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6 numbers from the Dallas Mavericks season

Here are six stats that explain the season.

Portland Trail Blazers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks have completed the long regular season, and the playoffs await. The Mavericks went through several ups and downs throughout the last seven months. One of the ways to tell the story of the season is through the numbers. Here are some that stand out from the season.

11.7: The number of turnovers per game by the Mavericks

For years under Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks were always one of the best teams at taking care of the ball in the NBA. Jason Kidd must have learned well from his former coach, because Dallas didn’t give the ball away very much this season, either. The Mavericks ended the season with the third fewest turnovers in the NBA.

30th: The Mavericks’ rank in pace

Dallas plodded through every game this season. They are never in a hurry. They averaged around 95 possessions per game, last in the NBA. It’s part of the reason why they never turn the ball over. The Mavericks are deliberate with every possession, searching and probing for a good shot. It should serve them well in the playoffs, when games slow down. But it wouldn’t hurt for them to attack a little quicker sometimes, and try to get some buckets before a defense gets set.

One caveat: teams with good defense artificially slow down their own pace, due to making opponents work harder to get baskets, and thereby driving down the total number of possessions in a game. The Mavericks’ pace numbers are probably affected by this a bit.

34%: What Mavericks’ opponents are shooting on 3-pointers

The Mavericks have benefitted from great 3-point defense this season, allowing only 34% on 3-pointers. That’s good for fourth in the league. There’s just one problem with this stat that otherwise sounds great. 3-point defense seems to be random. It comes and goes throughout the season, and teams have yet to figure out why.

Maybe preventing 3-point shots can be key (the Mavericks are third in the league in 3-point attempts allowed), but the Milwaukee Bucks won a championship last year and allowed the third most 3-pointers in the league. They instead focused on preventing shots at the rim. The point is that it’s good that opponents are shooting a low percentage from deep against the Mavericks, but we don’t know if it’s just random or something the Mavericks are actually doing.

42.9: The average number of points in the paint the Mavericks scored

The Mavericks were 29th in the league in points in the paint. The only team worse were the New York Knicks. Dallas made up for it by scoring nearly 50% of their points in the midrange or on 3-pointers. That’s concerning, considering that shooting can come or go. But the Mavericks have shown themselves capable of excellent defense, though that’s waned a bit lately. If they can return to the level of defense they were playing in February, they can stay in any game, regardless of shooting.

48.2: The number of drives per game by the Mavericks

With players like Doncic, Jalen Brunson, and Spencer Dinwiddie, it’s no surprise the Mavericks are adept at drives. That number ranks eighth in the NBA. They’re just 11th in the NBA in free throw attempts off of drives, however. Whether that’s an inability to finish due to lack of size (Brunson) or coming into the season out of shape (Doncic), or due to officiating, well, that’s for you to decide.

19.7: The number of wide open 3-pointers the Mavericks attempted per game

Dallas ranked third in wide open 3-pointers, which are defined as 3-point attempts with a defender six feet or more away from the shooter. It’s no surprise they rank so high, with Luka distributing the ball in such creative ways. Unfortunately, they’re not so great at hitting those wide open 3-pointers. They only shoot 38.8% on wide open shots from deep, 11th in the NBA.