Largely retaining a championship team? A good move by Dallas. Keeping a successful team of veterans a team of veterans? Another good move. Preventing a learning curve and saving cap space by trading away both draft picks? Once again, a great move.
But trading for Portland guard Rudy Fernandez? The logic doesn’t follow anymore.
With the acquisition of Fernandez, DeShawn Stevenson will probably leave Dallas via free agency. It’s a terrible thing, mainly because Fernandez simply cannot contribute what Stevenson does.
For example, consider the defensive presence that Stevenson brings to the Mavs. Together with Tyson Chandler, Stevenson led a defensive charge that had been unseen in Mavericks history. What was the result? A NBA championship.
Fernandez is considered to be an offensive star, a dramatic difference from Stevenson’s bulldog-like defensive style. With players like JJ Barea, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki already on the floor for the Mavs, another offensive star is superfluous and unnecessary to the team.
Fernandez’s offensive style is also another issue for the Mavericks. He doesn’t have Barea’s slashing style and he doesn’t have Terry’s dynamic shot-making ability. Instead, Fernandez consistently settles for the deep shot.
Out of Fernandez’s 630 shots in the 2008-09 season, 398 were 3 point attempts. In the 2009-10 season, 266 of 423 of Fernandez’s shots were three point shots. As far as his success goes, Fernandez’s career 3-point shooting percentage is 36%… only two percentage points more than Stevenson’s.
Additionally, Fernandez is definitely not as clutch as Stevenson. In his series against the Mavs in the first round, Fernandez scored 17 points… over the course of six games. He was almost non-existent in the series while Stevenson found ways to at least show up defensively. Stevenson has years under his belt and is more composed in clutch times. Fernandez still has a while to develop into a clutch veteran. It’s not Dallas’ style and it will cause trouble in team chemistry.
If this wasn’t all enough, there’s still more analysis remaining. What makes the least amount of sense with the trade is how the rotation at the 2 position will be with the Mavs next season.
When the move for Fernandez was made, general manager Don Nelson told reporters that the team had acquired a player who could “potentially” start with the team. For a team that already features Jason Terry, Roddy Beaubois, Corey Brewer and Dominique Jones, Fernandez only adds more to the traffic jam at the shooting guard position.
Consider also that JJ Barea performed excellently in the 2 position in the NBA Finals. When Barea is factored into the equation, there are six “potential” starting shooting guards for the Dallas Mavericks, including Fernandez.
The Mavs seemed to have a great rotation with Stevenson as the starter, but now, if Stevenson will leave, the rotation is forced to go back into limbo.
Now, despite the arguments, an interesting rebuttal that is circulating its way around the web is that Fernandez is in to replace Peja Stojakovic. It helps add credibility to the side of the Mavs front office, but Stojakovic is likely just as done with Dallas as Stevenson will be.
Dallas has been more than adamant in showing that their first intentions are to re-sign Tyson Chandler and JJ Barea. They seem to want Caron Butler back for at least another year and they want Brian Cardinal in as a big man backup for a while as well.
While a new CBA could mean anything for free agency, it seems highly unlikely that Dallas will retain every single free agent on the team. Stevenson is expected to demand more money and players like Barea or Chandler will rightfully refuse to accept a pay cut.
With Rudy Fernandez in, DeShawn Stevenson probably won’t be in a Mavericks uniform next season. If Fernandez is in fact the replacement for Stevenson, the trade still seems illogical to the interest of the Mavs.