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Key Mavericks Situations Worth Buying Into

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The Mavericks are nearing the end of the first quarter in the marathon that is the regular season.  The Buy/Sell/Hold game is a popular segment on the Mavericks Outsider Report, so it's time to play the blog version of the game.  We'll take a look a players on the team and aspects of the team and establish key items in terms of things to bank on going forward and they are things not full of hooey.

Tyson Chandler as a legitimate All-Star Candidate:

It's definitely hard to imagine that this would be a topic of discussion once the trade was completed in July between the Mavericks and the Bobcats.  Chandler had only played in 96 out of a possible 164 games over the previous two seasons.  "(Chandler) is one of the most versatile big men in the league today," were the words of GM Donnie Nelson as Chandler arrived in Dallas.  "He gives our front line a defensive, shot-blocking, athletic punch we haven't had here in a while."  Chandler has lived up the billing and he's healthy. 

Chandler is currently averaging 9.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.  He's shooting 67.6% from the field and 80% from the free throw line.  Tyson was an animal in the middle for Dallas during their huge 4 games in 5 nights stretch last week, especially against Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Miami.  He recorded 17 points and a season-high 18 rebounds at Oklahoma City.  Chandler followed up the performance against the Thunder by posting a season-high 19 points to go with 8 rebounds at San Antonio.  In the very next game (on the following night) Chandler recorded his 4th double-double of the season, 14 points and 17 rebounds against the Miami Heat.  Before that series, Chandler had averaged 7.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.  In the 3-game series against OKC, SA and MIA: he averaged 16.7 points and 14.3 rebounds for the Mavericks.

The quirk of this situation is Chandler isn't on the All-Star ballot.  The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA.  The ballot is made before the season starts and the assumption was that Brendan Haywood would be the starting center and Chandler would be the backup, things have obviously changed.  Yao Ming is likely going to be nominated as a starter but it's definitely up for debate whether or not he will be able to attend the game due to his health concerns.  There are talented players such as Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, Emeka Okafor, Marc Gasol and Nene.  Those are a lot of nice centers but Chandler has emerged as a surprising factor for the Mavericks and players and coaches tend to reward that work with a bench selection.

As promised, we'll have an in-depth piece in the coming days with more details on if the All-Star Game actually matters to Chandler, how he's feeling settling in with the team and what he hopes to see in terms of free agency this summer.  Stay tuned!

Dirk Nowitzki as an MVP Candidate:

The numbers don't lie, Nowitzki is dominating so far to start the season.  Nowitzki is shooting 54.5% (165-of-303) from the field this season.  He is on pace to post a career-high for field goal percentage in a season and to finish above 50% for the second time in his 12-year career.  The highest percentage he's ever shot in a season was 50.2% in the 2006-2007 season.  That year, Nowitzki was named the league's MVP after he was the only player in the NBA to shoot 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90% from the free throw line.

The 3-point shot has really come alive for Nowitzki as of late and he's now shooting 38.2% from 3-point range.  The oddity of the season for Dirk has been his shooting from the free throw line, he's shooting  84.7% from the field.  Knowing Dirk, he'll be working tirelessly in the gym shooting free throw after free throw to get his shot right. 

Dirk's rebounding numbers are up, compared to last year, he is averaging 8.3 rebounds.  The addition of Tyson Chandler looks to be having a positive influence on Dirk's rebounding numbers.  It would appear that it would have hampered Nowitzki, but the congestion Tyson is causing sucks in the defense and allows Dirk to grab more rebounds.

The assist numbers are starting to climb up and the turnovers are sinking down, so all signs point to Nowitzki having an MVP-candidate year.  If that is the case, things look great for the Mavericks.


Roddy Beaubois Can Average at Least 14.5 points per game:

The Mavericks currently average 97.8 points/game and that ranks them 19th in the league. 

Here are notable PPG averages for Maverick Players:

Nowitzki: 25.7

Terry: 16.1

Butler: 13.9

Marion: 10.8

Chandler: 9.2

Kidd: 8.0

Barea: 7.4

Stevenson: 4.8

Haywood: 3.6

At first, I was hesitant to buy this but recent comments and performances on the court tend to make me think this is possible.  "We definitely need somebody who can consistently get in the paint and make stuff easier and I think that’s where we’re waiting on Roddy  to make some stuff happen because he’s that explosive guy that can get in the paint," said Dirk Nowitzki on the young guard.  This team definitely lacks a player who will consistently make his way into the lane and mix things up.  Caron Butler was believed to be that kind of player but it doesn't appear that will be the case on a consistent basis.  Opposing teams have made adjustments, taking away paths along the baseline and it's really neutralized his ability to attack towards the basket and he's basically become a jump-shooter.

With the points they're scoring, there is still room to improve.  They still want to remain a solid team on defensive and run the offense out of flow, that caters to Roddy.

As I've mentioned in the piece breaking down the rotation once Roddy returns, Beaubois could be a player in the mold of Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs.  Manu is a player who can be a total wild-card and use his unpredictability to keep defenses on their heels.  He's able to attack and shoot with great accuracy.  As long as Roddy is able to stay on the court and avoid the injury bug, the sky is the limit for the kid.

 

The Mavericks Defense Will Not Drop in Terms of Efficiency:

Here is where the Mavericks rank in key defensive statistics

Points Allowed: 92.6/game, ranking 2nd best in the league

Opponents FG%: 43.2%, ranking 4th best in the league

Defensive Rebounds: 32.9/game, ranking 3rd in the league

Opponents FT attempts: 22.7/game, ranking 4th in the league

Personal Fouls: 18.9/game, ranking 2nd best in the league

Those are incredible numbers when you put it all together.  Just think, the rebound numbers could improve, they allow the opposition to get 11.4 offensive rebounds/game (which ranks Dallas as the 11th worst team in the league in terms of offensive rebounds allowed).  If Dallas is able to correct that and get it to hover in the the top 10, high 9's or low 10's then this team will be absolutely lethal on the defensive end of the court.

This was mentioned after the Houston game, but Dallas now has 8 games this season where they've held their opponent to 10 or more points below their season average.

10/29 vs Memphis: 104 average - scored 91

11/8 vs Boston: 100.7 average - scored 87

11/10 @ Memphis: 105.6 average - scored 91

11/12 vs Philadelphia: 101.9 average - scored 90

11/19 vs Chicago: 102.9 average - scored 88

11/23 versus Detroit: 96.6 average - scored 84 

11/26 @ San Antonio: 108 average - scored 94

11/29 versus Houston: 104.4 average - scored 91

 

The point I am trying to make is we're nearly a quarter into the season and the trend points to the Mavericks being very strong defensively.  You'd like to see a team START a season that way and continue to build the habit of defense.  If you can establish it early and sustain it for a while, when the natural slip occurs you'll still be able to look back on what you've done in the past.  Good habits are being formed along the process and those are really hard to break over the course of a season, things are trending the right way. 

As mentioned in the Houston recap, Carlisle wants more: Despite a win, the team and especially the coach wanted more, "We should have won by 20," said Carlisle.  "It is disappointing really. I am glad we won. I am glad we didn’t run up minutes on our main guys and as I said, we just have to be really steadfast on the importance of the defensive end and finishing off plays."  Winning is good, but it needs to be done the right way and that's with a complete 48 minute game of tough-minded defense.

 

The season is nearing the end of the first quarter, like the Mavericks in their first quarters this year, things are looking good.  These trends should continue and if that is the case, the Mavericks are hoping that the best is yet to come.