Look at this!
There have been very few plays since Luka Doncic joined the Dallas Mavericks that were more fun than this play and did not involve Luka. Plenty of players have helped Luka and made important plays during his time in Dallas, but most of them involve a shooter hitting an open shot or a cutter receiving a pass and finishing. Very rarely have they been the beautiful display of player and ball movement in this play.
The play begins with Davis Bertans attacking a closeout from Jonathan Kuminga. The closeout has to be incredibly hard because Bertans has had absolutely no hesitation in firing from deep as illustrated below. He has now made 11-out of-28 (39.2 percent) threes in 70 minutes through four games with the Mavericks.
A 6’10” player who is willing to take and make that shot demands a hard closeout. Once he attacks the closeout and draws help from Otto Porter Jr., Josh Green seals his defender which creates a passing lane to the opposite corner to Jalen Brunson. Brunson then attacks a second closeout against a scrambled defense. Brunson immediately beats his defender and Josh Green, Bertans and Dorian Finney-Smith all relocate at the same time.
This combination of movement from four Mavericks at the same time causes utter confusion from the Golden State Warriors defense. Defenses may not respect Green as a shooter but there is a subtle head turn from Damion Lee as Green relocates from the paint to the three point line.
This shift provides extra space for Finney-Smith to knife through which he does. Kuminga rotates to the corner to take away Bertans’ corner three which prevents him from providing meaningful help. Finally, Porter is unable to provide help a third time resulting in the open layup for Finney-Smith.
This play is much more important that the two points that resulted. It highlighted an increase in ball handling ability and player movement since the Porzingis trade. These improvements provide meaningful hope for a team which had become stagnant over the prior three years.
The Warriors were able to punish the Mavericks for their predictability in the Luka-centric offense by forcing nine turnovers. Luka was caught in the air repeatedly as the Warriors took away passes to stationary shooters in predictable positions. The Mavericks primary weapon will always be Luka, but the team has other ways to manufacture points now. Teams cannot simply defend an area and be confident that the Mavericks’ shooters will remain in those areas. That makes the Mavericks much more dangerous going forward.
Here’s our latest episode of Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you’re unable to see the embed below, click here to be taken to the podcast directly. Or go to your favorite podcast app and search Mavs Moneyball Podcast.