Dallas Mavericks 2017-18 Outlook

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

Last season the Dallas Mavericks amassed just 33 wins against 49 loses to complete one of their worst seasons in recent memory. To put things bluntly, the roster Dallas walked into the season with provided little hope to fans eager to see the return of playoff basketball in Big D. The starting lineup of Derron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dirk Nowitzki, and Andrew Bogut was never going to set the league on fire, and it resulted in the Mavs getting off to one of their worst starts since the 90s.  Things were so bad, in fact, Dallas ultimately took out a flier on a kid named Yogi Ferrell and opted to revamp its young core by trading for 23-year-old rim protector, Nerlens Noel. Sure the moves teased the possibility of Rick Carlisle’s squad sneaking into the playoffs, but in the end there just wasn’t enough depth or, frankly, talent, to overcome an abysmal 9-21 start. Dallas would get the number 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and land the electric point guard, Dennis Smith Jr.

Original photo credit Mavs.com

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What To Do About Nerlens Noel

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

When the Dallas Mavericks sent Justin Anderson, Andrew Bogut, and what should end up being two second round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a young rim protector in Nerlens Noel, the storyline surrounding the deal was that Dallas had swindled the Sixers front office. Over the remainder of the season, Noel would see action in 22 games for the Mavericks, averaging 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and a block per contest. In those 22 games, he would start just 12 times and continue battling nagging injuries. It wasn’t stellar by any means, but there were flashes of what could be, and for Dallas, that was more than enough.

Feb 25, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Nerlens Noel (3) plays in his first game as a Maverick during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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5 Roster Moves Mark Cuban Regretted

By Darreck Kirby
Project Shanks Creative Director

Talent evaluation and financial planning around an NBA salary cap is a tough, often thankless job. To look at a player, in some cases a kid who may be 19-20 years old, and determine whether or not he’s going to develop into a real player or maintain current form is a near impossible task. And no one, no matter how good their track record, gets it right 100% of the time. While many of these moves can be found in the years following Dallas’s lone championship in 2011, others date back more than a decade. Sure Dallas looks to have a promising young core again, but these five roster moves can’t help but leave Mavs fans wondering “What if.”

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Law Nation Film Study: Dennis Smith Jr.

Captivated by the immense athletic potential of Dennis Smith Jr., Law Nation breaks down NBA film for the Mavs top pick.

Strengths
Smith is likely the most explosive athlete in the 2017 NBA Draft. He has an elite first step to pair with terrific vertical explosiveness. That, along with his advanced ball-handling ability and terrific footwork in the pick-and-roll, allows him to get separation from opponents with ease. He knows how to use screens, can use that first step to blow by mismatches in isolation and can get out into transition. In all of these cases, Smith can finish above the rim, where his 60.7 field goal percentage in half-court settings around the basket is extremely high for a guard. He’s a confident shooter who can hit shots off the catch.
Smith is also a creative passer, a player who excels at a higher level creating looks for teammates within the flow of the offense rather than out on the break. He can hit teammates with wrap-around passes underneath the basket, kick-out passes on drives or quick looks to open players from a standstill. His 34.2 percent assist rate was top 30 in college basketball, despite his teammates shooting just 33.8 percent from 3-point range in ACC play, which would have been last in the conference.
In terms of the rest of his floor game, it’s worth noting that Smith is a good rebounder, and a pesky defender when he wants to be. He’s good at getting into passing lanes and using his quickness despite length that would be slightly below average for a point guard.

Weaknesses
Size and durability is the primary concern here. At 6-3, 195 pounds, Smith isn’t the biggest guy in the world, and he won’t post elite length measurements to make up for it. He also tended to avoid contact this season, although it’s difficult to judge whether that was a reaction to the injury and a decision out of self-preservation (which, well, I can’t blame him). He’ll need to be willing to use his athleticism to embrace contact in the NBA, where he should be a magnet for fouls after he gets past his initial defender.

Overall Thoughts/Best Fits
Athleticism and the ability to create separation consistently from defenders is the most valuable skill a point guard can have in the modern NBA. Throw in the fact that Smith can also pass it as well as score at all three levels, and it’s hard not to like the upside. He isn’t quite as safe a pick as De’Aaron Fox due to some of the makeup questions, but if he hits, he’s going to be an All-Star because of the ability to get space for himself.

Yogi Ferrell Named to NBA All-Rookie Second Team

By Lindsey Jones

Dallas Mavericks point guard Yogi Ferrell was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team last week and is the first Mavs rookie to be awarded that honor since Marquis Daniels and Josh Howard both made it in the 2003-2004 season.

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Getting to Know Dennis Smith Jr.

By Lindsey Jones

The Dallas Mavericks drafted North Carolina State freshman Dennis Smith Jr. in the first round of this year’s draft with the number 9 overall pick. It is worth to point out that Smith was the 4th overall point guard taken in the draft behind Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, DeAaron Fox, and Frank Ntilikina.

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Sports Enyi Time – Mavs 2017 Draft Wish List

Project Shanks welcomes to the family the returning sports podcast, Sports Enyi Time with host Enyi Nduka. Joining Enyi this week is Darreck Kirby of Podcast Shanks as the two discuss the 2017 NBA Draft and the potential Mavs pick at 9. Join Enyi each week for the best in DFW sports.

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Podcast Shanks – Mavs and Thunder Free Agency

NBA free agency is always one of the more excitement and in many cases, tense times of year. Contenders can be reduced to bottom feeders with the devastating loss of a superstar while other teams who may be on the bubble could surge ahead thanks to a key acquisition. Or, you could just be the damn Warriors and Spurs and sign everybody…

For teams who don’t have that luxury, however, Darreck Kirby and Brennan Scala of Podcast Shanks take a look at the prospects for the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder and discuss how they can try to get back in the thick of contention.

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Podcast Shanks – Mavs Season In Memorium

It was a polarizing season for the Dallas Mavericks. From beginning the year with one of the worst starting lineups in the league to cultivating a surprisingly talented, young roster, the Mavs appear to have a bright future despite posting their first losing season in 16 seasons. In this episode of Podcast Shanks, Darreck Kirby and Brennan Scala take a look at the highs, the lows, and everything in between from this past Mavs season. [Read more…]

Harrison Barnes Leads Mavs Past Wizards

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The road has not been a friendly place for Dallas this season, and the start of this road trip, a 100-78 thumping in Toronot, proved just that. But if Dallas intends to compete for that final playoff spot, they’ll have to find a way to get it done away from the AAC as 7 of their final 12 games will be on the road. Wednesday night, they found a way to beat a good team in the road unis. [Read more…]

Dirk Joins Exclusive Club, Scores 30,000th Point

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The 30K Club has a new member and his name is Dirk Nowitzki. Coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Tall Baller from the G needed just 20 points to become just the sixth player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. He wasted little time doing so. [Read more…]

Mavs Rout Thunder Behind Smothering Defense

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The return of Wes Matthews provided Dallas with an added spark Sunday night. It wasn’t that the team hadn’t been playing defense already -far from it. With their 104-89 victory tonight, Dallas strung together its seventh straight sub-100 defensive effort. Not bad for the boys in blue. The best example of this was a wild sequence in which Matthews took on Russell Westbrook at the top of the key and simply hounded him with active hands and solid positioning. Every time Russell turned, the Mavs flashed an added defender, forcing the triple-double machine back toward Matthews. Westbrook and Wes danced a bit, then Russ flipped up an awkward off-balance shot at the buzzer that missed everything. The crowd erupted and Wes pumped his fist. Matthews might have only chipped in 9 points, but his relentless effort nevertheless fueled a stellar effort. [Read more…]