The Dallas Mavericks were knocked out by the LA Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, despite an unbelievable series from Luka Doncic. The 22-year-old proved he is one of the best players in the league, but the team around him must improve if the Mavs are going to contend for a title.
The back-to-back first-round exits were the start of a franchise-wide shakeup. President of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson was let go, and head coach Rick Carlisle resigned with two years left on his deal. The Mavericks are now searching for two key decision-makers at the start of a crucial offseason.
Carlisle is known for getting the most out of his teams, but the Mavericks were forced to rely too much on Doncic in the playoffs. Yes, the talent around him must improve, but the new head coach could also spice up the offense. The Phoenix Suns defeated the Lakers and Nuggets in the first two rounds of the playoffs by using an incredible pick and roll attack. What can the Mavs take from the Suns?
What can Dallas Mavericks take from the Phoenix Suns’ pick and roll?
ESPN’s Zach Lowe broke down a lot of the Suns pick and roll sets (subscription required). The Mavs use what Lowe called, “The Lift” frequently. Dallas ran the fifth-highest percentage of pick and rolls during the regular season and their 0.98 points per possession as a pick and roll ball handler ranked third in the league. Those numbers dipped in the playoffs, but facing a switchable Clippers defense played a role.
Here are three things the new coach can implement to make Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks even more dangerous when running pick and roll.
Next: No. 3