Here are some things that I am high on and low on for the Mavericks as of late.
Dennis Smith Jr. getting blocked at the rim
There’s a moment in every single game where Dennis Smith Jr. drives to the rim and lofts the basketball right into the outstretched palm of a waiting seven-footer.
Both of the League’s Dennises top the list of players who are blocked the most per game. Dennis Schroder (1.7 times each game) gets swatted the most, but Smith Jr. is right behind him at 1.5. For a rookie whose greatest skill is creating separation and exploding to the rim, getting blocked with this frequency isn’t totally unexpected. What’s surprising to me is how obvious (at least from my view) these blocks appear to be in real time. Watch this drive right into Rudy Gobert.
I mean... that’s Rudy Gobert, they call him the Stifle Tower.
Oddly, just behind the Dennises is MVP-in-waiting James Harden, who gets blocked 1.4 times each game.
Dennis Smith Jr. vs the refs
A lot was said about Five Thirty Eight’s article Which NBA Team Is Wronged By The Refs The Most? Even the NBA Referees Association had a Trumpian take on the piece. The article focused on the NBARA Last Two Minute reports and charted who received the most incorrect calls and who missed out on the most ‘no-calls.’
If anyone was hoping for some grand conspiracy where certain teams or players get screwed by the refs the most then I doubt they were satisfied to see that the top three teams were the Brooklyn Nets, Mavericks, and Denver Nuggets.
Earlier this year our own Dalton Trigg wrote an article about this topic as it related to Dennis Smith Jr. The data from the Five Thirty Eight piece definitely validates his point—at least within the last two minutes of games.
This Dennis Smith Jr. step-back-crossover
Okay, enough negative stuff. Just watch this beauty.
Dennis Smith Jr. with the cross-step-back-over. Silky. pic.twitter.com/Xpma9bvIwc— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) March 5, 2018
We’re witnessing Dennis grow as a basketball player, and plays like this should be giving MFFLs hope. As he trains with the Mavericks’ ball-handling coach God Shammgod, moves like this are going to start dropping, and guys, it’s going to be awesome.
Yogi Ferrell playing way out of position
It should be hard to envision the barely-six-foot-tall Yogi Ferrell playing anything other than point guard. But Rick Carlisle has famously played dual point guards for years now, and Yogi has been pushed to that secondary guard more this season than he has his entire career.
According to Basketball Reference, Yogi has played only 17 percent of his minutes at point guard, but he’s spent 67 percent of his minutes at shooting guard and an insane 16 percent of his time at small forward (which is essentially third guard).
There are downsides to this positional change, though. Last season Yogi averaged 64.3 touches per game and this season he’s down to 45.8 per game. That’s 18.5 reasons for a player heading into unrestricted free agency this summer to be upset, yet Yogi hasn’t complained or voiced concerns about this to the media at all. He just goes about his business, shooting 39.3 percent on catch-and-shoot threes.
Nerlens Noel is back!
Speaking of not griping... you know who has been a consummate professional in the midst of one of the weirdest seasons in recent memory?
Every time I talk to Nerlens he comes off as confident and complimentary to the Mavericks organization and to his teammates. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he returns next season, but I don’t think he’s burned any bridges in Dallas either. He’s been playing pretty well, too.
I honestly think without the Kawhi Leonard and Markelle Fultz stories, Nerlens Noel’s situation would be considered the weirdest ongoing subplot in the NBA.
This Dwight Powell play
Has any Maverick changed fans’ perception more this year than Dwight Powell? Yes, Carlisle did put him in a great situation with that second unit of Barea, Devin Harris, and Dirk Nowitzki. But the coaching staff has fawned over the work Dwight has put in. Over the summer he was the second or third player in the gym every day (behind Harrison Barnes) working on his game.
Dwight’s hard work is starting to pay off. This play is wild and kind of outside Dwight’s game but maybe not in a year or two... eyes emoji
Super Maxi-o Bros
Earlier this month a group of about 15-20 German fans gathered in the 300-level of the American Airlines Center and cheered for Maxi Kleber every single time he entered the game.
Lucky for them, he played 26 minutes that night. In the six games prior to that night he had received three DNP-CDs and played nine total minutes in the other three games.
I have criteria for every half time show. One question I always ask is “Could I do that?” If I could, then most likely it wasn’t a good halftime show (Simon Says guy, most rappers, Giant inflatable mascots, etc). But then there was this during halftime of the Pelicans game on March 4.
I cannot do that.
No one can do that.
I’m not sure they just did that.
Scotty Hopson making history
During that same game against the Pelicans, Scotty Hopson hit a free throw and became the only player in NBA history to score one single point in a season with two different teams. His other point came in 2013-14 when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The only other players to have scored a single point in a whole season for the Mavericks are Darrick Martin (2001-02) and Pavel Podkolzin (2004-05), both of whom seem like prime podcast guest candidates for my guy @ForgottenMavs.
This Dallas Community College Commercial
At every Mavs home game they play a Dallas Community College commercial like this. And it’s complete propaganda.
Who opens a resume, looks at the “Education” section and just hires someone on the spot?! Does that lady even know that girl’s name? Can’t anyone just put “Name of College” on a resume and hand it to an interviewer?! What if the resume said they attended that college but they never graduated?! Now you just hired a community college drop-out.
I’m sure Dallas Community College is a great place that allows real people to get real jobs. But not like this... not. like. this.