Updated: January 9, 2010, 1:25 AM ET

Nets Ban Gambling On Team Plane

Marion Fitting In With Mavericks

By Tim MacMahon

DALLAS -- Shawn Marion's scoring average is his lowest since his rookie season. His rebounding average represents a career low.

That doesn't mean that Marion has been a disappointment since he came to the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal this summer.

"The thing that I've loved about him since he's got here is he's just been all about trying to fit in and make it work," coach Rick Carlisle said.

Fit was the foremost reason the Mavericks didn't get involved in the bidding for one of the high-scoring wing players on the trade market this summer, although finances were also a factor. The deals that sent Richard Jefferson to the San Antonio Spurs -- Friday's Mavs opponent -- and Vince Carter to the Orlando Magic dominated the offseason headlines.

The Mavs were thrilled to acquire Marion, whom they considered a better fit for them at half the price. They haven't changed their mind as the season nears the halfway point. (Oh, it's also worth noting that Jefferson's scoring average is the lowest since his rookie season and Carter's is a career low.)

"The priority was not trying to win the summer," owner Mark Cuban said, referring to perception of offseason moves. "The priority was trying to become a better team."

That meant making major strides defensively, which is why Marion made sense for the Mavericks. He's also an offensive upgrade over Antoine Wright, who is the man Marion replaced in the starting lineup and the only rotation player the Mavs gave up in the deal to get him.

The Mavericks ranked 17th in defensive efficiency (points per possession) last season. They've skyrocketed to seventh this season.

Read the rest of MacMahon's story at ESPNDallas.com


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