Tag: Richard Jefferson

'Nowitzki. Der Perfekte Wurf' Premiere In Cologne

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 preview: Dallas Mavericks


Last season: Dallas was one of the surprise teams in the league last year. A lot of people (myself included) questioned how Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki would pair, particularly with Jose Calderon at the point. Turns out very well — Ellis and Nowitzki made a killer pick-and-pop tandem. And the Mavs could shoot — as a team they hit 38.4 percent from three (second best in the league behind the Spurs). That led to the third best offense in the league pushed them to 49 wins and the playoffs (despite a 22nd ranked defense). Once again in the playoffs the Mavs were written off as just a warmup round for the Spurs, but instead Dallas pushed them to seven games, trying to trap and be more aggressive on defense (Spurs players said at the Finals what Dallas did helped prepare them for Miami’s style). Basically all season long Dallas exceeded expectations… except for Mark Cuban’s, of course.

Signature highlight from last season: Dallas came closer than anyone else to knocking off the Spurs in the playoffs, in part because Vince Carter was clutch in Game 3.

Key player changes: Dallas shook up the roster this off-season. I think they got better but there are a lot of changes, which leads to questions. Gone are guys who played key minutes last season: Jose Calderon, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin (Dalembert, Larkin and Calderon were traded to New York).

In their place come Tyson Chandler (from that trade with the Knicks), Chandler Parsons, Jameer Nelson, Raymond Felton, also Al-Farouq Aminu and Richard Jefferson.

Also key, Dirk Nowitzki re-signed for 3 years, $25 million — about the most team-friendly deal of any superstar. That signing cleared the way for the Chandler Parsons free agent signing.

Keys to the Mavericks season:

Can Tyson Chandler lift this defense up to top half of the league at least? Dallas doesn’t win the 2011 NBA title without Tyson Chandler playing elite defense in the paint as a rim protector. Last season the Mavericks had Dalembert in the paint and the 22nd best defense in the NBA. Chandler is going to be expected to clean up a lot of messes and improve that number. The question is can he still — last season he lacked the same quickness and fluidity on defense, but remember he missed the start of the season with a fractured fibula. Is he all the way back now? He also seemed to check out mentally in New York, I’d expect him to be more focused now (he’s fantastic at talking and quarterbacking a defense). Of course, Chandler in the paint can’t be the only defensive improvement, Dallas is going to have to show improved perimeter defense as well. The backcourt of Jameer Nelson and Monta Ellis are not exactly stoppers, but Parsons will help, he’s solid out on the wing. Dallas doesn’t need to be the 2004 Pistons, but they need to at least be in the top half of the league and more ideally the top 10 to really reach their goals. They have a lot of work to do on that end of the court.

Can Chandler Parsons be worth everything he just got paid? It’s easy to see on paper how Parsons can thrive offensively in Dallas — he stays on the weak side while the Ellis/Nowitzki pick-and-roll happens on the other side of the floor. Parsons can cut to the basket, get a pass and finish at the rim or he can space the floor where he is dangerous both on the catch-and-shoot and off the bounce. At age 25 Parsons has gotten paid like a top option player in the NBA, he has the talent to do it, but now he’s going to have to show it on the court. Nightly.

Who will step up off the bench? Last season the Mavericks had a quality bench — Vince Carter got votes for sixth man of the year, they had DeJuan Blair and others that contributed solid play. This season the bench looks consists of Devin Harris, Doran Lamb, Al-Farouq Aminu and Richard Jefferson (plus Brandan Wright up front). And Felton, I guess. Dallas should have a strong starting five but they are going to need quality bench production and that means some of those guys are going to have to step up their game.

Why you should watch the Mavericks: The easy answer here is Dirk Nowitzki — the best shooting big man in the history of the game, a guy with one of the iconic shots in the history of the game (that one-legged fade-away). He is worth the price of admission. Frankly, with all the offensive weapons this season the Mavericks are going to be fun. But if you’re a basketball junkie, you should tune in to see the adjustments and plays from coach Rick Carlisle — he’s as good an Xs and Os coach as there is in the league. He constantly puts guys in great positions to take advantage of their skill set.

Prediction: 53-29, and I think they have a real shot at being a little better and getting the four seed and home court in the first round of the playoffs. This is a better Mavericks team than a year ago. Around the Mavs they seem to think they have another contender on their hands (I’m looking at you, Cuban), I don’t see that. But this team is in the second tier in the West and making the second round of the playoffs is a real possibility. However that’s as far as it goes.

ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 NBA Preview: Utah Jazz

Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Quin Snyder

Last season: The Jazz were not good, a 25-win team well out of the playoffs in the West. But frankly that was kind of the plan. They are rebuilding through the draft and that takes time, that takes putting your young players out on the court and letting them make mistakes and develop. What really held the Jazz back at the start of the season was Trey Burke being out with a thumb injury — he was clear and away the best point guard on the team and they were better on offense with him back (although still 25th in the NBA in points per possession). The real problem was they were the worst defensive team in the league. By a lot.

Signature highlight from last season: If you’re looking for one play that could foreshadow hope for the future, how about this game winning three against the Magic.

Although… it’s hard not to go with this.

Key player changes: The biggest change wasn’t a player it was the coach — gone is Tyron Corbin, in comes Quin Snyder, who was one of the top assistants in the league and spent years with the Spurs organization. Snyder is known as a player development guy (the Spurs are good at that, in case you missed it) and a discipline guy, two things very much needed with the young Jazz.

As for the roster of players, the big move was matching the four-year, $63 million max offer Charlotte made to Gordon Hayward. He’s getting paid like a foundational piece now. The team drafted Dante Exum and Rodney hood, while adding veterans Trevor Booker and Steve Novak. Gone are Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Andris Biedrins. Well, mostly just Biedrins’ contract.

Keys to the Jazz season:

Player development. Let’s just be clear: The Jazz are not going to be a good basketball team this season. They are not going to reach the playoffs, they are not going to reach .500, they will not pass “go” and will not collect $200. But paired with that statement needs to be this: The Jazz have assembled one of the better core group of young players in the league (15 guys invited to training camp were under age 25). I think they still lack a true No. 1, but their roster has potential. They key is getting that out of the players. This is another season about building for the future, showing signs of improvement, and player development — there was too little of that under Corbin and Snyder needs to change that dynamic. Jazz management has said wins are not the measuring stick and this year they shouldn’t be, but there needs to be real progress.

The Jazz now have paid Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors like foundational players, they need to step up and lead like it. Trey Burke showed promise as a rookie but has big steps to make still. Rudy Gobert showed promise at the World Cup for France, he needs to build on that and be the shot blocker the Jazz need. I am firmly in the “I like Dante Exum” camp but he is a genuine project a couple years out from really paying off and Snyder has a lot to do there. The biggest questions to answer this year is just how good are Enes Kanter and Alec Burks — both can be restricted free agents next summer (assuming a deal on an extension is not reached by Halloween) and the Jazz need to decide how much they are willing to pay to keep them in the fold.

Play some defense. The Jazz were the worst defensive team in the NBA last season, giving up 109.1 points per 100 possessions (via NBA.com). To say their help defensive rotations were bad would be to acknowledge their existence, not sure I can do that. All this needs to change. There has been a lot of talk around the Jazz about revamping and upgrading the offensive sets, but that’s all moot if they don’t get stops. Between Kanter, Favors and Gobert someone needs to become a feared shot blocker. Utah has to get better defensively on the perimeter. They just need to be better everywhere, frankly.

Who is the go-to scorer? For all the things to like about the young core on this team, it still feels like a roster loaded with good young complimentary players lacking that elite, superstar, Top 10 guy to lead them. That can show in crunch time — who gets the rock? The first answer here might be Gordon Hayward because he is often the guy with the ball in his hands anyway, a guy who can create some looks for himself and others, plus he’s now getting paid like an alpha dog. When I saw Hayward at Team USA camp in Las Vegas the first thing you notice is he’s filled out physically a little and will be stronger, which would help in this role. However, I think this could become Trey Burke’s role — he showed it at Michigan and again last season at points (see the video above) that he is cool under pressure. He just can make big plays. That said, the Jazz don’t really have a “clear out the side and isolate our star” kind of guy on the roster, so Snyder needs to run plays, not just isos.

You’re young — get out and run. All that young talent, dynamic playmakers in the open court like Burke and Hayward, bigs who can run the floor like Favors, and the Jazz played at the 26th fastest pace in the NBA last season. Not good. This team doesn’t have to play at a Showtime Lakers pace, but get out and run and pick up some easy buckets in transition. Create mismatches before the defense can get set then exploit them. Make things easier on yourself. Snyder has said that is the plan, but every coach says he wants he is team to play faster next year. We need to see it.

Why you should watch the Jazz: This is a young, dynamic, improving team that has a lot of potential — Favors is a quality big man inside, Hayward has a well-rounded game out on the wing, Burke is a good young point guard, plus there are guys poised to make a step forward in Burks, Kanter and Gobert. This is a team on the rise and those are always the most fun to watch.

