Position-By-Position Analysis


Mavs Offense/Defense
Heat Offense/Defense
Category Breakdown
• Stats Review: Mavs | Heat
By Charles Klask, Advance Scout, Orlando Magic

Point Guard

MIAMI - Jason Williams: Great complimentary PG who fits in well, distributing to others. Underrated finisher in transition. Aggressive defender. Loves to drive right. Inconsistent decision maker. Great backup Gary Payton takes pride in defending. Mostly called upon to hit open jumpers off other players. Good shooter from corners.

DALLAS - Jason Terry: Combination guard that can play both spots effectively. Capable of setting others up or score for himself. He is a good shooter and decision maker. Has a really strong one-two dribble pull-up jump shot. When his selection is good his shot is great.

Point Guard Edge: Dallas

Shooting Guard

MIAMI - Dwyane Wade: Even with flu-like symptoms his game is precise and potent. There is no antidote for this superb player. With an already complete game the only area he needs to improve on is his individual defense.

DALLAS - Adrian Griffin: Could start on Wade to set a defensive tone of tough and aggressive play. Did a good job against him on Feb. 9. Look for them to play various defenders on Wade. Chicago and Detroit proved that in order to win you need him to be a play-maker and not a shot-maker.

Shooting Guard Edge: Miami

Small Forward

MIAMI - Antoine Walker: Much improved from the beginning stretch of the season. He is back to Beantown form and has been effective during the playoffs. He is best when playing off of Wade and Shaq, where defenses are not keying in on him. His versatility mirrors some of the Mavs players in that he can shoot, drive and post up. 56.5 percent of his attempts are threes and only 11 percent of his points come from the free-throw line. He will need to be consistent on offense and more intense when he defends Howard and Nowitzki. Remember what Prince accomplished.

DALLAS - Josh Howard: People are used to passing over the Mavs second most talented player. The hype surrounding who of the 2003 draft class will be first to a ring, LeBron, Carmelo, Bosh, Kaman or Wade might be muted by the fact that Darko already beat everyone and that Howard might be next. 28 picks later Howard has emerged as perennial all-star candidate with his versatility and effort. The prototypical small forward has been overlooked and undervalued until now. He has the complete package of interior and exterior offense. Can shoot, drive or post. He is a great rebounder and is capable of defending up to four positions. His willingness to do the little things is commendable. In the playoffs he is shooting 40 percent from three, 50 percent from two and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Small Forward Edge: Dallas

Power Forward

MIAMI - Udonis Haslem: Solid role player who does so much that goes unnoticed. Underappreciated in his value during the conference finals. Primarily a defensive specialist and rebounder. Occasional open shot maker. Right hand dominant driver. Needs to be active on the offensive end to make Dirk defend.

DALLAS - Dirk Nowitzki: Most improved player normally doesn’t go to an All-NBA player but can you think of another superstar that has transformed his game to encompass all aspects of basketball. He is a better rebounding, post player, defender, passer and decision maker. All of that combined with a relentless mentality to stave off the "soft" label from his earlier days. He still favors driving left when facing the basket and turning over his right shoulder when having his back to the basket.

Power Forward Edge: Dallas


MIAMI - Shaquille O'Neal: His scouting reports are like a hurricane season in Florida. Hubie Brown and Mike Breen should have a warning signal when he gets deep position inside. Everyone that wondered if Shaq was still healthy and motivated can run for cover. He is playing his best basketball since 2003 and has everyone believing that Diesel and Wade could be better than Steel and Bryant.

DALLAS - DeSagana Diop: "Big Sag" as Shaq nicknamed him. Diop has really developed in Dallas. He has good hands and swift feet for a 7-footer. He is also equipped with solid basketball instincts to block shots, rotate on defense, agile to front the post and rebound. His work ethic is admirable and will try his best vs. Shaq. Backup Erick Dampier loves to play against Shaq and will bring everything he has in stopping the beast. Dampier is capable of scoring inside with big drop steps, turning over his right shoulder.

Center Edge: Miami


MIAMI: While their bench definitely has a leg up on experience they suffer from a lack of versatility and athleticism. Many of their benchers are one-dimensional in that they can only defend, shoot, drive or post. Few can combine the aforementioned skills.

DALLAS: Being young and experienced can hinder a team’s chance for success. Inexperience can be negative if you are undisciplined, unsure of your role and are uninteresting in improving. Fortunately none of the Mavs fall into these categories. While it might take an extra possession to adapt or an additional tutoring session from the coaches, the inexperienced Mavs adjust quite well.

Bench Edge: Dallas


MIAMI - Pat Riley: If Avery Johnson is the General, then Pat Riley is the Commander-in-Chief. His coaching pedigree is legendary. He has the basketball acumen, the motivational leadership and the emotional intelligence to accomplish great things. Riley has gotten role players to embrace their duties and star players to believe. The Heat are playing their best basketball of the season when it matters most. Riley has set a precedence of what is expected and will not accept anything less. His staff is comprised of wisdom and knowledge spanning ex-players, ex-head coaches and scouting gurus.

DALLAS - Avery Johnson: The question of "Are coaches made or born?" Avery Johnson was born to coach and has been doing so for 18 years. Factoring his playing days into the equation is justified because he has been coaching everyday, now he just has the title. Not enough people credit playing history when looking at coaching experience. He has a unique blend of offensive ingenuity and defensive intensity that will be the model for up and coming teams at all levels. They say teams mirror the personality of their Head Coach and the Mavs fit this bill. They are disciplined and passionate like Avery. Dallas respects and responds to everything Avery is trying to do. The Mavs have also assembled a fantastic staff of basketball tacticians and developers.

Coaching Edge: Even

Charles Klask is an advance scout for the Orlando Magic, holding the position the last three seasons after spending the previous three as a video scout. Prior to joining the Magic, Klask spent one season with the WNBA's Detroit Shock in the role of video coordinator.