The Dallas Mavericks now have DeAndre Jordan at center, Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and Chandler Parsons as the small forward. That’s as good or better than any front line in the NBA.
But they still have some work to do.
Right now Devin Harris would be the starting point guard (Jordan will find he’s not quite CP3) . They have Wes Matthews at the two, but he is coming off Achilles surgery and may not be the same player. Dallas is already at work to fill out a couple of their guard bench spots with role players, as reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Both J.J. Barea and Richard Jefferson were with Dallas last season, playing reserve roles primarily. Barea averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 assists a game, playing just less than 18 minutes a night at about a league-average level of efficiency. Jefferson averaged 5.8 points a game in almost 17 minutes a night, but efficient wouldn’t be the word you would attach to them
They both make good reserves, solid role players off the bench. But if Dallas wants to run with the big boys in the West next season — Golden State, San Antonio — they need to land a quality starter for the one and some depth for the two spot.
Jamal Murray‘s performance since signing a max contract extension? Uneven.
But this play during the Nuggets’ win over the Thunder yesterday? Brilliant.
Caught picking up his dribble and seemingly well-defended, Murray flipped the ball off the backboard then finished his own alley-oop.
That’s obviously a flashy move, but it’s also an effective one more players should use. The backboard can be an effective weapon for passing, especially for a player to himself, when he knows exactly where he’s putting the ball and can get a step ahead of the defense.
How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?
After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.
Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.
But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.
Popovich, via ESPN:
“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.
And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.
Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.
Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.
Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.
But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.