Dallas Mavericks: The DeAndre Jordan effect

Dallas Mavericks DeAndre Jordan Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks DeAndre Jordan Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Examining how DeAndre Jordan will completely transform the Mavericks’ offense and defense.

The Dallas Mavericks (probably, knock on wood) did it. They landed a star free agent.

We all know the DeAndre Jordan backing-out of his commitment story and I’m not here to address the redemption aspect of this story. I’m tired of losing, so let’s talk X’s and O’s because I’m thrilled about this addition.

Jordan is a 265 pound seven-footer, an absolute monster. He might legitimately be the most physically imposing big man in the NBA and he moves very well for his size even at age 30. He’s also exactly the player Dallas has been missing for quite some time.

Check out the Dallas Mavericks league ranks in a couple of key categories over the last 5 seasons:

Blocks per game (BPG): 30th

Rebounds per game (RPG): 29th

Now look at DeAndre Jordan’s rank among players over the last 5 seasons:

BPG: T-4th

RPG: 1st

The rebounding thing is clearly huge. The Mavericks have long been dominated by other teams’ centers and Dirk can no longer carry as much of a load on the glass as he did in his prime. Blocked shots doesn’t always translate to good interior defense but being dead-last in them for five years certainly tells you there’s a hole inside.

DeAndre Jordan is only two years removed from being named to the All-Defensive First Team in back-to-back seasons. His presence on that end certainly won’t go unnoticed. If there is one video that perfectly sums up what Jordan can bring and what Dallas has been clearly lacking, its this:

Yes, I know that video is from three seasons ago, but Jordan is still the same physically imposing player he was then. He’s maybe lost a slight step but what he’s lost in athleticism he’s gained in experience and knowledge of the game.

The big man may be out of style now but look at some of the young stars under 25 in the league: Karl Anthony-Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Joel Embiid, Lauri Markannen, Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond and Clint Capela. That’s not even taking into account this last draft class that included five big men in the first seven picks.

The league could start to depend more on bigs again in the future and its imperative that you have someone who can match up with these guys. The Mavericks simply haven’t had someone who could do that.

Offensively, DeAndre Jordan fits the Dallas system like a glove. Rick Carlisle’s offense quite literally soar when he has an athletic rim-running center, and Jordan has the potential to be the best one Dallas has ever had (all due respect to Tyson Chandler).

Four of the five best offensive lineups for Dallas last year featured Dwight Powell at center, the other had Maxi Kleber. Carlisle’s pick-and-roll heavy scheme needs a center who can catch lobs and suck the defense in to open things up for shooters. The shooting gravity of Dirk allows the middle to be wide open for the big man to finish inside.

Powell had the best year of his career last year and Maxi was a nice find, neither have half the talent of DeAndre Jordan. Powell has always been a poor interior defender and rebounder which makes heavy minute lineups with him problematic despite how much he helps the offense. With DeAndre Jordan on the team, that’s no longer an issue.

The roster around DeAndre Jordan really complements his game as well. Harrison Barnes’ scoring ability will take offensive pressure off of him from day one. I already mentioned how much Dirk’s shooting will open up things for him inside. The same can be said about Wesley Matthews. The bench will be savvy and full of veterans, and Jordan will love running the pick-and-roll with J.J. Barea.

The most interesting fit is with the two young stars. Dennis Smith Jr. and Luka Dončić will be dynamic pick-and-roll (PNR) partners for Jordan with two completely different styles.

With Smith, look out league because I’m not sure there is a more athletic PNR duo in the NBA. Their shared explosiveness and DSJ’s underrated vision will be very difficult for teams to slow down. Teams will have to act extremely quick to navigate screens or they risk getting blown by.

PNRs are hard to defend because of the mismatches they create. Dennis Smith Jr. is far too quick for almost any big man in the league to guard him on the perimeter. DeAndre Jordan is far too big for any guard or wing to have a chance against him in the post. This PNR team will be all bout mismatches.

Now with Dončić, it’ll look a lot different. I studied Luka Dončić harder than I’ve ever studied any prospect before. I watched him for two seasons at Real Madrid and was thoroughly convinced he was the best player in a loaded draft class. If there is one think Dončić does better than anything else, it’s undoubtedly the pick-and-roll.

He’ll come in as a rookie and be one of the best in the league from day one. He makes every correct read, he can kick it out to the corner on a moment’s notice, he moves the defense with his eyes, he intelligently uses his body to shield off defenders once they’re on his backside and he delivers all of his passes with pinpoint accuracy. All that on top of being an excellent finisher in the mid-range and close to the rim.

I’m not sure who will help the other’s game more, Jordan or Dončić, but the two are a match made in heaven on the basketball court. DeAndre Jordan is finally (probably) a Maverick and all is right in the world.

Next: Four potential Mavs targets remaining

All of us at The Smoking Cuban are excited to continue sharing our ideas, thoughts, and coverage with you on this journey back to winning basketball. The DeAndre Jordan effect will push us that much closer, if it doesn’t get us there already.