The Mavs Gaming team, Doug McDermott hitting everything, something that only two teams in the entire NBA have done, and more... here are 10 things you may have missed.
Only the Mavericks and the Rockets have...
... six players who have made 100 or more three pointers this season.
Houston: James Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Chris Paul, Ryan Anderson, P.J. Tucker
Dallas: Wesley Matthews, Dirk Nowitzki, Yogi Ferrell, Harrison Barnes, J.J. Barea, Dennis Smith Jr.
The Mavericks have already broken their franchise record for most threes attempted in a season (2500+), a record they’ve now broken each of the last four seasons.
The New Orleans Pelicans are the only team that currently has five players that have made 100 or more three pointers this season. But, Nikola Mirotic hit 69 of his 115 threes with the Bulls before being traded to the Pelicans. After that, only five teams have four players with 100 or more made three pointers this season: Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and Philadelphia 76ers.
NBA 2k League Draft
The first ever NBA 2k League draft happened this week and the Mavericks team had the No. 1 overall pick. The league comprises 17 teams, all backed by NBA franchises. Each team selected from a pool of players, who chose a position for themselves and went through a two-month combine process. The first cut narrowed the field down to 72,600 players, then 250, and then the final cut left just 102 that were drafted. Each team drafted six players: a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward, a center, and one bench player that could be any position. This is the Mavs Gaming team.
McBuckets on freaking fire
When the Mavericks traded for Doug McDermott they knew they were getting a great shooter, but there’s no way they expected this. At the time of the trade, McDermott was shooting 38.7 percent from three in 55 games for the Knicks. With the Mavericks, McDermott is shooting a scorching 50.7 percent from deep.
Oddly, that’s the second best mark in the NBA since the time of the trade and the only player shooting a better percentage from three is... Dwight Powell, who has hit 11 out of the last 20 threes he has taken (55 percent).
Maxi Kleber’s role reversal
Coming into the season, the one thing I knew about Maxi Kleber was that he could shoot. Touted as a stretch four, he always had fairly good shooting numbers playing overseas. But the three-point line in the NBA is a little farther back, and that was going to be an adjustment. On the year, Kleber is shooting just 29.3 percent from three, and he hit a wall in January and February when he shot just 22 percent from three.
What I didn’t know about Kleber was that he can defend. His size, speed, and instincts on the defensive end have been surprising. He has blocked five shots in individual games against Boston and Toronto, and he blocked four shots in a game against Minnesota. Just watch him erase this Kyrie Irving layup.
D.S.J.J. playing together
Refreshingly, there haven’t been many complaints about the way Coach Carlisle has handled rookie Dennis Smith Jr. this season. But one point of contention from fans and some media is how much DSJ has played with J.J. Barea. According to Basketball Reference, the duo have played over 392 minutes together, or just under 20 percent of Dennis Smith Jr.’s playing time.
That’s not an overwhelming percentage, but in that time they are the second worse two-man defensive combination on the team, allowing 118.3 points per 100 possessions. On top of that, when Barea is on the court, Smith Jr.’s usage percentage dips to 21.8 percent compared to 30.1 percent when Barea is off the court. And when Smith Jr. is on the floor, Barea’s usage percentage is 22.6% compared to 25.9% when Smith Jr. is off the court.
That’s a lot of numbers to say that when the two share the floor, Dennis Smith Jr. defers to J.J. Barea, whether by design or not.
Being a Twitter detective
It’s almost that time of year again. The transaction game in the NBA is sometimes more fun than the actual basketball. And for the Mavericks that might be more true than ever this summer. The Mavs will be one of the few teams with available cap space, and with that comes possibilities.
One of those possibilities is trading for a disgruntled star on another team. Maybe one that the Mavs have pursued in the last few years...
Social media has done amazing things for the transaction game. It’s almost as if it upgraded from 2D to 3D, there’s just a whole other layer. A few days ago Hassan Whiteside commented on a Dennis Smith Jr. highlight on Instagram. Isaac Harris found it and then @All_Things_Mavs quoted that tweet to Whiteside, saying that Dallas would welcome him with open arms. Finally, Dennis Smith Jr. liked that tweet and now we have something here...
Mavs late-game garbage-time comebacks
Generally, when fans or the media talk about tanking there’s always one stipulation: “but the players would never purposely lose games.” Which is true. Ask any player, and they laugh at the idea of tanking. So late in games when the Mavs are losing and Carlisle sends out the Texas Legends squad, they’re still trying their best. And sometimes, their best catches the other team off guard.
Recently the Mavs have had garbage time comebacks against the Jazz, Hornets, and Timberwolves. The Jazz were up by 21 and held their lead for the last three quarters, but Jalen Jones, Maxi Kleber, Aaron Harrison, Yogi Ferrell, and Kyle Collinsworth brought the Mavs back within five points. The Hornets had a 15-point lead that dwindled all the way down to one point with five minutes to go. And the Timberwolves had a 12-point lead late in the fourth quarter but only won by one point.
The Mavs’ culture of grinding games out and trying until the very end seems to have remained intact.
Constantly checking CHI, ORL, ATL, PHX, BRK, SAC, MEM scores…
Tanking may make games difficult to watch, but at least it makes the end of the season interesting. But instead of checking the scores and tiebreakers for playoff seeding, I find myself getting really excited when I see the Hawks are close down the stretch against the Heat, or that the Magic beat the Knicks by 24(!) points. Every win or loss means something when the lottery standings are this close.
Aaron Harrison “signed for the remainder of the season”
This might seem stupid, but it bothered me. Aaron Harrison signed a 10-day contract with the Mavericks back on March 22, and the team decided to re-sign him. The official announcement said “MAVERICKS SIGN AARON HARRISON FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON” which sounds great. It sounds like the team found something good in Harrison and wanted to keep him around for a while in the same way they signed Kyle Collinsworth after his second 10-day contract. But the problem is... there were only 10 days left in the season. So they basically signed Harrison to a second 10-day contract but called it “the remainder of the season.”
The Mavericks “1st Point Basketball”
This is a really cool thing the Mavericks do, giving players these commemorative basketballs for different milestones and benchmarks. Recently they’ve been giving out a lot of “1st Career NBA Points” balls like the one pictured below from Antonius Cleveland. Here are the other players who have been given one this season:
- Dennis Smith Jr.
- Maxi Kleber
- Gian Clavell
- Antonius Cleveland
- Kyle Collinsworth
- Johnathan Motley
- Jameel Warney