Image Credit: @dallasmavs twitter
Welcome back MFFLs to the 3rd and final part of our Key Positive Stat series designed to bring light and positivity to each member of our beloved Dallas Mavericks. We have already looked at 8 Mavs players in the first 2 parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2) and now we will look at the remining 9 players including the two-way contracts. So leave your negativity and hatred at the door and let’s see what the Mavs are working with at the bottom half of their roster.
At age 27, Dorian Finney-Smith is now in his 5th season with the Dallas Mavericks after being signed as a undrafted free-agent in 2016. Through a tough stretch in Dallas Mavericks history Doe-Doe earned every opportunity to play and develop NBA skills in-game on a depleted Mavs roster. Even as an undrafted free-agent rookie, Dorian was able to log over 20 minutes per game for Rick Carlisle. He earned his spot with tough on-ball defense, terrific close-outs on shooters, high energy, and the prospect of developing an above average outside shot. All of that has come together nicely as Doe-Doe is now a productive 3 and D roll player who shot an impressive 37.6% from downtown last season.
Finney-Smith’s unique skill that separates him from other 3 and D players in the league is his ability to create second chances for his team. Since 2010 there have only been 10 players to average at least 1.5 made threes per game and 2 offensive rebounds per game over an entire season.
Finney-Smith actually ranked 20th in the NBA last season in Offensive Rating thanks to his high efficiency and low usage. With Luka Doncic and all of the other efficient playmakers on the roster like Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson, and Trey Burke (discussed in Part 2), Doe-Doe doesn’t have to be anything more than a 3 and D hustle guy to earn big minutes for this Mavs team. Although it would be nice to see DFS improve his handles and be better at attacking the basket, one of his best traits is knowing his role and doing everything he can in that role to help his team win.
Ripping down offensive rebounds and hitting 3s while competing on the defensive end is exactly what the Mavs are looking for from Finney-Smith, and he is delivering. He is the kind of guy that doesn’t look great when he is on the floor with average players but when you surround him with offensive talent and playmakers he becomes an ideal role player for a Championship level team.
Willie Cauley-Stein is back for more with the Dallas Mavericks after opting out of his player option this summer and signing a new 2yr/$8.2M deal with the team. WCS was not given much opportunity with the Mavs last season, averaging 12 minutes per game in his 13 games played with the team. Up until recently it has been much of the same, limited but very productive minutes from Big Trilly. In fact, across 54 total games last season, split between Golden State and Dallas, WCS posted per 36 minute averages of 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 2 blocks. There have only been 4 other players in the NBA since 2010 who have matched that per minute productivity for a season.
Cauley-Stein’s length, athleticism, and energy have been infectious so far this year with the Mavs. He comes in for limited minutes and rips down offensive boards, has his hands all in the passing lanes, and attacks the rom on offense. There are a lot of MFFLs clammoring for WCS to steal some of Dwight Powell’s minutes, while this does not seem likely with the respect the organization continues to show Powell, if it does happen it looks like Willie Cauley-Stein will be ready.
Boban is a per minute beast when it comes to simply points and rebounds. When you are 7’4″ and 290 lbs, can hold the basketball like a tennis ball, and have a soft feathery touch around the rim, you can score and rack up rebounds while making it look easy. That is certainly what Bobi does, makes it look easy, like Wilt Chamberlain type easy.
In the history of the NBA there have only been a handful of players that have matched Boban’s per minute productivity with the Mavs from last season with 24.7 points and 16.8 rebounds per 36 minutes.
When Boban’s box score continually shows just 6 points and 5 rebounds on a nightly basis it is easy to forget just how dominant he is offensively when he is out there. Nobody can stop him from catching the ball in the post and nobody can stop with from putting his arm over his head and flipping one of his signature shots, they just have to hope it doesn’t go in. Any minutes that Bobi gets are welcomed by me and most MFFLs I am sure. He brings light to everyone’s heart and brings buckets when he is on the court. Cheers to 100 more years of having Bobi on the Mavs.
