I can't believe it took me this long to realize this, but I think I know why the Mavericks won the 'chip this year, well one big reason anyway. I was thinking back to when Jason Kidd re-signed with the Mavs and how all the Mavs fans were excited about it. I kept raining on their parade telling them that Kidd was washed up and had nothing substantial to contribute. Over at Lonestarball.com (the SBN affiliate for the Texas Rangers, my favorite baseball team that is located in the Dallas area) I received repeated verbal lashings for my point of view.
As it turns out, I was both right and wrong. Offensively, Kidd has two abilities left: 1. Passing, 2. The three ball. I tend to think that Kidd isn't as good of a passer as he used to be, but it's not because he can't do it, it's because he's not in position to make great passes anymore. He's slowed down enough to where he's not a threat to drive the ball and so his passing, while still good, isn't a great weapon any more. As he proved in the finals he can hit the open 3-pointer. So what is my point? I'm glad you asked....
Many people are giving Tyson Chandler much of the credit for the Mavs improved defense. I believe he deserves a portion of it, but in my mind the real difference maker was Kidd. When the announcer says, accurately in my opinion, "The Mavs need to get Kidd back on the floor because nobody else can guard Dwayne Wade." it's clear that Kidd is doing something nobody else could do for the Mavs. Kidd became that perimeter defender that the Mavs have never really had. He was what Bruce Bowen was for the Spurs. It didn't just start in the Finals either, it was kids defense on the Thunder's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook that really helped Dallas shut that duo down. He even harassed Kobe Bryant enough in the 2nd round to help the Mavs defense shut down the Lakers.
Remember these days? *Sigh*
All of his play made me think of what Bowen had done for the Spurs. It wasn't athleticism or speed that made Bowen good, he didn't have an abundance of either. However, it was good positioning, quick hands and having an high BBIQ that really made Bowen what he was. Clearly, a good corner three was the icing on the cake. Just like Bowen, Kidd has become the perimeter defender who can hit the open three. An extremely valuable asset to any team looking to win a 'chip.
Of all the holes on the Spurs roster, and there are a few, to me the one most glaring is that shut down defender. We simply do not have that guy. I would hope that Danny Green or Da`Sean Butler could be that guy, but let's face it they are way to young to have all those tricks up their sleeve. Don't forget, the Mavs got Corey Brewer to help with their defense. I don't think he even played in the Finals. Having the experience and ability to apply it is more important that being able to jump high and run fast. I'm holding out hope that the Spurs can find their new Bowen either on the roster or via free agency. That is simply a role that needs to be filled in order for a team to have a chance.