Jose Calderon is in an unfamiliar position after spending 7.5 seasons in Toronto before ending up in Detroit following a mid-season trade last year. He signed with Dallas as a free agent and now in early February, he is on a team that’s 9 games over .500 and in a playoff spot. For the first time in a long time, he’s not the ‘old’ veteran the coach is relying on to hold things together. There are older, more experienced and more skilled players who are leaders in and of themselves on the court with him.
“Almost double (my experience), it is amazing, it is great and they know how to play,” Calderon said. “For a point guard, they make everything easier and it has been great so far.
“There are guys who are going to make plays for you as well. It is a different approach, we got veteran guys and we have Dirk Nowitzki, (Shawn) Marion, Vince Carter and they are going to be Hall of Famers at some point, so it is just different.”
The Mavericks have 4 rotation players older than Calderon and signed the 32-year-old point guard to a 4-year $29 million deal this summer. However, Calderon wasn’t the only player added to Dallas’ roster for this season. In yet another roster makeover, the Mavericks signed 16 players and waived 7 before the season started.
“We have 9 new guys this year,” Calderon said. “It took us a while to get used to each other, but even like that, we had a great group of guys and are doing really good so far and hopefully we will keep it this way.”
What must be nice for Calderon is, unlike in Toronto, there is no point guard controversy. Player roles are defined and the team’s veteran status provides a lot of stability. For Calderon at least, just being in a playoff fight after years in the lottery must seem pretty nice as well.
“Everybody is playing good, knowing their roles and we are trying to help each other,” Calderon said. “It is a long season still and you know the way it is, it is so competitive that you lose a game and you can be out of the playoffs. It’s been crazy, but we are right there and we got to keep working.
“At the end of the day, it is about winning games. When you win, everything is easier – relationships, practices, games, just everything.”
It is obvious Calderon enjoyed his time in Toronto and wishes the best for his former teammates, but he is a lot more relaxed in Dallas and the game is easier for him now. Playing with veterans has taken a big load off his shoulders.
“I think before (I had) the pressure to play good every night, to be able to make plays for (my) teammates, put everybody in the right position and do the right things,” Calderon said. “Here it is more like basketball just comes to you, you just have to play.”
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