James Johnson is a swiss army knife type basketball player. He has the size, skills, and IQ to fill up the entire box score when given the opportunity. Last season, in 32 games with Miami and Minnesota, Johnson filled up the boxscore in his limited minutes going for 15.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes.
This is a very rare combination of production. Johnson was a defensive menace, good floor spacer, productive playmaker, and resident tough guy for his teams. Since blocks have been recorded, here is a list of all the players that have matched Johnson’s per 36 minute production from last season of at least 15 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks.
If per minute production isn’t your thing, we can show James Johnson’s versatility on a per game basis by going back to the 2016-2017 season when he had a much larger role with the Miami Heat. That season, Johnson averaged 12.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1 steal, and 1.1 blocks over 27.4 minutes per game. The only other players to match those numbers that season were Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
This is an impressive list of players to be associated with and this type of skill set is something the Mavs really need. His offensive versatility and toughness on the defensive end make him an ideal role player for a Championship caliber team.
Josh Green had a very impressive freshman season in Arizona, leading to him being selected 18th overall by the Mavs in the 2020 draft. It is not very common for a freshman to fill up a box score the way Josh Green did last season for the Wildcats. This is a list of all the freshman in Pac-12 history to average at least 12 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
|James Harden||FR||2007-08||Arizona State||34||17.8||5.3||3.2||2.1||2.6||40.7%|
As a guard in the Pac-12 you can not hope for much more than to be on a list with these players. It is unclear if and what type of role Green will carve out for himself this season, it will be tough on a deep veteran team. Regardless, it seems like he has the opportunity to develop into a very solid NBA player with his skill set. The Coaching Staff already raves about his defensive ability and the stats say that he has all the skills on the offensive end to be a great role player. This is a great combination and one that I believe will keep Josh Green in the NBA for a long time.
I have to be honest, finding a unique positive stat for Wes Iwundu was much harder than the other Mavs players. But we are going to try to stay positive. The Mavs signed Wes to a 2yr/$3.5M contract earlier in December and many were surprised when he took the last roster spot over our beloved JJ Barea. However, the Mavs organization has said and shown that they have put an emphasis on length and defense. Every move they made this offseason was to get longer, tougher, and better defensively to support their historically efficient offense led by Luka Doncic.
Iwundu has not really been able to get on the court this season, In order to do so I think he is going to need to see a big improvement in his 3-point shot to make himself more of a threat offensively. Luckily for Wes, he has shown glimpses of being an effective long range shooter.
It is common for players to shoot better on their home court than on the road, but Wes Iwundu’s home/away splits when it comes to 3 point shooting is quite drastic. At home, over 27 games and 36 three point attempts, Iwundu shot at impressive 44.4%. In contrast, in 25 road games on 46 three point attempts, Iwundu knocked down only 26%.
These wide three point shooting splits also show themselves when you look at his performance as a starter versus him coming off the bench. Last season in 21 starts Wes shot 39.5% on 38 three point attempts. Coming off the bench in 31 games, he shot 29.5% on 44 three point attempts.
What I take from all this is that Iwundu shoots a lot better when he is comfortable. My spin of positivity is that because of the Mavs great locker room and team comradery that Iwundu will be very comfortable in his time in Dallas, allowing him to focus on his game and improve over time, remember he is only 26.
Tyrell Terry was one of the best shooters in the country last year in his lone collegiate season with Stanford, shooting 41% on 152 three point attempts and 89% on 110 free throw attempts across 31 games. Terry’s Stanford highlight reel shows he has endless range and a quick effortless release, two very definable NBA skills. These highlights also show Terry being very aggressive going to the rim, searching out contact to get to the free throw line where he excels. Only 4 freshman in NCAA history that played for a major conference have shot over 89% on free throws with at least 100 attempts on a season.
|Troy Bell||1999-00||Boston College||180||89%||148||40%||3.1||2.1||1.7||3.8||18.8|
The other players on list this are mostly just shooters and do not do much in terms of rebounding or making plays for others. Terry, on the other hand, has a better all around game and contributes in many different ways. The path to playing time this season is a rough one for Terry, behind Luka, Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Josh Richardson, and Josh Green on the depth chart. Regardless of playing time this year, Terry is a great prospect with an already NBA ready skill in his long range shooting. Improving his ball handling and the ability to create his own shots and shots for others will give him a better chance of earning some minutes in the future.