Prediction: 33-49, which lands them back in the lottery and not with a thrilling record, but this needs to be a bridge season to better things in the coming years. If they play better defense, run more, find those go-to scorers and if Hayward steps up this is a season that can be a step forward, it’s just hard to predict that translating to many more wins because they are in the brutal Western Conference. The measuring stick shouldn’t be wins, it should be if we see development to what could be wins in a couple years. The Jazz have been amassing young talent for a while, it’s time for some of that to start paying off.

Mark Cuban: Don’t expect any Mavericks to score 20 points per game

Game 5: Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs

In 16 of the last 17 seasons, the Mavericks have featured a 20-point-per-game scorer. Heck, a couple of those years featured two 20-point-per-game scorers.

Between Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley, Dallas has not lacked a clear go-to scorer.

That’s about to change – at least if Mavericks owner Cuban gets his wish.

Cuban, via Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

“I’m not expecting anybody on our team to be a 20-point scorer,” the owner said as the Mavericks introduced six new players at a news conference. “Not Dirk. I don’t want him to be a 20-point scorer. Seriously. Monta (Ellis) has that capability. Chandler (Parsons) has that capability. Dirk has that capability. Richard Jefferson’s got that capability. Jameer (Nelson could score) 15. Raymond (Felton) could do 15, if that was the focus, but that’s not our focus.

“That’s the cool thing. There are going to be times when we overpass. And that will be the challenge.”

Since the 2000-01 season, of the 70 teams with top-five offenses each season – and that’s the type of potential these Mavericks have – 62 have produced a 20-point-per-game scorer:

(Click here to view a larger, interactive, version of the chart)


Season Team Offensive rating rank Offensive rating Scoring leader Points per game
2013-14 LAC 1 112.1 Blake Griffin 24.1
2013-14 POR 2 111.5 LaMarcus Aldridge 23.2
2013-14 DAL 3 111.2 Dirk Nowitzki 21.7
2013-14 HOU 4 111 James Harden 25.4
2013-14 MIA 5 110.9 LeBron James 27.1
2012-13 OKC 1 112.4 Kevin Durant 28.1
2012-13 MIA 2 112.3 LeBron James 26.8
2012-13 NYK 3 111.1 Carmelo Anthony 28.7
2012-13 LAC 4 110.6 Blake Griffin 18
2012-13 DEN 5 110.4 Ty Lawson 16.7
12/1/2011 SAS 1 110.9 Tony Parker 18.3
12/1/2011 OKC 2 109.8 Kevin Durant 28
12/1/2011 DEN 3 109.2 Ty Lawson 16.4
12/1/2011 LAC 4 108.5 Blake Griffin 20.7
12/1/2011 CHI 5 107.4 Derrick Rose 21.8
11/1/2010 DEN 1 112.3 Carmelo Anthony 25.2
11/1/2010 SAS 2 111.8 Tony Parker 17.5
11/1/2010 MIA 3 111.7 LeBron James 26.7
11/1/2010 HOU 4 111.3 Kevin Martin 23.5
11/1/2010 OKC 5 111.2 Kevin Durant 27.7
10/1/2009 PHO 1 115.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 23.1
10/1/2009 ATL 2 111.9 Joe Johnson 21.3
10/1/2009 DEN 3 111.8 Carmelo Anthony 28.2
10/1/2009 ORL 4 111.4 Dwight Howard 18.3
10/1/2009 TOR 5 111.3 Chris Bosh 24
9/1/2008 POR 1 113.9 Brandon Roy 22.6
9/1/2008 PHO 2 113.6 Amar’e Stoudemire 21.4
9/1/2008 LAL 3 112.8 Kobe Bryant 26.8
9/1/2008 CLE 4 112.4 LeBron James 28.4
9/1/2008 DAL 5 110.5 Dirk Nowitzki 25.9
8/1/2007 UTA 1 113.8 Carlos Boozer 21.1
8/1/2007 PHO 2 113.3 Amar’e Stoudemire 25.2
8/1/2007 LAL 3 113 Kobe Bryant 28.3
8/1/2007 GSW 4 111.8 Baron Davis 21.8
8/1/2007 NOH 5 111.5 Chris Paul 21.1
7/1/2006 PHO 1 113.9 Amar’e Stoudemire 20.4
7/1/2006 DAL 2 111.3 Dirk Nowitzki 24.6
7/1/2006 WAS 3 110.1 Gilbert Arenas 28.4
7/1/2006 UTA 4 110.1 Carlos Boozer 20.9
7/1/2006 SAS 5 109.2 Tim Duncan 19.99
6/1/2005 DAL 1 111.8 Dirk Nowitzki 26.6
6/1/2005 PHO 2 111.5 Shawn Marion 21.8
6/1/2005 SEA 3 111.1 Ray Allen 25.1
6/1/2005 DET 4 110.8 Richard Hamilton 20.1
6/1/2005 TOR 5 109.5 Chris Bosh 22.5
5/1/2004 PHO 1 114.5 Amar’e Stoudemire 26
5/1/2004 SEA 2 112.2 Ray Allen 23.9
5/1/2004 SAC 3 110.5 Peja Stojakovic 20.1
5/1/2004 DAL 4 110.3 Dirk Nowitzki 26.1
5/1/2004 MIA 5 110.2 Dwyane Wade 24.1
4/1/2003 DAL 1 112.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
4/1/2003 SAC 2 110.3 Peja Stojakovic 24.2
4/1/2003 SEA 3 107.3 Ray Allen 23
4/1/2003 MIL 4 106.5 Michael Redd 21.7
4/1/2003 MIN 5 105.9 Kevin Garnett 24.2
3/1/2002 DAL 1 110.7 Dirk Nowitzki 25.1
3/1/2002 MIL 2 108.8 Ray Allen 21.3
3/1/2002 GSW 3 108.3 Antawn Jamison 22.2
3/1/2002 LAL 4 107.2 Kobe Bryant 30
3/1/2002 MIN 5 106.1 Kevin Garnett 23
2/1/2001 DAL 1 112.2 Dirk Nowitzki 23.4
2/1/2001 LAL 2 109.4 Shaquille O’Neal 27.2
2/1/2001 SAC 3 109 Chris Webber 24.5
2/1/2001 MIN 4 109 Kevin Garnett 21.2
2/1/2001 SEA 5 108.9 Gary Payton 22.1
1/1/2000 MIL 1 108.8 Ray Allen 22
1/1/2000 LAL 2 108.4 Shaquille O’Neal 28.7
1/1/2000 UTA 3 107.6 Karl Malone 23.2
1/1/2000 DAL 4 107.1 Dirk Nowitzki 21.8
1/1/2000 HOU 5 106.7 Steve Francis 19.9

