All is Forgiven, Michael Finley

Ah, the good ol' days?

He played hard every night. Some nights – the 1-of-17 pratfall in Game 5 of the 2001 playoffs in San Antonio comes to mind – not too well, but always hard. And, with just a pinch of revisionist history turning all those fadeaway jumpers into aggressive drives to the hoop, usually pretty well.

Yep, in the black hole that has been the Dallas Mavericks’ shooting guard the last four years, Michael Finley’s run looks pretty damn appealing.

No? Then go ahead, stop me when I get to a player who makes you go “Ooh shit, I wish he was our full-time starter!”

Marquis Daniels? Adrian Griffin? Doug Christie? Rawle Marshall? Greg Buckner? Maurice Ager? Trenton Hassell? Devean George? Eddie Jones? Jerry Stackhouse? Antoine Wright? Gerald Green? Jason Terry?

Toldja.

At different times since Finley was unceremoniously released in the summer of ’05, the Mavs have trotted out at least 13 shooting guards, not counting this year's top draft pick (Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster) that went overseas. Exactly none of them -- other than the occasional hot flash from Terry -- have come close to matching Finley’s highly-criticized final season in a Mavs’ uniform: 15.7 points per game.

As Mavs’ fans we got spoiled by Rolando Blackman, Jim Jackson and Finley. We figured, if nothing else, we could always find an athletic two guard to put the ball in the basket. Wron-Guh!

Heading into tomorrow night at Denver, the Mavs have played four games this season. Head coach Rick Carlisle has yet to start the same shooting guard in consecutive games.

Carlisle calls his lineup “fluid,” meaning, of course, it ain’t solid.

Terry, aggressively driving instead of settling for his jumper, poured in 29 points in the surprisingly easy 17-point win in San Antonio on Tuesday night. But is he merely the latest Band-Aid, or at last a permanent fix to the Mavs’ most confounding Rubik’s Cube?

Hard to figure these Mavs out. I think they’re going to be more than fine, even a 53-win playoff team. But so far they’re 2-0 on the road and an awful 0-2 at American Airlines Center, getting outscored a combined 55-31 of the fourth quarters.

But now that I think about it, the Mavs aren’t the only team in town struggling to find a decent No. 2. Right, Jerry Jones? – Richie Whitt


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