The Maverick Mavericks

Lately the Mavericks are one of the hottest teams in the NBA being 9-2 in the last eleven games letting opponents break 100 only three times in that span. In that span position-less, European, superstar-phenom Luka Doncic has missed four games; and big-man, European, unicorn-star Kristaps Porzingis has missed seven games. How then has Jason Kidd’s crazy roster made the adjustments to go on this streak even though Kidd himself has missed a trio games?

First of all, we need to talk about the Mavs Twitter darling Josh “The Sugar Glider” Green. Before this win streak he was averaging 7 minutes a game and had played in only 17 of the 28 games over the last 11 his average increased to 19, while his 7-3-2 stat line on 53/23/87 shooting stat line doesn’t look super impressive it’s how he’s done it that he’s completely re-energized the Mavs. The Mavs are a bottom five team in pace so his energy and speed completely confuses opponents who were prepared for a grind-it out style. He is the best cutter in the league per Synergy and his point of attack defense has allowed Dorian Finney-Smith, an All Defense caliber wing to stick to opponents best scorers instead of trying to fill both roles at the same time. Josh Green leads the team with a point differential of 13.9 in that span mainly because his speed, passing and ball hawking throw opponents off of the game they plan for. 

Here is an example: 

Next lets talk about Dorian Finney-Smith, Doedoe is certainly entering himself into the All Defense conversation, he’s earned an excellent rating from synergy defending around the rim on non-post ups, on drives, on single coverage drives and in ISO situations. In the streak he has guarded everyone from Fox, DeRozen, LeVine, Curry, Jalen Green, Kevin Porter jr, Morant, and Wagner and given all of them fits. I was recently told Finney-Smith had “Spider-Arms” and disregarding the party pooper who pointed out spiders, do not in fact have arms, I love the comparison Dorian is the best defender on a team that over the past 11 games has the best points defense and a top 5 defensive rating.

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Dwight Powell, look, Powell and I have a… complicated relationship. I am probably the biggest Dwight Powell hater in history. 

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B: 

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Needless to say, Jordan Ennis is not a Dwight Powell Stan. However, in this win streak Powell has been… good. For Powell he’s been amazing. He’s averaged 11-5-1 on an absurd 70/60/68 shooting line. His defense has been better, and he’s absurdly taken both Karl-Anthony Townes and Christian Wood off the dribble multiple times. Synergy has Powell in the 95th percentile Overall Offense and 98th percentile in transition. He’s in the 90th percentile as a roll man, and the 86th percentile around the basket on non post ups. And while he’s only attempted 29 3s in 43 games he’s in the 82nd percentile sooting 41% on the year. I am accepting that Dwight Powell is part of the Mavs Success and needs to be complemented

The Last player I will look at is Jalen Brunson, first off let me say this. “GET YOUR OWN STARTING POINT GUARD NEW YORK THIS ONE BELONGS TO DALLAS!” Jonathan Sherman reported that Brunson is looking for $80 million over four years in free agency to which I beg Nico Harrison “PAY THE MAN!” 93rd percentile in Isolation plays including passes, and 73rd percentile in pick and roll including passes, (87th and 91st without passes). 87th percentile on runners and the Tiny guard is in the 68th percentile around the basket with this insane finger roll bank shot he releases from his knees. He does drive left basically 56% of the time but he’s in the 98th percentile on those drives, and he’s still in the 68th on drives right. If you are guarding him in an iso one on one he’s in the 88th percentile there. This all leads to him averaging 17-4-6 on 54/35/88 shooting in the win streak.

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Luka and KP have had their moments but this stretch of dominance is about the other guys stepping up in a big way. 

Lastly, we cannot talk about this stretch without complementing Jason Kidd and his coaching staff, especially Sean Sweeney who stepped in and held down the fort while Kidd was in health and safety protocols. 

It is time to start taking the mavericks seriously. 

All stats are accurate to 12:00 AM in West Africa on January 18th. Stats are from Basketball Reference or Synergy Sports. 

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Jordan Ennis lives in West Africa where he is a pastor at an international church, he also co-hosts the Assisted Development Podcast on the HoopSocial Podcasts feed. He can be found at Assisted Development Podcast on Facebook and @HoopSocialDraft on Twitter.

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