Veteran combo forward Shawn Marion referred to his time as a Dallas Maverick as “memorable, fun, amazing,” yet despite that, “The Matrix” told the Dallas News that has no intentions of returning to Dallas.
Marion had the opportunity to win a ring with the Mavs in 2011, and Marion said “to win a championship, it was unbelievable.” Now that he has a ring, might he not just pursue a second one as a member of a contending team next year?
To be sure, Marion is a shadow of his former self, particularly when he played in Phoenix with All-Stars Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire. During that tenure, Marion stuffed stat sheets.
In 2005-06, the UNLV product posted 21.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, two steals and 1.5 blocks per game. Marion will be entering his 16th season next year, and he’s now 35 years old.
But Marion has plenty left in the tank. He’s still able to adequately defend both forward spots, and he’s capable of stretching the floor with one of the most unorthodox and ugly jumpers in NBA history. While Marion’s windup may be cringe-inducing, he shot 35.8 percent from behind the arc last season, and is 33.2 percent for his career.
Marion’s PER was 13.7, which is under the league average of 15, but together with Trevor Ariza, he could help replace the production of Chandler Parsons. Moreover, Marion is a better defender than Parsons, and a more versatile one than Ariza. He won’t be close to his 2 steals, 2 blocks self in the middle part of the 2000’s, but the Rockets don’t need him to be.
Marion is a bit of a confounding case as a shooter. He has shot under 40 percent from 3-to-10 feet in two of the last three seasons; yet he finishes well around the basket (and shoots a good enough three-point percentage to have the green light).
But it would help the Rockets immensely if he could knock down the elbow and top of the key jumper, allowing him to better function in a high post role with Dwight Howard.
Overall, Marion’s career has already been a success. His win-shares on the level of NBA legends like Scottie Pippen, John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, Kevin McHale and Rick Barry. Current players that share similar win-shares are Pau Gasol and Paul Pierce.
Yet, few expect The Matrix to come anywhere close to making the Hall of Fame, like the aforementioned legends. A large part of this is because Marion was a jack of all trades, and because his prime years were played on a Phoenix team that never accomplished much in the postseason.
An argument could be made that Marion was one of the most under-appreciated superstars of the last 15 years, and mainly because no one considered him a superstar. He made just four All-Star teams…
But he’s got enough left in the tank that Rockets GM Daryl Morey must consider giving him a contract. Marion is likely to attract teams that have the Mid-Level Exception to apply, so it will likely take about $5.5 million to obtain his services. He received $9.3 million last season in Dallas, but his leverage is waning and Morey would be wise to consider signing him before he receives a more lucrative offer elsewhere.