For the first time in the Dirk era, the Mavericks have landed a franchise center. DeAndre Jordan, by far the most explosive center in franchise history, will be running alongside Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki in the Mavericks' new, potent frontcourt. Jordan spurned the Clippers for the Mavs in large part due to the opportunity to flourish in Dallas and Mavs intend to give Jordan every opportunity to reach his potential, but a prevailing thought that's lingering around is that Jordan cannot thrive without Chris Paul's brilliance. A similar narrative sprung up after Tyson Chandler parted ways with Chris Paul during their Hornet days. Paul is a marvelous point guard, who any big man would be lucky to play with, but his brilliance is not the single prong supporting Jordan's offensive game.
In his time as a Maverick last year, Brandan Wright led the league in efficiency as a pick-and-roll finisher (minimum 50 possessions) at 1.42 points per possession; Tyson Chandler finished second. Jordan, who scored 1.36 points per possession as a pick-and-roll man, represents the best characteristics of both Chandler and Wright as a finisher. DeAndre has Tyson's physical build with Wright's breathtaking athleticism and body control. At times, Tyson could be a bit stiff around the basket if he had to take a dribble or two before putting up a shot. Conversely, Wright occasionally struggled with contact around the basket. DeAndre doesn't have Wright's touch, but he has the ability to power through defenders while being nimble enough to catch the ball and put on the floor for a couple dribbles.
Chris Paul may very well be the best point guard in the game, but his presence on the court did not dictate DeAndre's success. When Paul was on the court, Jordan had 1.15 points per possession on 71.1 percent from the field; when Paul was off the court, Jordan had 1.10 points per possession on 69.6 percent from the field per nbawowy.com. There's a negligible difference, but Jordan's offense does not crater when Paul exits the floor.
If anything, DeAndre will miss Blake Griffin's playmaking more. Finding a premier playmaker at the power forward position is rare in the NBA. Jordan shot a ridiculous 80.3 percent on passes made by Paul, but he shot an even more ridiculous 84.3 percent on passes from Griffin per NBA.com. DeAndre feasted on short lobs from Griffin when backline defenders stepped up to thwart Griffin's moment to the rim. There aren't many bigs in the league who can throw an accurate lob pass with consistency. Dirk has the ability to replicate some of Blake's passing, but he's not nearly on Griffin's level as a playmaker.
However, Dirk's spacing may prove to be more valuable than Griffin's playmaking. When Griffin sat out 15 games with a staph infection, DeAndre's numbers shot up to 15 ppg and 18.5 rpg playing next to Spencer Hawes. If Hawes' gravitational force could impact Jordan's numbers that dramatically, just imagine what Nowitzki could do.
With his expanded playmaking role, Parsons will play a huge role in Jordan's success in the pick and roll. He ranked fifth in efficiency as a pick-and-roll ball handler last season. His assists numbers don't reflect his playmaking ability because he was flanked by Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis, but Parsons is a deft, deliberate distributor who can throw lobs with ease because of his size. The Parsons-DeAndre high pick-and-roll should be one of the most deadly actions in the league next season. Parsons will no longer have to operate in cramped quarters due to Rondo's and Monta's shooting woes. Wes Matthews and Dirk will create pristine spacing around Parsons-DeAndre pick and rolls will leave weak side defenders in quite the predicament.
DeAndre should excel in another element of Carlisle's offense: semi-transition. Harris and Barea are great at running dummy pick-and-rolls early in the shot clock. They know how to locate bigs for easy basket. If Jordan runs the floor hard, he should be able to get a couple easy seals underneath the basket for easy baskets. Cuban has already spoke about trying to make DeAndre into a dominant force on offense, but that doesn't mean dumping the ball into DeAndre 10 plus times a game. The Mavericks will continue to ping the ball around on offense, but unlike in Los Angeles, Jordan will be the only big man occupying the paint. Dirk will draw out another big leaving ample amounts of space for Jordan to dunk and grab offensive rebounds.
Realistically, Jordan should be able to put up 15 and 18 in his sleep if he maintains the habits he built in Los Angeles. The Mavs have the structure in place for DeAndre to ascend to all-star caliber play. DeAndre was not a by-product of the Clippers' No. 1 offense; he was a key cog that made it run.