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Old 07-14-2019, 09:44 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2019
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Default Mavericks Offense, Center Position

Since things got too unwieldy in the Free Agents thread.... below

The Mavericks run a “Flow Offense” and have been doing so as far back as the Championship in 2011. To run it properly, you need good screeners and good 3-point shooters. Your wings have to shoot well from the perimeter, and the big men have to move well, set screens, and run the pick-and-roll. If they can shoot a 3-ball, that’s even better.

Here is Golden State running the Flow Offense: (there is no dialog in this video, but you get to see all the screening that takes place). Golden State fired Mark Jackson because they didn’t like his traditional isolation offense. Steve Kerr brought in a version of the flow offense that worked to perfection.

The Mavericks were good at in 2011 because of Jet, Peja, Dirk, Barea and others who could shoot the 3’s well. You can use a traditional big man like Tyson Chandler as long as they 1. Could set high screens well 2. Could move well without the ball and 3. Could run the pick-and-roll well. Chandler could do all of those. You must be willing to keep the ball moving. Dallas nearly led the league in assists that year.

Golden State is great at running it because they seem to have the perfect personnel for it. On top of that GS has good defenders who communicate well led by Draymond Green (Dallas has always struggled with defense, partially because while Dirk was a good screener on offense, he was a bit slow in getting to shooters on defense).

Golden State and Portland are the two teams who get the most press for their “flow” offense. Both have good 3-point shooters. But Dallas has been running it for a while as well. Think of all the pick-and-rolls they run. However, they’ve struggled to get the right 3-point personnel in place and to cover their defensive deficiencies with Dirk and others.

Big men have to adapt their game in the flow offense. Guys like Vucevic are natural at it. He’s a pretty good screener, he’s active without the ball, and he’s a good 3-point guy. Dedman would also likely be pretty good at it, although Atlanta’s offense was a mystery to me. Sacramento will likely try and take advantage of Dedman’s skill set.

Toronto ran something similar to the flow, and Marc Gasol changed his game to make it work. Now all of my memories of Gasol are shooting 3’s for Toronto, not playing an inside game for Memphis. Robin Lopez also changed his game to make it work in Milwaukee.

Traditional big men can still be winners. Utah had Rudy Gorbet and Derrick Favors and neither of them would even consider shooting a 3. Memphis will still be good with Valanciunas. However, most teams are struggling to figure this out.

Traditional good offensive big men are guys like Valanciunas and Steven Adams (hence, this post). Their games have not been expanded yet to work within a flow offense. Perhaps they can adapt.

Big men who were traditional big men who have changed their game are Lopez and Marc Gasol. They are older, but they can still move well and set screens.

Offensively, Dwight Powell would be terrific at this if he could shoot the 3 better. As it is, he is still very good, and he is very active without the ball. Dwight Powell has a rebounding deficiency as well, so that has to be accounted for… and he will have to work on that. Draymond Green is great for GS even without a good 3-ball because he is such a good defender even out on the wings. He can rotate on defense to cover a variety of players.

In a nutshell, Dallas is seeking personnel who can run a flow offense. KP is shoe-in for that style and Powell already can run it well. Both our guards will be naturals at this offense now as well. Bigger and slower big men are prone to have problems in this offense. Dallas is not likely going back to days of Eric Dampier. The NBA is trending away from traditional in-the-paint centers. Both Merji and Powell have been asked to advance their shooting percentages to the 3-point line help contribute to the flow offense.

For better or worse, Dallas runs a flow offense. They are putting the personnel in place who they think can run it best. They are looking for very specific attributes. Now we can all play “fantasy owner” and pretend we run the team, but Cuban, Nelson, and Carlisle have already decided what type of player they want at center. Just because a center looks good on another team doesn’t mean he’s a desirable fit on this one.

Last edited by JJP; 07-14-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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