NEW YORK – When Shawn Marion came to the Dallas Mavericks approximately three years ago, he had a difficult time fitting in with his new teammates.
Even last year, Marion was shuffled in and out of the starting lineup until he became the permanent starter at small forward after Caron Butler suffered a season-ending knee injury on New Year's Day.
"The thing I most respected about (Marion) is that when he caem to us two-and-a-half years ago it wasn't a seamless transition for him or us,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "There were struggles the first year, and there was frustration.
"The second year when he came back he made massive adjustments to his game and his approach. He was willing to come off the bench for us with Jet (Jason Terry), and we got off to a great start when Butler was still healthy.''
Marion's game started to flourish after Butler's injury, mainly became Marion finally had some stability and a defined role he could consistently count on. And the Mavs went on to win the NBA title with Marion supplying terrific defense while putitng up some solid numbers on the offensive end of the floor.
"As the season went along and we lost Butler and things kind of changed and he became a starter, he was the guy that did everything for us,'' Carlisle said. "He defended, he scored and he was the guy that made plays.
"And this year it's more of the same. Now he's getting more attention because he's guarding some of the premier point guards that are a real problem.''
-- Dwain Price
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