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Dallas Mavericks: 3 stats that have defined the season

Nolan Fowler
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks, Jason Kidd, Luka Doncic / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks sit at 9-4 and third in the Western Conference after the first 13 games of the 2021-2022 season. To deduce anything definitive when the NBA season is not even a quarter of the way through would be imprudent, but the Mavs’ season so far has been statistically fascinating.

According to Basketball-Reference, Dallas’ expected win-loss total should be 6-7, resembling more of a team in the bottom half of the league than the top.

Below are a few statistical indicators that illustrate the Mavs’ perplexing start to the 2021-2022 season, and what they may forecast for the future.

Dallas Mavericks stat that defines the season thus far: Negative-0.7

This is the Mavs’ net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating) for the season, which currently ranks 19th in the NBA.

For context, the Sacramento Kings (6-8), San Antonio Spurs (4-9), and Rick Carlisle’s Indiana Pacers (6-9) each have better net ratings than Dallas despite the Mavs’ far superior record.

The Mavs have won two straight games by double digits, which subsequently improved their net rating after a sluggish start to the season. Their most recent wins have provided optimism for improvement, but they’ll likely be without superstar Luka Doncic for a few games after hurting his ankle and knee in Monday’s win over the Denver Nuggets.

Dallas Mavericks stat that defines the season thus far: Negative-13.8

This is the Mavs’ point differential for its regular starting lineup of Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dwight Powell.

Much was made of Jason Kidd’s decision to start two big men rather than spacing the floor with four shooters and Porzingis at center. So far, lineups with one traditional big man have fared far better than the Porzingis-Powell starting combination.

The Mavs’ second most frequent lineup, which substitutes Porzingis for Jalen Brunson, is plus-11.9 in just over 64 minutes of play.

In the team’s most-used lineup with Porzingis as the lone big man, the Mavs are plus-29.2 in almost 24 minutes of game action.

The Mavs had their most success last season playing one traditional big man or pairing Porzingis with Maxi Kleber, who’s currently mending a strained left oblique and has missed the last seven games.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kidd eventually tinker with the starting lineup, but it’s evident early on that the Mavs’ best clutch lineup is not their current starting group.

Dallas Mavericks stat that defines the season thus far: 115.8

This is the Mavs’ offensive rating with Jalen Brunson on the floor, which would rank first in the NBA.

In contrast, the Mavs’ offensive rating without Brunson on the court is 95.7 and would easily rank last in the league. 

Brunson’s plus-minus (6.3) exceeds both Doncic (-6.6) and Porzingis (-5.3) by a wide margin and is the best on the team. JB has arguably been the Mavs’ most consistent player relative to his role so far this season. 

He’s averaging career-highs in points (15.1), assists (4.7), and rebounds (4.4) per game, and if he keeps up this pace, Brunson should be a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year again, where he finished fourth last season.

Next. 2022 NBA mock draft 2.0: Who does Dallas select?. dark