Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Midseason Blahs

They have hit, and hit hard.

In the last two weeks, the Mavericks have allowed the bad guys to do this:

Field Goal Percentage:
44.4% HOU (45.1% DAL)
40.2% SAC (48.6% DAL)
63.4% LAL (37.8% DAL)
47.5% DET (44.2% DAL)
52.6% SAS (49.4% DAL)
53.2% UTA (41.2% DAL)
48.8% LAL (42.9% DAL)

Points in the Paint:
40 HOU (52 DAL)
44 SAC (38 DAL)
52 LAL (36 DAL)
44 DET (34 DAL)
50 SAS (44 DAL)
50 UTA (34 DAL)
44 LAL (34 DAL)

Let me crunch the numbers here . . .

Okay. According to my arithmetic, the Mavericks are allowing the bad guys to score on an average of 50.01% of their shots, while only scoring on 44.17% on their own shots. They are also allowing 46.29 points in the paint, while only getting 38.86 of their own points there. In that same stretch, the Mavericks are 3-4, and only one of those wins is against an above .500 team.

For a team with pretensions to being the best in the world, those numbers are appalling. The Mavericks began the season as a top-tier defensive squad. We were either overachieving then, or we're underachieving now, and I don't know which terrifies me more.

In spite of getting Shawn Marion, in spite of having Howard back, to my eyes we're right back where we were last year. The whole idea behind those upgrades was to build a team that could weather shooting slumps from Dirk and Jet. That's stopped being the case, and I haven't gotten a satisfactory explanation as to why.

There's something else. I read an essay on the Moneyball a while back. JakeDFW pointed out some interesting statistics which in retrospect were a harbinger for the team meltdown that happened later that year. Emphasis mine:

I should have realized this in mid-season. In my mid-season review last year, I wrote: "The . . . thing to take from this is that there is a reason for what we're seeing: A drop in overall defensive aggressiveness." For a coach that lives and breathes defense, and a team that showed an ability to perform at quite a high level, a lack of aggressiveness illustrated one thing: The team was tuning out their coach.

Should we be alarmed? Or am I reading too much into a bad stretch of games that might just be an extended case study of Shit Happening?

1 comment:

The Author said...

No cause for alarm. I think the title of your post says it all. Remember, your number 2 seed is still pretty secure.

Want an opinion that may come across as completely misinformed? I think Dallas would perform better on a more consistent basis if they traded Josh Howard. He's talented and athletic, but I'm of the based-on-gut-feeling-only opinion that Howard is not a good fit for the team persona that needs to be in place for Dallas to succeed. I think the team needs someone like Avery Johnson, not necessarily in a suit, but somewhere in that locker room. Howard himself especially needs that guy, which is why I think he was his best under Johnson. They need a rallying, cheerleading, inspirational guy. A Superman to Dirk's Batman. Terry and Kidd are close to it, but just not quite there. If Cuban makes any moves before the deadline, I think he'd be best served shopping for personality over play.

But, what do I know? I thought Iverson would work in Memphis :)