Dallas Mavericks: A look at the J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell pick and roll

Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea Dwight Powell Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks J.J. Barea Dwight Powell Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Mavericks usually have a dynamic pick and roll tandem in J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell, but they are struggling so far this year.

The season for the Dallas Mavericks began terribly. After the defeat of the Knicks, Dallas has only two wins with seven losses and a series of six defeats in a row. The Mavericks have a lot of problems, and one of them is that J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell are not producing in the pick and roll.

It all started fine. Pick and rolls worked like clockwork, baffling defense opponents. Barea was one of the leaders in assists per game, and Powell’s usage percentage was higher than any of last season’s games. And of course, they gave us the highlight moments. (Example 1, 2)

Bulls game

The first problems with the serviceability of weapons began in the game against the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls defended against pick and roll by doubling on Barea and switching on Powell.
That forced the big man on to the perimeter.

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But Barea solved the problem. First, he still found an opportunity to pass to Powell under the rim. Secondly, Dallas was left with an open man, due to the fact that Barea was guarded by two Chicago players.

Raptors game

But Toronto has already started a big problem. Ibaka showed excellent defense against the second unit’s main weapon. Don’t allow Barea to pass to Powell by staying tight to him. Also not to give Barea the drive under the basket, but force him to shoot a mid-range floater.

A look at the stats

In the four games from Oct. 24 to Oct. 31, the pick and roll doesn’t work as before. This is clearly visible on the Mavericks assists numbers. For the first four games of the season, Dallas players totaled 107 assists. In the next four, only 85. The number of assists by starters has barely changed (58-57). The bench players had a serious fall (49-28).

If you continue to unravel this tangle, it appears that almost all the decline happened because of Barea (34 to 17). And this is in turn due to the sharp reduction assists to Powell (16 to 5).

The pick and roll between Barea and Powell is not missing from the Mavs arsenal. It is ending more with a shot from Barea. At best, it’s a driving layup. In the worst case, it’s a mid-range jumper. Barea only connected on three of his 28 attempts from the mid-range. That’s 0.21 points per shot. As a result, the most valuable combination of Dallas turned into a slightly improved version of a turnover machine.

It is clear that the numbers of the first four games were abnormally high, and Barea and Powell would not be able to support them all season.

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The problem is that the pick and roll is not happening less often, but it ends differently (instead of a Powell dunk, it is a shot by Barea from the mid-range). This adds negativity to the already bleak start of the season for the Dallas Mavericks.