The Dallas Mavericks have traditionally been a slower paced team in the NBA, something that has hurt them as the years have gone by. Will the youthful point guard, Dennis Smith Jr. start to change the pace of the Mavs?
When the Dallas Mavericks finally take the court this season, the fans are going to be ready for a completely different look than they have been used to in the past. To start with, the Dallas offense will be run by star-in-the-making, Dennis Smith Jr. This young, rookie influence is going to do more for the team than we may initially believe.
One of the things I am most excited to see is how the pace of the game will change for the Mavs with a spark plug like DSJ running the offense. There are five things that really stick out to me that we should be aware of with the potential offensive style change that could take place.
First, you have Rick Carlisle.
Carlisle has never really been one to speed the game up too terribly much, but he has also worked mostly with older, veteran point guards during his time with the Mavs. That does not really work with a game based on speed and endurance.
Now that Carlisle has Junior in the mix, he will be able to speed up the game and utilize all the youth we have to cause turnovers and fast break opportunities, score fast, and show off the team’s athleticism.
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Second, Dirk is not exactly the right player to run-and-gun with.
This is a major hitch in the movement towards a faster offense because Dirk is not only the hero of the Mavs franchise, he is also still an incredibly effective player when on the court. An up-tempo pace will not work for Dirk and the Mavs should not try to use it with him.
That being said, we can use a slower paced offense when he is on the court but bump up the speed when he is subbed out, something the Mavs have used occasionally in the past. This should be a great system, especially when the Mavs have a lineup like DSJ, Seth, HB, DFS, and Noel on the court.
Third, Yogi Ferrell was starting last year, what is different?
This is an important distinction because people are going to look at this as the main argument as to why the Mavericks probably won’t speed up the pace.
Simply put, Dallas didn’t have Yogi as an everyday starter until so late in the season that it did not make sense to change up the offense at all. Also, no disrespect to Yogi whatsoever, but he’s not near the level of talent or explosiveness that Dennis Smith Jr. is.
Fourth, this will impact the game offensively and defensively.
People tend to forget that the pace of the game causes change on both ends of the court. Not only do the Mavericks score more and score quicker, they also create a more defensive aggression based on turnovers and transition basketball. The speeding up of the game may see its biggest results on the offensive end, but it originates from defense.
Fifth, Nerlens Noel will have to be a major catalyst on both ends.
The key to a good fast-paced, transition style of basketball depends greatly on a center who can run the court. There may not be a better example of a center that can do that then Nerlens Noel. His impact above the rim, as well as with quick hands and feet, will impact the game greater than any other player on the court.
The Mavs are almost assuredly going to be speeding the game up in Dallas and it will result in a lot of entertainment. These are just a few of the important details to be aware of.