Couldn't agree more. Berman is one of the top 10 (wait...let's double check ESPN's roster...), top 5 talents ESPN has. In fact, I propose a White House petition to bring back, back, back, back, back the Berman/Jackson NFL Primetime.
24. Jared Cunningham, G, Oregon State: F Grade
I don't get the fascination with Cunningham one bit. He's an athletic shooting guard who can't do the shooting part. I had him graded out as a mid-second-round pick, so to grab him at No. 24 seems outrageous for me. Glass half-full; Dallas does need depth at the two, but I would have gone with Will Barton or Doron Lamb over Cunningham in a second.
33. Bernard James, C, Florida State: C+ Grade
A pretty incredible story for James, who will add some instant toughness inside for the Mavericks behind Brendan Haywood. James is 27-years old but could be able to step into a rotation role. This is a little too high for him though, hence the lower grade.
34. Jae Crowder, F, Marquette: A Grade
As a Marquette alumnus, I'm obviously biased here, but think Jae Crowder will add some more toughness and needed versatility for the Mavericks on the wing. There is some concern as to how he will transition to a small forward role, but knowing Crowder's work ethic, I don't think that will be a problem.
*** 2012 NBA Offseason Needs and Free Agents listed below this comment box. ***
2011-12 Season Summary:
From winning the NBA Championship to barely squeaking into the Western Conference Playoffs and being swept out of the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder; it was a drastic drop-off for Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. It really isn't that shocking that Dallas dipped off like it did since the team was missing several key pieces from its title team. To put it bluntly, the replacements just didn't get the job done while some of the key veterans from the 2010-11 team underachieved which were contributing factors to their disappointing season.
Dirk Nowitzki saw his numbers slip a bit but still played at a high level, while Jason Terry and Shawn Marion provided solid contributions in their roles. The tank continues to approach empty for veteran floor leader Jason Kidd. His 39-year-old legs saw more time on the bench which led to his worst numbers as a professional.
Roddy Beaubois had an up and down third season in the league and didn't do anything to help his case for being the heir to Kidd's throne. Brendan Haywood is officially cementing his status as having one of the worst contracts in the NBA and might be entering amnesty territory this offseason.
One of the biggest surprises of the NBA season revolved around Lamar Odom. It seemed like an absolute steal when he was dealt to Dallas since all the Mavericks had to give up for one of the best sixth men in the league was a future first-round pick. Instead, Odom never meshed with the team, and just mentally never seemed engaged during the season, to the point where Dallas actually deactivated Mr. Khloe Kardashian late in the season.
Free agent acquisitions Vince Carter and Delonte West filled the void on the wing, but certainly didn't do provide the spark needed to get the Mavericks back to the promised land. Brandan Wright was a pleasant surprise, somewhat revitalizing his career after struggling once he arrived in the league.
2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:
C: Brendan Haywood
PF: Dirk Nowitzki/*Brandan Wright
SF: Shawn Marion/*Kelenna Azuibuke/Lamar Odom
SG: *Vince Carter/Dominique Jones
PG: Roddy Beaubois
NBA Free Agents:
PG-Jason Kidd (UFA)
SG-Jason Terry (UFA)
SG-Delonte West (UFA)
C-Ian Mahinmi (UFA)
PF-Brian Cardinal (UFA)
PF-Yi Jianlian (UFA)
*G/F-Vince Carter (TO)
*PF-Brandan Wright (TO)
*SF-Kelenna Azubuike (TO)
2012-13 Team Salary: Approximately $41.4 million
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. Go-to Wing Option:
With Jason Terry and Delonte West free agents, and Dallas possibly cutting ties with Vince Carter, the Mavericks have a serious need for some scorers on the wing. Shawn Marion could be on the trading block this summer, but even if he is retained as the starting small forward, he is not a true scoring threat.
2. Point Guard:
It appears as if the Kidd era in Dallas could be coming to an end as I stated above. However, Beaubois has not proved he is ready to take the reins. Deron Williams rumors have been floating around for quite some time, and while Dallas has the cap space to lure a player of Williams' value, it would limit what other moves the Mavericks could make in filling their other needs.
3. Get Something for Odom:
One thing is for sure; Odom will NOT be a Maverick next season. The team can buyout his contract for $2.4 million and simply cut ties with its versatile lefty. Ideally, Dallas would love to find a trade partner to at least get something of value in return for Odom rather than just letting him walk away.
4. Frontcourt Depth:
With Odom gone, Mahinmi a free agent, and Haywood pretty much a stiff seven-footer, the Mavericks need some frontcourt depth to help take some of the pressure off Nowitzki. Adding someone who can actually score with his back to the basket would be a plus.