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The Matrix

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 1/10/2011 11:04:51 AM

In the movie The Matrix, Keanu Reeves character leads a secret life as a computer hacker but in the National Basketball Association, the Matrix is the player formerly known as Shawn Marion.

Marion was a first round pick by the Phoenix Suns and he gave them some great years averaging at least 19 points and at least 9 rebounds a game in several season.

He was sent to the Dallas Mavericks a couple of years ago in the deal that eventually brought Shaquille O’Neill to the Valley of the Sun but Shawn has not been able to put up those kind of numbers in Texas.

That fact may change in the very near future as he has inherited the starting forward spot for the Mavs because Caron Butler is out for the year.

Tabbed the Matrix by TNT analyst and former champion Kenny Smith, he was given the nickname not because of any secrets, but because he has the ability to do everything on the floor.

Always a hard worker, Marion worked in fast food joints and cleaned old buildings as a kid in his native Chicago and now he hopes to clean up on the court and help Dallas get to the NBA Finals.

Marion scored 22 in the first game of 2011 as the starter and was hot as a pistol the other night in a 4-point loss to the Oklahoma Thunder when he went 12 for 17 from the floor but there are a few things that Marion has trouble with and it could in the long run really hurt his team.

Even when he was in Phoenix and although he can resemble a human pogo stick going to the hole, he has never been able to get his own shot and that is something that Butler provided for Dallas.

The glaring lack of a go-to offensive player, especially since Dirk Nowitzki has been out of late, has been there for everybody to see as Dallas has struggled scoring the ball in the half court.

Still versatile enough to get to the glass, scoring going to the basket, and being a ball thief on the defensive end, Shawn has always had an inconsistent outside jumper and that is largely due to the fact he has a flying elbow and the point of release is different way to often.

What does all this mean to the Dallas hopes of achieving the ultimate glory this year and for those that like to bet on or against the Mavericks?

Well, they went from one of the hottest teams in the league to a situation where they had lost 3 of 5 before losing again to the Thunder recently.

Before the skein, they had been successful putting together a 17-1 slate at one point but know that was basically because Butler was averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds and had shown the ability this year to take over games almost at will.

The concern for Mavs fans is what happens if Marion continues to have a hard time getting his shot. Looking to the roster, Jason Kidd has always been an unreliable outside shooter.

Back up point Jose Barea is much better penetrating and dishing and this will put more pressure on Jason Terry to play more minutes and account for much of the offensive.

He really is the lone Dallas player that can get his own shot with the exception of Nowitzki.

Power forward Brian Cardinal is basically a banger, as is back-up center Brendan Haywood.

A natural 3 or small forward, Marion just might be more effective at the 4 where he will be much quicker than most opponents but will give up the paint game.

All in all, the injury to Butler could have disastrous results on Dallas in the spring and we have all seen them play well during the season, only to disappear when the real season begins.


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