The Dallas Mavericks have gaping holes to fill in order to return to being a playoff team, something that occurred with regularity over the last decade.
Two of the most important positions the Mavericks need desperate help in are at center and point guard, arguably the two most important positions in basketball.
So that brings us the two biggest free agents this upcoming summer, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. Who do the Mavericks need the most? One of the top centers in the league, or arguably the best point guard in the league?
With Howard you get the good and the bad. When he's good, he can be dominant, with his low-post moves and his defensive skills. And Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki proved he can play well with a decent center, something that was showcased in 2011 when him and then-Mavs-center Tyson Chandler helped the Mavs to their first championship. What you also get with Howard is bad free throw shooting and a negative attitude at times, sometimes during crunch time. Dallas has always been known as a top free throw shooting team, so Howard would definitely effect that aspect in a negative way.
With Chris Paul you get a player who would fit in admirably with Dirk. The former MVP always functions well with a sound point guard who is able to play the pick-and-pop game with him to perfection, something that Dallas point guards Darren Collison and Mike James just couldn't do with consistency last year. Paul is also a top-assist and low-turnover point guard every year, and is able to orchestrate the offense beautifully.
But Paul hasn't been to the NBA Finals in his career. You have to wonder if he has the mental ability to carry a team to the promise land. Part of his inability to get far in the playoffs has been his supporting cast. In New Orleans, he never had a second go-to teammate he could look for. In Los Angeles the past two seasons, Paul hasn't gotten enough support in the playoffs from fellow superstar Blake Griffin and a supporting cast of guys who shoot a lot of threes and don't do much else besides dunking.
If Mavs fans had to pick between a top center and a top point guard, who would they prefer? It remains to be seen if owner Mark Cuban can sign either of them, but both players would help Dallas tremendously and almost puts them right back at the top of the Western Conference.
Tags: Basketball, Chris Paul, Dallas, Dallas Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard, Mark Cuban, NBA