10 Stat-Tastic Mavs Donuts
DONUT 1: Dirk on D ...
We are not here to argue that the Dallas Mavericks have an ace defender in Dirk Nowitzki.
He might be better than some think as a team defender ... but he's no stopper.
We might argue, though, that his defensive numbers are substantially better than you would guess -- and completely belie the idea that he performs poorly on that end of the floor.
Dirk has in fact been the 49th best defender (by points per possession allowed) in the NBA at 0.76 while holding opponents to a 36.4 field-goal percentage (per SynergySports).
Where does Dirk experience his best success? Well, as a post-defender. He has been the sixth-best "Post-Up" defender in the league, allowing just 0.52 points per possession on post-ups, allowing 33.3-percent shooting.
In addition to these numbers, Dirk has the second best defensive rating of the Mavs regulars (guys that have played in at least 20 games), his 101.7 trailing only Jae Crowder's 94.0. It's also worth noting that Dallas has that 101.7 defensive rating with Dirk on the court, but slips to 107.0 with him on the bench.
He may not be a stopper, and he'll never be the anchor of a defense, but the days of labeling Dirk a permanent detriment on that side of the court have passed ... though some may have failed to notice.
Want more? We've collected 10 Stat-tastic Donuts for the 14-10 Mavs ...
DONUT 2: More post-up defense ...
By comparison in regard to Post-Up Defense, Sam Dalembert is allowing 0.95 ppp on Post-Ups (ranked 81st), and DeJuan Blair is allowing 1.00 (88th).
Dalembert has faced 57 post-up opportunities, Blair 53 and Dirk 42 ... so their chances are even enough for general comparison. What isn't even is the players they guard and the situations in which they guard them, as Dirk will generally be handed the less hazardous assignment when possible.
Nevertheless, this makes for impressive early returns for Dirk. ... and begs for more study of the advanced stats on Dalembert and Blair.
DONUT 3: So let's go there ...
For all the well-earned criticism of Dalembert, in the defensive categories Synergy tracks, Dalembert leads Blair in every single one.
In similar total count (104 to 100, Dalembert/Blair respectively), Dalembert has allowed 0.79 ppp (ranked 79th) while Blair is at 0.93 (ranked 257th).
There are differences in the games of Blair and Dalembert that don't show up in these numbers; this is one of those Eye Test things. We know Sam isn't playing well because we can see it for ourselves. (And if we cannot see it for ourselves, we can see him getting a DNP-CD in Saturday's win over the Bucks ... and we get the message.
Here's hoping Sam gets the message, too. Because these numbers suggest just how much the Mavs need him on the floor to at least serve as a decent points-per-possession defender.
DONUT 4: What is 'TS%'? ...
TS% = True Shooting Percentage (shooting percentage that give added weight to 3-pointers and accounts for free-throw percentage).
It is meant to gauge exactly that: Not just a player's field-goal percentage, but his "true'' abilities as a shooter based on all phases of shooting.
Jose Calderon has the best TS% on the Mavs at 62.2 (excluding Brandan Wright's one-game explosion for an 83.9 TS%). Yet Jose averages fewer shots per minute than all but Crowder, Dalembert and Bernard James.
In contrast, outside of the rookies and Wayne Ellington, Vince Carter has the worst TS% on the roster (48.9) but is averaging the third most FGs per minute (not counting Ricky Ledo's brief minutes or Wright's single game).
And yes, you can draw some simple conclusions from this ... and this conclusions include the nice work Saturday in the drubbing of the Bucks by both Jose and Vince:
One of them needs to shoot more.
One of them needs to shoot less.
You may also notice Ellington's name thrown in there, and see why a player most known for his shooting prowess hadn't gone a long way towards cementing his place in the rotation.
DONUT 5: But a hat-tip to Vince ...
In fairness to Carter, he truly was instrumental in the Dirk-less win over the visiting Bucks. The numbers for Carter: 15 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three steals, one block and two turnovers while hitting 5-of-10 field goals, 3-of-5 from distance.
Vince has totaled (at least) 15 points, nine assists, six rebounds and three steals only three times in his career. He did so Jan. 12, 2000 with Toronto, then again Feb. 12, 2008 with the Nets … and now Dec. 14, 2013 with the Mavs.
In terms of an all-around game, this was a Vinsanity keeper.
How much does it matter that Vince plays? We say that's not the question. The question is, how much does he factor into team success when he plays well? And here is your answer: Dallas is now 3-1 when Carter hits at least 50 percent of his shots, with the only loss coming to Miami. The team is 2-0 when Carter has at least five assists.
