Over the past few days there has been some talk that the Mavericks are exploring trades for Gal Mekel or Bernard James in order to free up a roster spot for possibly Charlie Villanueva. The question is, is it worth it?
Saturday against the Pacers, Gal Mekel was given his chance to shine and he definitely stepped up. He played 43 minutes and scored 19 points to go along with his game-high 9 assists. While the Mavericks still lost this game 98-93, none of the starting line-up or primary rotation players played major minutes except for Jae Crowder, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Richard Jefferson. This left the Mavericks with limited options on offense yet Mekel still found away to give the Mavericks a fighting chance against the Pacers who were only missing 1 starter. Despite Mekel’s solid performance, is he worth trading away? In short, yes. The Mavericks are stacked at the guard position and all Mekel will see limited playing time this season.
Bernard James is a 29 year old two year veteran out of Florida State who has averaged 2.1 PPG and 2.3 RPG for his career. Bernard James was also given a chance to prove he belonged Saturday, but he didn’t quite answer the call. He went 1-5 on the night finishing with 2 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks as well as 2 turnovers in 18 minutes of play. While he did show some promise on the defensive end, James does not look like he will be a meaningful contributor any time soon. So, is Bernard James worth letting go or trading? Yes. James is at the age where most NBA players are in their prime and are past the point to develop into a good role player. Sarge is an “in-between talent”, he dominates the D League, but is not ready to contribute in the NBA.
Charlie Villanueva has impressed his teammates and coaching staff. He can play stretch four and provide shooting in the front court. He is averaging 9 points in 12 minutes per game this preseason on .42% field goal percentage and .38% three-point percentage. Is Charlie V doing enough this preseason to take one of the last two Mavs roster spots? Yes.
Overall the Mavericks are relatively stacked at every position and unproven players won’t be given a chance to prove themselves during the regular season. This leads to the conclusion that it would be best for both the Mavericks to keep Charlie Villanueva, someone who has proven himself and a veteran that Rick Carlisle can call upon. The decision on the last spot could go both ways. Gal Mekel is younger and has had a better preseason than Bernard James, but Sarge brings defense and size to the front court. We will find out what decision Rick Carlisle and company for the 2014-15 roster in less than a week.