Thermodynamics: Week 11

Posted by Travis Wimberly on January 10, 2013 under Commentary, Recaps | Read the First Comment

Ice

Thermodynamics (n.) – the science concerned with the relations between heat and mechanical energy

The winless warriors strike again. The Mavs just completed another week in which they consistently played hard but failed to win a single game. If you’re still watching each game in full, good on you. You’re a true fan (or a masochist).

Let’s dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Mavs’ week.

Week 11 (Hornets, @Jazz, @Clippers)

FIRE

1) Elton Brand

Brand turned in a nicely productive week. He averaged 10.3 points per game (PPG)— well above his season average of 6.9 PPG— and shot a cumulative 14-of-23 (61%) from the floor. He was particularly effective from mid-range, going 6-of-7 (88%) on shots from over 15 feet. Most importantly, Brand exercised prudent shot selection and played within the flow of the Mavs’ offense — of his 14 field goals this week, 12 were assisted (86%). This last point explains in large part why Brand shot so well; Brand was consistently in a position this week to receive the ball after dribble penetration and ball movement had scattered the opposing defense, and when that happens, he has the ability to be a very effective mid-range shooter.

Moving forward, I’d like to see two more things from Brand. First, I’d like to see him rebound more consistently. He averaged 5.3 rebounds per game (RPG) this week, which was bolstered largely by his 20-minute, nine-rebound performance in Utah. He did not rebound very well in the other two games, as evidenced by his DReb numbers: 13.5% against the Hornets, 9.6% against the Clippers, per Hoopdata. A big man of Brand’s height, frame, and skill should be closer to 20.0%, if not even higher. The second thing I’d like to see from Brand is mostly out of his control: I want to see him play more. I think he should start at center (moving Chris Kaman to a bench role) and play 28-30 MPG. The Mavs’ defense is considerably more effective when Brand plays with Dirk (once we have a bigger sample size, I believe the on-court/off-court stats will bear this out). Considering how poor the Mavs’ defense has been for most of the year, this one minor adjustment could make a noticeable difference.

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The Difference: New Orleans Hornets 97, Dallas Mavericks 92

Posted by Connor Huchton on March 3, 2012 under Recaps | Be the First to Comment

Silbury Hill

Box ScorePlay-by-PlayShot Chart — Game Flow

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Before Friday night’s game against the Hornets, Dirk Nowitzki (7-19 FG, 19 points, nine rebounds) said, “We consider this a must-win.” Though I agree this game felt important after three consecutive discouraging losses, it’s important to remember the extent of a long season, and how these losses, however painful, strike against even the best of teams. All the same, tonight’s game was possibly the worst loss the Mavericks have endured since facing consecutive blowouts to open the season. The Mavericks trailed for almost the entirety of a game against a generally dismal opponent, and were rebuffed consistently upon attempting various comebacks. For a moment, it seemed as though the Mavericks might escape with a close victory, but Jarrett Jack’s (5-12 FG, 15 points, six assists, five rebounds) difficult jumper with less than twenty seconds remaining gave the Hornets an insurmountable four-point lead.
  • Perhaps more concerning than this possibly isolated bad loss are Dirk Nowitzki’s recent shooting woes. Dirk has now shot 33-85 from the field over the last five games, a stretch in which the Mavericks have posted a predictable 1-4 record. Tonight’s performance fell in step with those recent struggles. After a decent first half performance (3-6 FG), Dirk’s jumper looked flat throughout the second half (4-13 FG), and several shots, many of them well-defended, barely grazed the front of the rim. Oddly enough, Dirk only looked comfortable shooting tonight from an area in which he’s struggled to thrive all season: behind the three-point line (5-8 3PT). When Dirk can’t find a scoring groove, the Mavericks are capable of struggling to beat even the worst of teams. This game illustrated that idea both succinctly and painfully.
  • On the positive side of things, Rodrigue Beaubois (11-17 FG, 25 points, four steals, three assists) was a joy to watch. Beaubois is at his best when he chooses to attack the basket willfully and carefully. The speed of Beaubois often proved too much for Greivis Vasquez (1-6 FG, two points, seven assists, six rebounds) and Jarrett Jack, who are definably on the slower side of NBA guards. Beaubois’ game often succeeds or fails on the basis of his lofty floater, a shot that he executed perfectly time and time again. The Mavericks’ guard rotation remains an undefined work in progress, but Beaubois will earn himself a consistent place if he continues to play the effective and imitable style of basketball he embodied Friday night.
  • More befuddling and damaging than Dirk’s struggles was Jason Terry’s (1-9 FG, two points) complete inability to find a semblance of rhythm. Terry has appeared out of sync in recent weeks, and this performance felt like a culmination of poor shot selection and questionable spacing. The scoring punch of Terry has become increasingly necessary with Delonte West injured and Vince Carter struggling, and his inability to provide this necessity simply served as another inescapable detriment to the Mavericks’ chances of victory.
  • What the Hornets lack for in talent they do their best to make up for in effort and coaching. Monty Williams has quickly garnered a reputation as a strong defensive coach, and rightfully so. The Hornets swarmed the Mavericks’ ball movement for the large part of the game, and did a great job of harrying both Terry and Dirk with defensive traps. It’s impressive to see a team destined for a high-lottery choice give such impressive effort, and it’s this energy that has propelled the Hornets to victories in five of their last ten games.

