For the second off-season in a row, the Mavericks got a very talented player for an absolute steal. For the second off-season in a row, the Mavericks got a player another team with dreams of contending had just cast away.

And for the second year in a row, it looks like that second part might be the important one. In fact, it might even be worse this time around.

Last January, the first full month of the season, Lamar Odom averaged 8.8 points, 4.8 boards and shooting 40% from the field in 21.7 minutes. Through 13 games this season, Elton Brand is averaging 22 minutes a game, 5.5 points, and 5.8 boards, shooting just 34%.

Although diminished stats are not overly surprising from a player who averaged only 11 and 7 last year, Elton Brand had a terrific year as the defensive centerpiece of a tough 76ers squad last year. As mysynergysports.com reports, his .75 points per play allowed was considerably better than Tyson Chandler's .8, even if Tyson's .59 allowed in isolation plays dwarfed his .88 (which may be part of the problem on a Dallas team that tends to treat help defense like an entirely optional extra).