It appears as though Bernard James may get a chance to make an impact with his new team sooner than anticipated.
Bernard James, shown here at a recent practice, may have a chance to practice alongside Dallas’ first-unit until Chris Kaman returns from a back injury. (www.tumblr.com)
James, a center and the 33rd overall pick out of Florida State, was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks to help clog up the middle of the lane. James was drafted primarily for his defensive presence, as the Seminoles have produced defensive stalwarts in the past. The Mavs would seemingly work James into the rotation and give him garbage minutes throughout the season, especially with the acquisition of new center Chris Kaman this summer.Yet, in only the first day of training camp for the new season, Kaman left practice early with a lower back strain. Kaman hasn’t been able to shake the injury bug over the past few years, as he’s battled foot and ankle issues, among other things. With Kaman now out, James may very well find himself practicing more with the starting five than he initially expected.
While the Mavericks also have newly acquired PF Elton Brand on the roster, it doesn’t seem likely that Dallas will work with a smaller lineup if they can help it. Both Brand and Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki are good (if not great) power forwards, but both require a high amount of touches to be truly successful. Also, neither is a true defensive guru, which could result in a large amount of high scoring affairs.
With all that in mind, it looks as if James has the chance to make the most of this opportunity. He has the size, stature, and defensive game that allowed Tyson Chandler to find a home in Dallas just a few short years ago.
Here’s to this golden opportunity for James, and to see whether or not he will answer the call.