Connor Huchton is a contributor to Hardwood Paroxysm, an editor of Rufus On Fire, and a part of The Two Man Game family. You can follow Connor on Twitter: @ConnorHuchton.

They Smell Like the Future: The 11th Hour

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 24, 2010 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Draft day is upon us. Although the events of this week make moving up in the draft a costly proposition, there’s still an outside chance the Mavs will move up in the second round or even into the late first. Regardless, there should be an interesting prospect of some kind on the board when the Mavs are finally on the clock with the 50th pick. Here are all of the draft previews featured here over the last few weeks (in alphabetical order):

Trevor Booker – PF, Clemson
Aubrey Coleman
– SG, Houston
Sherron Collins – G, Kansas
Charles Garcia – PF, Seattle
Luke Harangody – F, Notre Dame
Mac Koshwal – PF/C, DePaul
Sylven Landesberg – SG, Virginia
Chas McFarland – C, Wake Forest
Art Parakhouski – C, Radford
Dexter Pittman – C, Texas
Jon Scheyer – G, Duke
Donald Sloan – PG, Texas A&M
Mikhail Torrance – PG, Alabama
Greivis Vasquez – G, Maryland
Michael Washington – PF, Arkansas
Brian Zoubek – C, Duke

If the pre-draft buzz is to be believed, Vasquez and Torrance could actually be gone by the end of the first round, with Zoubek not far behind them. Booker should also be out of the question by the time pick no. 50 rolls around, meaning that it’s extremely unlikely that Dallas will be able to draft a player that’s NBA-ready.

Feel free to peruse the per-possession stats of all of the previewed prospects (and all of the players the Mavs have worked out that weren’t previewed) in the chart below. You can sort by any of the listed measures, or classify by position to compare against the rest of the crop.

