The Mavericks played a basketball game against the Detroit Pistons and lost. It went to overtime on a Friday night, so this is all the preamble you’re going to get. I’m an editor, sue me. Here are some things:
Jonathan Motley is fun
I have no idea how good Motley is, but he’s definitely been one of the more enjoyable things to watch about the Mavericks as they close out the season with the veterans sitting out.
Motley finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds with a lot of that against Andre Drummond. He’s had a solid run in the last few games and while it’s very easy to dismiss it against a weak schedule against teams that aren’t trying anymore, sometimes these games do matter. Seth Curry parlayed his great April with the Kings a couple seasons ago into a solid season with the Mavericks. Even if the competition is bad, it’s still somewhat noteworthy to put up numbers in this league. Even the teams that are tanking, most are trying hard since a lot of the dudes on the floor are playing for jobs next season. And hey, that game-tying three-pointer was neat! *bites tongue to quell tanking rant*
Don’t get disillusioned by what Motley is or lament his lack of playing time with the Mavs through most of the early goings this season. Just be content that Motley is fun and hopefully he’ll turn into a solid bench guy going forward.
Or let’s just be irrational while reading this tweet:
Johnathan Motley has 26 points and 12 rebounds. Here's the list of Mavericks to achieve that line since 2004: Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, Josh Howard, and Motley.— Bobby Karalla (@bobbykaralla) April 7, 2018
Harrison Barnes is weird
This will be looked at by myself in a larger post, but holy cow is Harrison Barnes a weird player to peg.
He surprised everyone last year by supercharging his natural gifts as an isolation and post-up scorer to put up a pretty great year as the Mavs leading scorer. There were obvious holes in his game but we were all just pretty fired up that Barnes was able to keep his shooting numbers relatively clean with a ton more usage compared to his days at Golden State.
Then this season happened and while it was clear Barnes had taken another step, it didn’t seem as vast. Barnes has driven to the rim more and he’s bumped up his free throw numbers but the increases won’t blow you away. Meanwhile his average three-point shooting was starting to look sore and then you had to take a step back and realize that two seasons in with the Harrison Barnes as your best player experiment had yielded two very bad seasons, team-record wise.
So thinking about Barnes is complicated. It’s made even more complicated by the fact that Barnes has really shown some things in the last month, shooting a ton more threes, hitting more and looking more comfortable with the ball in his hands at the three when it seemed pretty much wrapped up that he’d be his best self at the four.
Since the All-Star break Barnes is shooting 39.1 percent from deep, which is great on its own and even better when you consider how much Barnes has had the ball in his hands during that stretch. He’s also upped his threes taken off-the-dribble. Barnes made two more 3-pointers tonight and looked very smooth ripping it in transition. He didn’t have any assists tonight but that part of his game has looked better recently too.
I like Barnes. I have no idea what the Mavericks do with him in two seasons and I hope Barnes can translate these improvements to actual Maverick wins.
Kyle Collinsworth is the new Jae Crowder WAIT DON’T LEAVE COME BACK
OK, so I have a basketball crush on Collinsworth and while it’s probably because I’m looking for anything during this turd stretch of the season, I think maybe I’m not so crazy.
When Crowder was in Dallas, he was much maligned because he didn’t really do much. He would play 20 minutes and score two points and grab a rebound. It sucked. But the longer he stayed in Dallas, a funny thing happened — he was part of some of the Mavericks best lineups.
Crowder thrilled in the Mavs bench lineups that had Dirk because it allowed Crowder to just sorta hang out in a lineup. He never had to guard the best player or be the best scorer or passer. He just had to play good team defense, move the ball and do the little things to fill the gaps and he was very good at that! I see a lot of that in Collinsworth.
Collinsworth just does things. He gets an offensive rebound and makes a smart pass. He plays smart defense. He moves the ball and makes the extra pass. He grabs a rebound and brings the ball up the floor quickly to get into the offense fast. He doesn’t guard the best player, but he rotates where he needs to be.
I like Collinsworth. He had four points, three assists, two blocks and a rebound. He needs to not only learn how to shoot well but just shoot at all, as his unselfishness sometimes gets in the way. But I like his size at 6’6 and he makes good plays. I hope he’s in the mix for a bench spot next weekend.