Final Regular-Season Grades for Every Dallas Mavericks Player
The Dallas Mavericks finished the 2013-14 regular season with a record of 49-33, good for the No. 8 seed in the dreaded Western Conference. In what was a phenomenal year for the Mavericks, they had contributions from nearly everyone on their roster.
Whether it was the unexpected efforts of Brandan Wright and a re-energized Vince Carter or the classic dominance of Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs beat teams in many different ways.
Now, as the Mavericks head into a playoff matchup against the San Antonio Spurs, we’ll take a look back and give each of the 15 players who played for Dallas this year one final grade.
It’s tough to grade a guy who only played in 11 games. It’s even harder to grade someone who only played in 11 games while never playing more than nine minutes and eight seconds.
That being said, I am still going to attempt to grade Ricky Ledo’s season with the Mavericks. The 2013 second-round pick spent a majority of the season with the Mavs’ D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, and actually was a productive member of their team. Ledo looks to have some potential and has the chance to be a solid role player in the future.
The 21-year-old did nothing wrong this year, so it’s weird giving him a bad grade, but he also didn’t do anything impressive. Ledo did apparently visit my school and thought the campus was “actual nice,” though, so that has to help his grade.
Final Grade: D-?
Another tough-grade from this season’s Mavericks is Bernard James. The 6’10” center played in 30 games for Dallas this season, and unlike Ledo, James cracked the 10-minute mark four different times.
James’ most effective game came against the Sacramento Kings, when he scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds in 22 minutes of play. Again, it’s hard to grade the season of someone who played as little as James, but I’m giving it a shot.
James has the size needed to be effective down low, and if he could ever translate what he did in the D-League this season—when he scored 38 points and 18 rebounds in his only game—to the NBA, well, that would be cool.
Final Grade: D-
Gal Mekel played in 31 games for the Mavericks this season, including one start back in November. Mekel has only been featured in one game since January 13 due to the Mavericks now being at full health.
The rookie from Israel did get some playing time early in the season, though, and put together some pretty decent personal efforts.
The numbers don’t lie, though, and Mekel’s advanced statistics are brutal. A team-low player efficiency rating of just 5.4 shows that not only did Mekel’s play not help the team, but it may have hurt them. As a team, the Mavericks score 111.2 points per 100 possessions, but with Mekel on the floor that number fell drastically to 85.
Mekel did not shoot the ball well or play much defense either, which is not a good sign for the future. Mekel’s numbers are not very friendly, but the sample size is very small. The rookie will look to step up his game next season and become a helpful guard off the bench.
Final Grade: D-
At the start of the season, I thought Wayne Ellington was going to put together a really nice season for the Mavericks. Clearly I was very wrong. Ellington had an extremely disappointing season, averaging just 3.2 points per game and only playing over 20 minutes three different times.
Though Ellington had a bad season, I still believe he deserved more of a chance this season. His 42 percent three-point shooting is something that cannot be ignored and is a skill that needs to be put to use. I’m staying aboard the Ellington bandwagon for sure.
Final Grade: D+
As a rookie out of the University of Miami, Shane Larkin averaged just over 10 minutes per game in his 48 appearances this season. The 21-year-old did not do much in his first season and really stopped getting any playing time once the Mavericks were at full health.
Larkin really struggled shooting the ball, making just 38 percent of his shots from the field and 31.6 percent of his three-point attempts. At such a young age, Larkin still has plenty of time to improve, but a third point guard looks like his role for at least next season.
Final Grade: C-
DeJuan Blair has had an interesting season for the Mavericks, playing in 78 games but having what seemed to be a constantly changing role. At the start of the season, Blair was consistently playing upwards of 20 minutes a night, but as the season wore on, we saw many games in which Blair failed to get even 10 minutes of time. At the end, Blair averaged just over 15 minutes, 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
With the NBA featuring more and more stretch power forwards and small-ball lineups, it is going to be increasingly hard for the undersized Blair to find his niche. Overall, though, Blair did have a nice season as a backup big man for Dallas.
Final Grade: C
The second-year forward out of Marquette played in 78 games this season, and while some of his numbers may have gone down a little, his efficiency increased. Crowder shot 55.2 percent from inside the three-point line and 75.4 percent from the free-throw line, both of which are big upgrades from his rookie year.
Another big improvement came in Crowder’s offensive rating. In his rookie season, the Mavs scored just 99 points per 100 possessions, but this year Dallas scored 110 points per 100 possessions with Crowder on the floor.
Crowder is still only 23 years old and is someone I believe can become a Shawn Marion-esque player in the next few years.
Final Grade: C+
The return of Devin Harris was extremely important for the Mavericks bench this season. The backup point guard played just 39 games this season due to an injury to start the year, but he was very effective in his role upon his return.
Harris didn’t fill up the stat sheet necessarily, but his 20 minutes per night were far more successful than the numbers will show. The leadership off the pine was a key to helping the Mavericks find success during the season’s second half.