PlayerPOSTS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%STL%BLK%DRB%
Jon ScheyerPG/SG57.250.22.211.525.841.623.12.60.68.4
Art ParakhouskiC58.658.415.614.07.365.827.90.96.023.6
Charles GarciaPF53.149.09.722.08.475.834.90.82.924.9
Greivis VasquezPG/SG54.849.63.818.435.231.330.52.81.010.2
Dexter PittmanC63.865.416.520.45.063.024.51.08.915.3
Sylven LandesbergSG53.047.34.914.522.236.030.11.50.913.3
Luke HarangodySF/PF55.150.58.210.611.835.131.90.82.124.1
Brian ZoubekC62.663.821.621.89.755.317.72.14.024.4
Mikhail TorrancePG59.352.51.119.533.644.925.61.50.811.9
Trevor BookerPF54.953.310.014.417.347.324.82.44.620.4
Mac KoshwalPF/C55.054.411.920.715.348.228.13.32.820.9
Chas McFarlandC49.444.59.923.76.075.318.41.04.618.9
Michael WashingtonPF54.850.79.115.96.362.924.81.45.018.1
Mouhammed FayeSF/PF53.651.28.416.17.934.523.51.42.717.3
Donald SloanPG55.249.62.315.616.745.327.11.10.19.9
Matt JanningSG51.647.21.814.820.133.125.72.70.511.5
Aubrey ColemanSG51.5466.310.215.644.434.14.00.415.6
Devan DowneyPG51.345.81.616.823.431.534.64.50.09.3
Courtney FortsonPG48.340.74.724.224.250.935.42.30.512.8
Derrick CaracterPF59.857.41122.29.045.527.52.03.621.7
Sherron CollinsPG/SG55.850.60.817.624.331.723.31.80.15.6
Ryan ThompsonSG55.547.94.014.116.152.424.01.80.911.1
Jeremy LinPG62.657.13.421.230.968.226.84.43.612.9
Justin MasonPG45.042.94.221.614.249.512.82.51.46.7
Elijah MillsapSG51.545.89.521.613.556.429.93.01.024.5
Marquis GilstrapSF52.949.39.419.29.043.825.31.62.821.6
Landry FieldsSG/SF56.151.96.713.619.550.831.02.62.220.6
Tyler SmithSG/SF61.757.35.513.522.980.419.82.81.114.0
Matt BouldinSG58.952.81.516.921.440.421.62.20.512.4
Scottie ReynoldsPG47.654.41.918.221.851.526.52.80.47.8
Omar SamhanC58.955.213.712.77.143.130.60.87.924.5
Andrew OgilvyC57.950.810.416.28.277.428.52.56.018.5
Tommy Mason-GriffinPG53.149.31.519.728.924.623.41.40.07.8
Magnum RollePF/C54.151.313.115.75.838.324.11.46.918.2
Jerome RandlePG61.355.61.422.223.732.326.61.20.05.5

In case it’s unclear, the stats are as follows (from left to right): true shooting percentage (TS%), effective field goal percentage (eFG%), offensive rebounding rate (ORB%), turnover rate (TOV%), assist rate (AST%), free throw rate (FTR), usage (USG%), steal rate (STL%), block rate (BLK%), and defensive rebounding rate (DRB%).

UPDATE (5:04 PM CST): For the sake of convenience, I’ll be updating this post with periodic pre-draft chatter.

UPDATE (7:22 PM CST):

  • Per Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas, the Mavs received some good offers for Rodrigue Beaubois, but they weren’t persuasive enough: “‘We’ve had some unusually attractive offers for Roddy,’ Nelson said. But, nothing that would change the Mavs’ stance. ‘Roddy’s not going anywhere,’ Nelson said.”

UPDATE (8:00 PM CST):

  • A nice little video from the Mavs’ official site showing off the pre-draft War Room.

UPDATE (9:00 CST):

  • Looks like the Mavs may have made their way into the first round after all. According to Marc Stein, the Memphis Grizzlies selected South Florida’s Dominique Jones with the 25th pick for the Mavs, who bought the pick. Check out his Draft Express profile here.

They Smell Like the Future: Greivis Vasquez

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 19, 2010 under Commentary | Read the First Comment

Photo by Rob Carr/AP Photo.

Maryland Senior
6′6.5”, 211 lbs (Combine measurements)
23 years old
Point guard/shooting guard
Projection: Varies; late first rounder to late second rounder

Greivis Vasquez could either be way out of the Mavs’ draft range (Draft Express’ most recent mock draft has him going in the late first round) or right up their alley (he’s not far removed from being slated as the 50th pick in a previous DE mock), but either way Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban should do their homework. Vasquez looks like a legit NBA prospect, even if he doesn’t have the makings of a star.

Vasquez is a bit similar to Jon Scheyer in that he’s got off-guard size and point guard skills, a combination which should boost his effectiveness in the pros even more than it did at Maryland. Even if he’s never asked to run an offense, Vasquez’s ability to create from the 2 could be an excellent crutch for teams with scoring point guards (think San Antonio, OKC, and yes, perhaps even a future Dallas team with Rodrigue Beaubois running the show), or simply a nice luxury for squads with more conventional PGs.