In contrast, the Mavs are 1-4 when Carter converts under 30 percent of his shot attempts ... in part due to his shooting struggles, it may also be worth noting that Dallas is 4-5 when Carter takes more than 10 shots.
And as always, Vince's shots are, to us, largely a matter of when he takes them.
DONUT 6: B-Wright's night ...
In Brandan Wright's first game of the year after being sidelined with a shoulder injury, he exploded for a game-high 19 points, hitting 9-of-10 field goals, to go with six rebounds, in 18:47.
Those numbers had exceed the single-game scoring mark of any Mavs center this season.
But more than that: At the half, Brandan Wright had 11 points and five rebounds in under 10 minutes of action. Samuel Dalembert matched or exceeded this only five times in his 23 full games.
Along with the blowout score, Wright's activity helped acting head coach Monta Mathis (in for an ill Rick Carlisle) manage minutes. Ellis was at a season-low 23 minutes for Ellis, and Marion and Calderon were down there as well.
For the most complete coverage of Wright's work in his debut, check out your All-Access Pass to Mavs 106, Bucks 93. We'll take you onto the floor and inside the locker room for video, quotes, stats and analysis ... it's one-click shopping for the best Mavs info on the planet!
DONUT 7: Needing Monta ...
Does Monta Ellis need to score for the Dallas offense to click? Well, he's been the leading scorer on the club (that changes for the moment as out-due-to-illness Dirk sits at 21 with Monta dipping to 20.9), so conventional wisdom would say "yes.''
But it's Monta The Playmaker who is almost unbeatable.
The Mavs are 12-3 when Monta Ellis has five or more more assists and have not lost a game when he's had over six (8-0).
DONUT 8: Road kill ...
The Mavs are 14-10, good enough to have them floating around the No. 8 spot in the West (and a top-10 spot overall, thanks to the lousiness of the East).
Part of that good news: Dallas has turned the AAC into friendly confines, with a 10-2 home record.
The bad news: That math means the Mavs are struggling overall on the road.
"It's tough to get road wins, and it's tough to get any win,'' Wright says. "We've got to keep building. We've got to improve that road record. We're getting some guys back that our really going to help us out, myself and Devin. We'll be very formidable on the road."
"Formidable'' is a big word. We like big words.
DONUT 9: Oh, those steaks and burgers!
Thanks to Dee and the incredible staff at Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar for our incredible Mavs pregame dinners ... the legendary DFW restaurateur has done it again.
Dee Lincoln Steak and Burger Bar is becoming THE "upscale casual'' place to dine before you attend events in Dallas ... And the gang from DB.com looks forward to seeing you there on Wednesday before the next home game!
DONUT 10: 10-day contracts? ...
Is there help in Frisco?
Chris Douglas-Roberts just got called up from the Mavs' D-League squad in Frisco to join the Bobcats. As soon as he left, Devin Ebanks, the former Laker, jumped into the void with a 43-point/14-rebound effort in the Texas Legends' win on Friday over the Rockets-affiliate Vipers -- who'd won a D-League-record 25 straight games.
So now is it Ebanks' turn to get called up? And are the Mavs sniffing around?
The 10-day contracts aren't in play yet. That's a move made legal at the end of first week in January. Call-ups can be made now, though, obviously, with a non-guaranteed deal (as with CDR).
I'm told the Legends received three calls about Ebanks after his Friday work -- just visiting, just checking in on him. Those calls came from the Lakers, Heat and yes, the Mavs. Also, Timberwolves scouts were in the building.
So the 6-9 Ebanks -- a stretch-4 who would actually fit in the Mavs system as a third-string backup to Dirk if there ever was a vacancy -- might eventually get his shot.
Same with Terrel Harris (a DFW kid and a former member of the Heat title team). Same with Ricky Ledo, who is of course Mavs property. And we'll also keep an eye on 6-10 center Michael Eric from Nigeria, who has shot-blocking prowess and is working on his offensive game.
All stuff to ponder now ... but to likely take action on after the New Year (or in the Mavs' case, after the trade deadline if a vacancy is created).
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DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
We're not going to petition for Dirk as an All-Star; this is a popularity contest and if the world would rather see Jeremy Lin in the game, hey, World, go for it.
But we would like to note that The Uberman ranks 13th in the NBA in PER ... while also cutting the voters a little slack because of that top 13, nine of them are in the West and of those nine, six are forwards.
So Dirk might not be the best forward in the NBA ... and yet he remains, by the numbers, arguably one of the top 13 players in it.
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