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Mavericks’ bad shots and good offenses

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Ruining things isn’t particularly hard. For Alanis Morisette, it’s as simple as a black fly, in your chardonnay. It’s something you never notice in a picture or painting, until you do, and then you can’t stop noticing.

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A lot of the time this season, though it already feels as much down as up, the Mavs’ offense has been a beautiful painting.  But what, in the good games has seemed kind of funny is now showing up pretty clearly as flies in our chardonnay.

It’s early early early. So early, the loss to Portland didn’t even raise my blood pressure. But….

I don’t mean to excuse Chandler Parsons, who’s had a very weird first few games. His numbers, which include 17 points on 48% shooting, having been all you could expect, as is his 38% shooting from three. But he keeps going long stretches without doing anything, which is concerning.

Still….

The real painting screwup is Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, and Jameer Nelson hunting shots.

I’m not such a tactics wonk, but I think the major similarity between Carlisle and, say, Popovich, is that  both of their offenses are focused on the right shot. But, at least in part because he doesn’t have the talent Pop does, Carlisle also knows the value of aggression. A lot of recent Mavs heroes, non-Dirk edition, have been shot hunters, starting with the recently returned Barea himself, then Vince Carter, then Monta Ellis. Of the three, Vince is the only guy who really changed as a Maverick, reinventing himself as a gritty defender. Ellis’ percentages went up last year from the year before, but it’s not like they were career highs.  Carlise likes these guys and the Mavs need them.

And again, still…

Point #1:

The problem isn’t that through five games, Monta is 1-6 from three. He’s a slightly better shooter than that, he will get there, and 6 threes is a perfectly reasonable number to have through five games. The problem is that even though he’s 10 for 23 from just inside the arc, it’s why the heck is he taking 23 shots from just inside the arc.

Point #2

Devin Harris’ 2 for 1s are funny when the Mavs are scoring big. And, weirdly, Devin is 4/4 from the corner threes. But you know what he is from the top of the arc? 2 for 11 from the left side, 0/1 from straight on, and 3/8 from the right side. He’s 3 for 6 from just inside the arc, but that will change in a hurry, and he’s 0/2 from around the free throw line. He’s 5 of 7 from near the basket. So why is Devin, a terrible shooter, but a good finisher, taking 7 shots at the rim and 20 from the top of the three-point arc, where he has hit 5.

Point #3

And then there’s Jameer. Struggle though he has, Jameer is already showing how he can be a valuable player for the Mavs going forward, shooting 9/19 from the top of the arc, and I don’t in any way regret them signing him in the offseason. They couldn’t do better, unfortunately, and this was a pretty good outcome.

But everywhere else there’s so much red it hurts my eyes. Nor is he point-guarding as you might hope, with 3 assists per game and a 2:1 assist to turnover percentage.

The Mavs offense, when clicking, is a thing of a beauty. It spends a lot of time not clicking right now because of who is shooting where.

For better or worse, that’s a thing that can be fixed.

Next: Mavs need another piece

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