Harris has an expiring contract, and don’t be surprised if the Mavericks bring him back to play a similar role next season.
Final Grade: B-
If there was an award for “Most Mind-Boggling Stat Line,” I’m almost positive Brandan Wright would win it unanimously. Wright played in 57 games this season and averaged 18.5 minutes per game. Wright averaged nine points per game while corralling an average of 4.2 rebounds.
While none of those numbers are mind-boggling, here are the ones that are. Brandan Wright shot a ridiculous 67.2 percent from the field (DeAndre Jordan led the league at 67.6 percent). Wright’s per 36 stats had him at 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Brandan Wright was tied for third on the Mavericks in win shares, ahead of guys like Monta Ellis and Vince Carter.
As impressive as those statistics are, there is nothing quite like Brandan Wright's player efficiency rating. Wright’s PER finished tied with Dirk Nowitzki for the team lead at 23.6, a rating that was good enough for 12th in the entire NBA! Yes, Brandan Wright has the 12th best PER in the NBA.
Wright really did have a good year, he did everything he was asked and exceeded expectations. Why he consistently got less minutes than Samuel Dalembert I will never understand. However, there is a reason Rick Carlisle is on the sidelines and I am far from them. Regardless, it was a very nice, efficient season for Wright.
Final Grade: B
Samuel Dalembert is not very good on offense. Quite honestly, he is just plain bad at offense. However, with all the scoring threats the Mavericks have, Dalembert’s ability to defend is good enough for a starting role. The 7-footer did a nice job protecting the rim behind the very suspect defense of the Mavericks’ guards.
Dalembert’s 6.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game were effective enough for him to see over 20 minutes per game. With Dalembert being one of the only big men in the Mavericks rotation who can defend at a high level, it makes his role that much more important.
Final Grade: B-
Shawn Marion had a season that has become expected out of him at this stage of his career: 30 minutes a night, a good shooting percentage and all of the little things. Marion is always making the hustle plays and earning his playing time in ways that not everyone can see. Though he is now at the age of 35, Marion is still a very solid role player in the NBA.
The forward does not necessarily create shots on his own anymore, but he can space the floor with his ability to shoot from deep. Marion’s ability to make corner threes is vital to the Mavericks offense. The Matrix had a very solid year and continues to make me wonder how he ever makes a jumper shooting with his form.
Final Grade: B
Vince Carter had a very impressive season and really outdid what I predicted he would be able to accomplish. Carter played just over 20 minutes per game and missed just one game all season. The 37-year-old continues to be very dangerous from downtown, shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range.
Carter’s play as the team’s sixth man has been very important all year and will continue to be, as he is their only shooter who comes in as a reserve.
With Carter having the efficient and consistent year that he has had, there is no reason to think he can’t continue to do it into next season.
Final Grade: B+
In his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, Jose Calderon has done everything that has been asked of him. Playing, and starting, in 81 of the team’s 82 regular-season games, Calderon was a focal point to the team’s offense no matter what the situation.
Calderon finished the season shooting an absurdly good 44.9 percent from three-point range while also doing a very good job of protecting the ball, averaging just 1.3 turnovers per game. The 32-year-old took over half of his shots from long range and established himself as one of the most dangerous players in the league from behind the arc.
Final Grade: A-
I was not a fan of Monta Ellis coming into this season, and while I still don’t love Ellis as a player, the job Rick Carlisle has done with him has been nothing short of great. Ellis finished the regular season shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the line, both of which are major improvements from his 2012-13 numbers.
Not only has Ellis been more efficient shooting the ball, but his ability to get into the lane and create has become far and away his biggest strength. Being one of the quickest players in the league, it has been giving teams nightmares trying to keep Ellis out of the paint.
The biggest problem I’ve had with Ellis this season was his late-game antics. While he has made plenty of clutch shots, it seems like Ellis tries too often and too hard to always be the hero in the end. If Ellis can stop the end-of-game hero-ball it could greatly help the Mavs. No matter what, though, Ellis is always hustling, and you have got to love that.
Final Grade: A-
Amazing. That one word defines Dirk Nowitzki’s season this year. After a down season, by Dirk’s standards, the German bounced back and had a truly unbelievable year.
Nowitzki just missed out on another 50-40-90 season by shooting 49.6 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 89.8 percent from the free-throw line. Dirk’s 21.6 points per night led Dallas to a playoff berth and a surprisingly good bounce-back season. Dirk is the leader of this team and is really proving that age is just a number, as he continues to be one of the league’s best players at 35 years of age.
Dirk has hit every big shot in every way possible. A 35-year-old having the season Dirk did while playing 80 games is completely unheard of. Dirk not only had an amazing season, but he made it look easy. Rick Carlisle and Dirk did a magnificent job this year and should finish top five in the Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player voting, respectively.
Final Grade: A
All statistics in this article via basketball-reference.com.