Nate Hinton is the ultimate hustle player. We saw it in the preseason, whenever he is on the floor, things happen. Whether it be coming up with steals, crashing the offensive glass, controlling the boards on the defensive end, or knocking down open shots Hinton looked impressive in his preseason action. At 6’5″ Hinton rebounds the ball like he is 6’10”, averaging 8.7 rebounds per game in his 31 games at Houston during his sophomore season. The uniqueness of Nate Hinton is in his incredible ability to rebound but at the same time be able to knock down threes on the other end.
In all of college basketball last season, only 10 players were able to average at least 8.5 rebounds per game and make at least 40 threes throughout the season. Aside from Hinton and Kim Aiken from Eastern Washington, no other underclassman was able to rebound and hit threes at this rate.
|Terry Taylor||JR||G||Austin Peay||33||36.6||21.8||41||32.0%||11||1.4||1.3||1.3|
|Phlandrous Fleming||JR||G||Charleston S.||32||35.4||17.7||45||25.9%||8.7||3.8||1.3||1.5|
|Kaleb Wesson||JR||F||Ohio State||31||29.5||14||45||42.5%||9.3||1.9||0.7||1|
|Kim Aiken||SO||G||E. Washington||31||32.7||13.3||76||33.2%||9.7||1.3||1.7||1|
|Andy Van Vliet||SR||F||William & Mary||32||30.8||13.2||53||35.8%||8.7||1.5||0.4||1.3|
Hinton will start the season as one of the Mavs two-way players, thus he will not dress for every game. As an undrafted free agent rookie from Houston, I think he will take any roster spot he can get. I think that Hinton is the type of guy that won’t get discouraged by his role or lack thereof but I expect him to work as hard as anyone else and to be back better and ready to compete for minutes next season.
Tyler Bey is a defensive monster! His size, length, athleticism, and instincts make him the prototype for an NBA defensive stopper across multiple positions. Below is a list of players from major college conferences (aside from the last 3 players which I threw in as a bonus) that have matched Tyler Bey’s 13.8 points, 9 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game in a season.
|Kevin Durant||FR||2006-07||Texas||Big 12||35||11.1||1.3||1.9||1.9||2||25.8|
|Mike Sweetney||JR||2002-03||Georgetown||Big East||34||10.4||1.9||1.5||3.2||2.8||22.8|
|Drew Gooden||JR||2001-02||Kansas||Big 12||37||11.4||2||1.8||1.4||2.5||19.8|
|Bonzie Colson||SR||2017-18||Notre Dame||ACC||21||10.1||0.9||1.7||2.2||1.7||19.7|
|Damion James||SR||2009-10||Texas||Big 12||34||10.3||1||1.7||1.2||2.9||18|
|Al-Farouq Aminu||SO||2009-10||Wake Forest||ACC||31||10.7||1.3||1.4||1.4||2.9||15.8|
|Lawrence Roberts||SO||2002-03||Baylor||Big 12||26||10.4||1.5||1.7||1.1||2.6||15.2|
|Ethan Happ||SO||2016-17||Wisconsin||Big Ten||37||9||2.8||1.8||1.2||2.8||14|
|Paul Millsap||JR||2005-06||Louisiana Tech||WAC||33||13.3||1.1||1.9||2.3||3.1||19.6|
|Kenneth Faried||SO||2008-09||Morehead State||OVC||36||13||1.4||1.9||1.9||2.9||13.9|
Not all of these players went on to be productive NBA players but there are a lot of really good all around big men on this list. What’s more impressive is that Tyler Bey did this while also shooting 42% on his 1 three point attempt per game. If the three point shooting is real and improves and if Bey continues to add strength I don’t see any reason why he cannot be a very solid 3-and-D or undersized stretch big man in this League. Like Hinton, Bey starts this season as a two-way player but I think the Mavs love his defensive upside and will look to groom him for a roster spot in future years.