If Jason Kidd does return Wednesday night against the Denver Nuggets, his first order of business will be to calm things down. The Dallas Mavericks remain among the top 10 least turnover-prone teams in the NBA, but just barely, and the last three games have accounted for the worst three-game stretch of the season in the turnover category.
Count 'em: 52.
Shawn Marion doesn't call Kidd the head of the snake for nothing. Although the 38-year-old is having a difficult season and has had his share of head-scratching turnovers, no one on this team can get the offense in its sets and direct the ball where it needs to go better than Kidd. That has been glaringly apparent during this three-game losing skid in which Dallas has averaged 87.0 points, 41.5 percent shooting and 17.3 turnovers.
After two wins against the Spurs and Suns in which the Mavs had a combined 19 turnovers, they've committed 15, 16 and a season-worst 21 in the last three games, all losses. Rodrigue Beaubois' exciting start to his stint replacing Kidd has steadily spiraled downward to the point that coach Rick Carlisle bumped Beaubois back to the bench Saturday night in Cleveland where he had no points, five assists and two turnovers.
Beaubois has only committed five turnovers in the five games without Kidd, but the offense has been inefficient. After the home loss to Indiana, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry openly yearned for Kidd's return. Carlisle said the team misses their floor general after the demoralizing loss to the Cavaliers.
Kidd's 2.06 turnover average actually ranks as one of the lowest in the league among point guards. But, more than holding onto the rock, the Mavs need Kidd, averaging just 4.1 points and 5.1 assists, back in charge of the offense.