Just when the Dallas Mavericks do something right, they're wrong, at least on social media.
At least that's the general consensus from some people I've seen who have no idea what the Mavericks are doing. Wesley Matthews at $14 million per year is way too much for a guy with an Achilles injury! They're crazy to think DeAndre Jordan is going to be a superstar for the franchise!
You can't please everyone.
I've seen tweets saying Dallas didn't improve at all from last season and people thinking they will miss the playoffs. Congratulations, Mavericks. You've finally entered the world of signing big-named free agents. Now you must deal with the trolls.
Once the DeAndre deal was announced by ESPN's Marc Stein on Friday afternoon, the tune went from "The Mavericks saved themselves" to "The Mavs aren't any better." Well no, Dallas isn't contending for a championship next year and won't be making moves to sit atop the West. But these signings are for the future longevity of this franchise after Dirk retires. And I absolutely believe that this new Mavericks team will be better than they were last year, even pre-Rondo. That's the Jordan and Matthews impact.
Achilles injuries are terrible and the rehab after suffering one is brutal. But when I wrote my offseason profile on Matthews back in June, I said something that convinced myself that Wes would be a great addition in Dallas: "He might not be the same player after this Achilles injury, but you don't forget how to shoot."
We're talking about a player who, if he was on Dallas last year, would've been the second best 3-point shooter on the entire roster and the best 3-point shooter from either guard positions. Of the six guards that saw the floor for Dallas last year, they shot 33 percent from deep. Wesley Matthews made 38.9 percent of his threes last season, and that was his lowest percentage since 2012 (38.3 percent).
Matthews has his occasional attacks to the basket and the floater high off the glass, but he's made his money by draining the long ball. Compare that to Monta Ellis, who shot 29 percent from long range last season
He might miss a portion of the season but in the long haul, Matthews will be an improvement. Yes, Ellis led the Mavs in scoring last year with a pedestrian 18.9 points, and also shot 54 percent in Games 3-5 against the Houston Rockets. But if you told me that Dallas could get a guy for $2 million-$3 million more than what Indiana gave Monta, and he can play defense AND make threes? I'm sold.
Dallas needed more of a perimeter threat. Head trainer Casey Smith knows what he's even getting himself into and he was there in Los Angeles meeting with Matthews in person before this deal was signed. This is a long-term investment for Dallas. They're not going to rush Matthews to get on the court. If he's just a spot-up shooter for the first couple of months and plays aggressive defense, that's already more than what Ellis gave in the backcourt.
Just watch the video.
Devin Harris is a good point guard. He's not great, but he's good. He clearly knows how to throw a lob pass. Simply put, please stop this notion that it takes a superstar point guard to throw lobs to an athletic big man. I'm looking at you, Stephen A. Smith. You too, Ron Thompson.
That will be DeAndre Jordan this year.
When the Mavericks made their pitch to DeAndre, they said he could be the focal point in Dallas. He's athletically gifted enough on both ends of the floor to make it happen. At 26 years old, Jordan can still learn post moves, but he doesn't have to. Dallas was intrigued by him because of his defensive ability and athleticism around the rim. He's had 20-20 games just by possessing those skills. He's an upgrade over Tyson Chandler because he's bigger, longer and much more durable. He's only missed two games in the last five years.
Look at these following numbers: 15, 18, 27. Those are the number of rebounds Jordan grabbed in three games against the Mavericks. Dallas was killed on the glass all season. The Mavericks were last in the league giving up 12.3 offensive rebounds per game, and were 26th in the league in defensive rebounds per game at 33.9. That's only 1.3 defensive rebounds less than what the Charlotte Hornets gave up, who were last.
Those offensive rebounding numbers for Dallas were probably inflated because of Jordan. He had offensive rebounding totals of 5, 9 and 11 against the Mavericks. Let that simmer for a moment. This man had a total of 25 offensive rebounds in three games against Tyson Chandler, who had 34 rebounds COMBINED against the Clippers.
But no, let's focus on the fact that all he does is catch lobs and jumps out of a gym, and overlook the fact Dallas addressed one of its biggest weaknesses, rebounding, by signing the NBA's leading rebounder.
There are no back-to-the-basket big men anymore. DeAndre Jordan doesn't need to be a back-to-the-basket player. If he wants to develop that part of his game, more power to him. He can be an All-Star in Dallas and be 'the man' without having to put up 20 points a night.
Basically, Dallas gets a younger version of Tyson Chandler who led the league in rebounding and plays the pick-and-roll better than anyone. If he stayed with the Los Angeles Clippers and took $109 million to be a third wheel, it's no problem. But get him to the Mavericks where he'll be doing the exact same thing, only on a much greater level and a chance to be an All-Star, and the world goes upside down.
Where is the logic? These aren't the Kings we're talking about.
Our own Austin Ngaruiya noted that Chandler Parsons was the third most efficient pick-and-roll ball handler in the league last season. The Mavericks also want Parsons to be more of a point-forward, especially with the question marks at point guard. If Dallas is looking for a point guard, he's 6-foot-9 and wears No. 25. He's ready to take that next leap, as well, and him and Jordan should be a great 1-2 combo.
It doesn't take much to throw a lob pass, let alone any accurate pass to a 7-footer that weighs almost 270 pounds. DeAndre will be just fine. And if you have any complaints about his free throws, then I counter you with an end-of-the-shot-clock 3-pointer that will be a staple in Dallas' offense forever.
None of this means anything until we see it on the court. The Mavericks addressed two major areas of concern that needed desperate upgrades, though. Are they risky? Yes, but don't be blind. Dallas got bigger in the paint, and it improved its backcourt depth and 3-point shooting. There's a change of philosophy brewing with the Mavericks, and this seems to only be the beginning.