Unsurprisingly, a plurality of the exceptions are Spurs teams. Gregg Popovich’s squads move the ball, spreading the scoring.

Which is exactly what Cuban wants for his Mavericks.

Report: Mavericks void Rashard Lewis’ contract after it’s discovered he needs knee surgery

2014 NBA Finals - Game Three

Why does this keep happening to Dallas? Last year it was Devin Harris, who agreed to a deal with the Mavericks but never got to sign it because a physical showed he needed foot surgery. (That deal was re-worked and he signed with the team, then re-signed this summer).

This year it was 35-year-old Rashard Lewis, who signed his deal with the Mavericks then it was discovered he needs knee surgery.

The Mavericks decided to void Lewis’ contract and waived him, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The standard NBA contract allows a team to void a contract if said player fails a physical within three days of signing and the team gets back to the player within another three days. Dallas met those guidelines.

The Mavericks were hoping that the additions of Lewis and Richard Jefferson would give a nice starting five (or nice starting four and Raymond Felton, if you ask Knicks fans) some veteran help off the bench. Now Dallas will be looking to replace that help in a depleted market.

Mavericks trade for Bulls’ Greg Smith

Greg Smith, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings

I’m not sold on the cost of doing business, but the Mavericks – intent on maximizing Dirk Nowitzki’s remaining years – are adding some solid players this offseason.

Chandler Parsons was the big catch, and Tyson Chandler could return to being very good in Dallas. Richard Jefferson helps, too.

And Greg Smith adds more frontcourt depth – and he comes at practically no cost.

Mavericks team release:

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired forward Greg Smith from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Tadija Dragicevic.

The Rockets waived Smith late last season, because he was injured and they wanted a healthy option for the playoffs. The Bulls signed him to a minimum contract through next season.

Smith, 23, showed flashed with Houston. He deserves a roster spot and could develop into handing a bigger role.

For the Bulls, this is more salary slashing in line with the Anthony Randolph trade – clearing room for Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic.  At least this time, they didn’t have to add draft picks. Dragicevic, 28, was drafted No. 53 in 2008. It’s unlikely he ever joins the NBA.