That said, Vasquez and Scheyer are very different players. Greivis shares Jon’s designation as one of the less athletic two-guard prospects around, and they both will have to become better defenders before being given a significant role at the next level. That’s not an easy task; neither Scheyer nor Vasquz is maximizing their athletic abilities defensively, but there’s still only so much they can do. They can only recover off of a pick so quickly or jump so high to contest the pull-up, and those are things that make or break players in the NBA. Obviously not everyone in the pros is an elite defender, but with Vasquez as an interesting but not undeniable offensive talent, his defensive lapses seriously hurt his chances of becoming an NBA mainstay.

Plus, while Vasquez seems to be a better playmaker than Scheyer, he’s a much less efficient offensive player overall. Scheyer’s 2009-2010 field goal percentage was sandbagged by the number of three-pointers he took (7.2 three-point attempts per game out of 13.3 total attempts), but Vasquez’s lower shooting mark seems to be more of a product of poor shot selection. He’s a good shooter but not an elite one in this draft class, even when given open space.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that Vasquez is going to hit some big shots during his NBA career. Mostly because he isn’t afraid to take them, and that confidence is an important trait for an NBA role player. Greivis’ faith in his own abilities may be the very thing that inspires him to shoot a long two-pointer with a hand in his face, but with a player of Vasquez’s talent, you take the bad with the good.

The total package is an enticing one. Vasquez is the type of player that will endear himself quickly to his team’s fan base; his skills are impressive, his energy contagious, and his passion evident. There’s no denying that the guy loves to play the game and loves to win, and those are the types things that will make him a fan favorite early in his career. Yet if a team gives Vasquez too much responsibility, he’ll likely show what scouts clearly know: although a top-notch college performer, Greivis just isn’t going to be an NBA star. That said, he deserves to make a roster, and he will. Vasquez seems set for a lengthy NBA career, and that projection would make him a steal for Dallas at 50. It’s going to take quite a bit of slipping to get there, but if the Mavs luck out, Vasquez won’t disappoint.

2009-2010 Traditional Per Game and Per 40 Minute Stats:

PTSREBASTTOSTLFG%3FG%
Per Game19.64.66.34.61.7.429.359
Per 4023.15.57.44.02.0----

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Offense):

TS%eFG%ORB%TO%AST%FTRUSG%
54.849.63.818.435.231.330.5

2009-2010 Per Possession Stats (Defense):

STL%BLK%DRB%
2.81.010.2

Other People:

Matt Kamalsky, Draft Express: “Greivis Vasquez is one of the more unique players in this sample because of his skill set and role at Maryland last season. The Venezuela native got a lot of his possessions working off the ball, with 14.2% of his touches coming from off screen action. His aggressive scoring mentality is clear in the fact that more than half of his catch and shoot jumpers came with a hand in his face; a shot that Vasquez makes as efficiently as any player on this list. At 21.4 possessions per-game, he is also the third highest usage player in these rankings.”

Eamonn Brennan, ESPN.com: “Vasquez was a lot of things in his college career — a Duke antagonist, a poised leader, a fiery trash-talker — but most of all he was just really good. Few players are as capable on the secondary break as Vasquez. He did a little of everything in his senior season; it wasn’t uncommon to see Greivis grab a rebound on the defensive end, push the ball up the floor, find an open shooter, get an offensive rebound and calmly direct Maryland’s offense from the top of the key. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but admit it: If he was on your team, you’d love him forever.”

Fran Fraschilla, ESPN.com: “After Wall, the point guard position is shallow with talent in this draft. Vasquez is on my list because I believe that past performance is indicative of future success and he played well in all four seasons in a top conference. The ACC Player of the Year has some deficiencies athletically and could shoot the ball better, but he is a winner who, even as a second-round pick, should make a roster.”

Supplementary Materials:

Stats courtesy of Draft Express and Stat Sheet.