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41 stats to know before the season

Random but true stats

2021-22 Dallas Mavericks Media Day Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images

Mark Twain famously said, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” With that being said, here are some random but true statistics to know before the Dallas Mavericks begin the 2021-22 season.

  1. Kristaps Porzingis shot 62.5 percent on corner threes last season. He was 10-of-16 on corner threes on a miniscule number of attempts. The Mavericks love to place him above the break for the incredible spacing he can provide. Many have emphasized posting Porzingis more, but one of the ways to make life easier for Porzingis is to get him more easier looks from the corner.
  2. Dorian Finney-Smith hit 42.9 percent of his threes while sharing the floor with Luka Doncic last season. This would have placed 14th in the NBA last season.
  3. But he shot 27.1 percent from three while not sharing the floor with Luka last season. This would have placed dead last in the NBA among players who qualified. Many (including myself) have wondered why Finney-Smith might start over Reggie Bullock. This is the answer. Reggie Bullock is a good to great shooter regardless of whom he plays with. Finney-Smith is only a viable shooter when playing with Luka.
  4. A career-high 10.1 percent of Porzingis’ shots were dunks last season. This represents a huge difference from what appeared to be a reluctance to attack the rim last season. Sometimes the eye test is wrong.
  5. Porzingis’ offensive rebound percentage was 6.9 percent in 2020-21. This was the second highest of his career, behind the 7.1 percent he had as a rookie. Again this is totally contrary to what appeared to be a directive to remain off of the offensive boards in order to protect his lower half.
  6. He also had a 58.2 percent true shooting percentage. This was by far the highest of KP’s career.
  7. Compare that to 53.5 percent, Porzingis’ career true shooting percentage with the Knicks. “Unicorn” Porzingis was well named because a unicorn is mythical. He was not a winning player in New York.
  8. Tim Hardaway, Jr. shot 40.1 percent from three without Luka on the court last season. The only player on the Mavericks to shoot above 40 percent without Luka in more than 70 minutes. Hardaway can be a true microwave, with or without Luka.
  9. Jalen Brunson’s three point percentage without Luka: 38.8 percent. Second highest on the team. Brunson is incredibly important in creating offense while Luka rests.
  10. Maxi Kleber’s: 36.9 percent. This was third on the team and the highest of all remaining players until you get to Porzingis’ 31.5 percent without Luka last season. The team has to shoot better when Luka sits.
  11. The Mavericks ranked second in at rim field goal percentage last season. Only Miami made shots at the rim at a higher frequency than the Mavericks.
  12. But the team ranked just 26th in at rim shot frequency. Only the Suns, Magic, Jazz and Clippers took fewer shots at the rim. Given how good the Mavericks are at finishing, they must take more shots at the rim.
  13. The Mavericks’ defensive rating in all minutes Luka and Porzingis played together without Willie Cauley-Stein on the court: 124.0
  14. Their defensive rating with Luka, Porzingis and Cauley-Stein all on the court: 108.0. As upsetting as the idea of Porzingis at the four is to some people, if the center behind him is a great defender it really helps.
  15. When Luka, Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis shared the floor last season, it was 127.1. This appears to make them unplayable together, but...
  16. Their defensive rating was 113.3 when Luka, Hardaway Jr. and Porzingis shared the floor in 2019-20. If Porzingis can regain his defensive ability, the Mavericks’ three best players can share the court, which is a bad sign for opponents considering it is one of the most elite offensive groups in the league.
  17. Porzingis has had two games with at least 37 points, five made threes and five blocks. This is two more than everyone else who has ever played in the NBA combined. Don’t forget how much talent he has.
  18. When Luka, Kleber and Cauley-Stein share the floor, the team has a net rating of 19.9. This lineup had an offensive rating of 119.3 and a defensive rating of 99.4 last season in 173 minutes. Cauley-Stein is too limited offensively to be anything but a screener, which relegates the power forward he plays with, to being a floor spacer. If the power forward is just going to space the floor, Kleber’s defense is more useful than Porzingis’ other skills. This is a trio that should get more minutes next season.
  19. Net rating with Jalen Brunson on the court and Luka off the court during the 20-21 regular season: 3.1
  20. Net rating with Brunson on the court with Luka during the 20-21 regular season: 5.1
  21. Net rating with Brunson on the court and Luka off during the 20-21 playoffs: -34.7
  22. Net rating with Brunson on the court with Luka during the 20-21 playoffs: -23.9. With the possible exception of Porzingis, Brunson is the Maverick the Clipper matchup hurts the most. He should be better in any other playoff matchup.
  23. Two of the three seasons Luka has played with the Mavericks have been in the top 16 all time in offensive efficiency. There is some worry that Kidd will harm the offense as coach but as long as Luka is playing, the offense will be elite.
  24. Luka has 36 career triple doubles. This ranks 11th all time.
  25. Luka’s career playoff points per game average: 33.3
  26. His career playoff rebounds per game average: 8.8
  27. And his career playoff assists per game average: 9.5
  28. Bullock shot 46.9 percent on open threes last season. He will get more playing with Luka this season.
  29. Eighty-seven percent of Bullock’s shots (including both twos and threes) came with less than two seconds of touch time.
  30. Bullock shot 90.9 percent on free throws last season. This is important because he needs to replace Josh Richardson as a potential late game free throw shooter.
  31. Jalen Brunson hit 79.9 percent of his shots within three feet of the basket last season. This is a stunning percentage for someone as small as him. He struggled with the Clippers who are the worst possible matchup for him.
  32. Points per play on Porzingis post ups last season: 0.98. This is actually a middle of the pack (58.8th percentile) efficiency on an inefficient play type. Many will use this as a reason we should never post Porzingis, but KP gaining the ability to punish mismatches in the post and being “switch proof” changes the Mavericks post season ceiling. If they have to devote bad reps to this during the season but it helps during the playoffs that is a good trade off but this cannot be a staple of the offense.
  33. Points per play on Luka post ups last season: 1.09. This is in the 83.8th percentile in efficiency. He is just huge relative to the people who guard him. Couple that size with his midrange mastery, and he is a beast in the post. If Kidd wants to run more offense through the post, Luka is the player to post.
  34. The top seven offenses in the history of the NBA by offensive rating all occurred last season. This should be the first season in a long time where league wide offense goes down.
  35. The number of two point shots that Kleber took last season: 1.3. His shooting is helpful, but he is an athletic 6’10 player. He should roll to the rim more.
  36. Luka would have scored 14 more points in the playoffs last season if shot 80 percent from the free throw line. He is amazing, but he has to get better from the line.
  37. Luka had the ninth most isolation possessions per game in the NBA last year. James Harden and Damian Lillard are the only people in the NBA who used more isolations and did so more efficiently than Luka.
  38. Luka and Kevin Durant were the only players in the NBA last season who were in the 80th percentile or better in each play type of post ups, isolations and as a pick and roll ball handler.
  39. Josh Green, Tyrell Terry and Tyler Bey played a combined 582 minutes last season. This would have been the third fewest minutes of any individual first round pick behind Leandro Bolmaro who did not come to the NBA and Udoka Azubuike. The Mavericks are trying to win, but other teams that are trying to win still find time for their draft picks. The Mavericks have to find more playing time for the young players which is one of the positives of Kidd’s coaching history.
  40. 39.4 percent. Hardaway Jr. has shot 39.4 percent from three over the last two seasons on 7.4 threes per game. This is a huge improvement over his 34.3 percent prior to the last two seasons.
  41. The number of players in the history of the NBA with 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, an NBA MVP and a Finals MVP who only played for one franchise: one. Dirk Nowitzki.