If there is any lingering doubt remaining that the Mavericks aren't significantly better on paper than last year or that the lineup doesn't compare favorably to the championship lineup in 2010-11, I hope this will be the post to convince you otherwise. And we may not even be done yet. If there is one problem with this team, it is that we are TOO deep and some won't be happy with their low minutes compared to last year. We can possibly flip some of that depth for quality if the front office continues their creative streak.
In this analysis, I'm excluding the rookies, for whom I have no NBA-level stats to accurately analyze and in my mind are icing on the cake at this point.
Our average age dropped from 29.43 last year to 27.27 this year.
Minutes and Estimated Stats
Now, summing all these players' average minutes from last year and dividing by 5 players on court at a time = a per position average of 58.34 minutes per game. And we're not even factoring the rookies in. In other words, each position will require a combined 10 minute sacrifice in playing time compared to last year. None of the players we've added played less than 16 minutes per game last year, meaning competition for playing time will be fierce – especially at the guard positions.
We have only two players who played under 1000 total minutes last year (Wright 791, Dominique Jones 268). Not counting Dominique Jones, who typically only played in garbage time, our average minutes per game last year was 25.75. That's a pretty good argument for dealing some of our decent role players who may not have a place for upgrades. And as you will see, pretty much every player on the roster is a quality player.
Because there are so many more quality players demanding minutes than previous years and so many versatile players that can play multiple positions, I calculated estimated minutes played this year based on the formula (average minutes per game / (summed team average minutes per game / 5)) * 48. Again, this number is obviously disregarding any minutes rookies will get.
Obviously DoJo won't play 6 minutes every night, our rookies will likely get a few minutes and we can fully expect Dirk, Mayo, Marion, Collison, Brand and Kaman to play a little more than calculated here but this gives us an objective baseline with which to estimate points, rebounds, assists, etc.
|Est. 2012 TEAM||101.1||41.6||21.6|
Because of the depth and minute limitations, nobody's individual stat line (including Dirk's) looks particularly sexy at face value. But it's a team game. Overall this team stat line looks relatively better than either of the past two years.
Per 36 minute stats indicate Dirk - Kaman - Mayo - Roddy - Carter is the lineup that scores the most, averaging a combined 85.5 points in three quarters. However, there are multiple possible lineups that are only a point or two different. That's comparable to our most point-productive lineup last year (Terry - Roddy - Dirk - Carter - Wright) which would have averaged 85 per 36m.
|Year||Avg Indiv FG%||Avg Indiv 3PT%*||Avg Indiv FT%||Team FG%||Team 3PT%||Team FT%|
Team Percentages are calculated by total combined shots made / total combined attempts. These are probably the more accurate stats to gauge who is actually be on the court shooting - and in all three categories we have improved from last year's squad, although only FT% beats the 2010 lineup. (Note: Avg Individual 3PT% only includes players with more than 10 attempts.)
PER (Player Efficiency Rating)
That somewhat controversial advanced stat created by John Hollinger is overused and not the end-all in player efficiency, but it is certainly nifty for comparison. It does not show many intangibles on defense, etc. but it does give a gauge for how a player's usage of their minutes translates to their stat line. Our average player efficiency rating based on last year's numbers is 15.52, ranging from Dirk Nowitzki (21.7) at best to Dahntay Jones (10.3) at worst. As of right now, we have zero players with single digit PERs last year. Our projected starting lineup has an average PER of 16.1. Our second team (West-Beaubois-Carter-Wright-Brand) has an even better average PER of 16.8.
For accuracy, I also calculated the PERs for only players who played over 400 minutes, to remove garbage time players and outliers in order to get to the meat of the rotation.
|Team||Avg PER||Avg PER>400m||Starting Lineup||2nd Team|
|San Antonio Spurs||13.6||16.2||17.7||17.8|
Our starting lineup is below the contender average, although obviously better than last year's. However, our second team is well above any other contender besides San Antonio, who were and still are a ridiculously deep and high quality team. Note our absolute worst PER (Dahntay's at 10.3) is still more efficient than your average Miami 2nd string player and about even with your average Lakers 2nd string player.
Now, these comparisons vs. contenders look fine when maintaining last year's stats straight up. But what if Collison and Mayo improve with starting roles and offensive systems more suitable to their games? What if Brand and Kaman become more productive with Dirk stealing the defensive attention in the frontcourt? I can imagine our efficiency could only improve when Carlisle works his magic.
In my next post I'll be running some comparisons for more advanced stats like win shares, offensive and defensive ratings, etc. But all in all there should be no question that we have a chance at contention. While we may not have the most stellar numbers or efficiency based upon last year's statistics, our depth goes all the way to the end of the bench with quality players.
With the right combination of luck, sacrifice, health, chemistry, rest and creativity, I see no reason why Carlisle should not be able to build a contender out of this Lake Baikal-deep team. I also see no reason why anyone should think we'll miss the playoffs or that we've somehow gotten worse. Our middling team last year was swept by the best young team in the West last season, but by the least convincing margin in each game. With a little extra production, why couldn't we give them a run for their money?