Mavs Half-Empty V Half-Full (Pick-And-Roll)
Technically the offseason starts the second the clock hits zeros during the deciding game of the NBA Finals. But let’s be honest, these days the NBA Draft and free agency are as much a part of the NBA schedule as any games played in February. Late August until the preseason is the only small window of true offseason we have to endure. To help you fill that window, we’ll provide you with this new Dallas Mavericks feature in which we give you a quick positive to look forward to as well as a quick negative to worry about.
That's all in addition, of course, to the ever-popular Mavs Donuts, where we detail for you today's schedule at the AAC ... and hope to see you there!
Glass Half-Full: Monta Ellis/Tyson Chandler pick-and-rolls
I’ve been excited to write about this since the news broke of the TY trade. This is going to be good. There is going to be some much yelling. These two guys love aggressively yelling at no one in particular when they do something triumphant. And there will be some triumphant pick-and-rolls. ... just as there once was with Kidd at the wheel.
Of all the pleasant surprises that Ellis provided Maverick fans last season, his ability to operate within the pick-and-roll might have topped the list. Most people knew he could drive to the basket and finish, but were impressed with his ability to drop off easy baskets to big men rolling towards the hoop. Samuel Dalembert can thank Ellis for a nice chunk of the buckets he scored as Ellis did the lion’s share of the work on plenty of plays when two defenders merged onto him allowing him to drop off or wrap around a quick pass to his big men. Same goes for DeJuan Blair and certainly B-Wright.
And of course, the pick-and-pop works, too, with Monta as the set-up man:
Ellis was a turnover threat in the pick-and-roll when he tried to do too much and that may remain a risk, but maybe part of that was Dalembert as anything but a reliable offensive weapon. Those passes become a tad easier to make when you’re working with an extremely active big man with great hands and an equal eye for both lob opportunities and bounce passes.
Chandler provides just that.
He is an ideal finisher in the pick-and-roll. Not only that, but he is also an ideal starter for the pick-and-roll. To reword, he is a terrific screener, one of the best in the game. The effectiveness of the original screen makes all the difference in the play breaking down the defense. When Chandler sets a screen the defender feels it.
Not only that, but Chandler’s activity on the offensive glass will allow Ellis more freedom to attack the rim off the screen. Even if both defenders switch on to him, Ellis will have a step on them in an attempt to take the ball to the basket and finish or draw a foul. This will create an opening for Chandler to attack the glass during the drive and if Ellis can just get it up by the rim Chandler will have a decent chance of putting it home. This is a similar dynamic that James Harden enjoyed last season with Dwight Howard and the luxury made Harden arguably the most dangerous pick-and-roll guard in the game.
Both Ellis and Chandler have been in the league for quite a while, but they may have found the near-perfect match in each other for running one of basketball’s most foundational plays.
Glass Half Empty: Parsons is a good defender, Marion defended everything
Chandler Parsons was advertised as a good defender and that is far from a myth. He has great defensive instincts and lateral quickness ... all of which were on display earlier in his career and will need to be on display again in Dallas. The Mavericks, however, were immensely spoiled for the past five years with one of the most versatile defenders in NBA history.
The past two seasons the Mavericks were a poor defensive team and Marion did his best to hide that fact by guarding everyone. He guarded four, sometimes five, positions. He guarded all-stars from LaMarcus Aldridge to Tony Parker and even while in some decline, he did a more than serviceable job.
It’s easy to suggest that, as Marion’s replacement, Parsons take some of the burden of guarding some of the more skilled guards the Mavericks will face. This is unlikely to be the case, even if Parsons might be capable. Marion, even at his recent age, had seemingly unlimited energy as well as a limited role in the offense. Parsons will be relied on as a focal shot-maker and creator within the Mavericks’ offense. Asking Parsons to stay in front of Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker would make it tough for him to be the offensive weapon they expect. He will have his hands full guarding the likes of Kevin Durant and Kawai Leonard as it is. ... though again, if you review a Parsons defensive highlight reel, he certainly shows up as a mult-purpose defender:
Ellis and Jameer Nelson/Raymond Felton are not the kind of guys you expect to stop the likes of Westbrook/Parker/Curry/Harden/Paul/Lillard. They’ll have to do their best, though, which might mean simply surviving. Shawn Marion isn’t walking through that door, and Parsons is filling a different need for Dallas.
We probably have to circle back to the aforementioned Tyson Chandler as the "mistake eraser'' of the Dallas defense. ... all of this among the stuff we'll be talking to the fellas about today.
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