The NBA released the second part of the Dallas Mavericks 2021 season schedule on Wednesday. After a grueling first part of the season that included a COVID outbreak and game delays due to the worst snow storm Texas has faced in decades, the Mavericks could certainly use a few breaks. Did they get some?
There’s certainly some good news in this part of the schedule. I’ll say that if Luka Doncic wants to make a push for MVP, there are definitely parts of this schedule that could keep him in that conversation.
Here’s an infographic with a breakdown of key stats from the second part of the 2021 season.
A key stretch for the Mavericks comes in May. This will be the last month and the last chance to make a push for the Playoffs or, if they’re already in the Playoffs, to get the best seed possible. In May, six of their ten games will be played at home and eight of their ten opponents currently have a sub-.500 record. The Mavs really need to take advantage of that stretch. Hopefully they can get hot at just the right time.
Here are some other key details from the second half of their schedule:
Includes 3 make-up games that were postponed
4 more than in the first part of their schedule
Nationally Televised Games: 14 (that’s 37% of their games!)
Home Games: 19
Away Games: 19
Longest Road Trips: 2 3-game road trips
Worst: March 19-24 – 6 days, 3 road games
Longest Home Stand: 5 games, 9 days April 16-24
Games by Month
Home/Away by Month
Games by Day of Week
Games by Time of Day
No afternoon games! All games start at 6 pm or later.
6 PM: 4
6:30 PM: 4
7 PM: 7
7:30 PM: 7
8 PM: 9
8:30 PM: 3
9 PM: 4
3/10 – Rivalry game at home vs. San Antonio Spurs (National TV – NBATV)
3/15 – Rematch at home vs. Los Angeles Clippers (National TV – ESPN)
4/16 – At home vs. New York Knicks (National TV – ESPN)
4/24 – Sunday night marquee matchup at home vs. Los Angeles Lakers (National TV – ABC)
There are certainly some rough stretches in the schedule, including a six-day road trip and four more back-to-backs than the first half of the schedule had. But they finish up with an easy month, perfect timing for a Playoff push. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even surprise some people.
We discuss all the signs that point to the Dallas Mavericks trading Kristaps Porzingis and then talk about whether or not they should trade him and what they can get for him. If they do trade him, we talk about some options from the Hawks and Celtics. We then talk about if the Mavs should go after Andre Drummond and DeMarcus Cousins. We finish up with live reactions to the All-Star reserves and address the debate on Luka Doncic starting over Damian Lillard.
Post-game reactions and analysis from the Mavericks’ win over the Boston Celtics. Things got ugly in the fourth quarter, but Luka Doncic saved the Mavericks by hitting TWO game-winning shots. We talk about Luka’s two amazing shots, Jalen Brunson‘s game, Luka’s MVP candidacy, and what this game revealed about the team and Kristaps Porzingis. We then look ahead to their next game against the Sixers.
We break down the Dallas Mavericks’ win over the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night. The Mavs played amazing defense and were carried by Tim Hardaway Jr and Jalen Brunson off the bench. We talk about their defense, their 3-point shooting, and depth, then look ahead to their next game against the Boston Celtics.
Andre Drummond has been the dream trade target for many Dallas Mavericks fans. The Mavericks’ interior defense isn’t keeping opponents up at night, and their pick-and-roll defense probably has most guards circling the matchup on their calendar as part of their All-Star campaign.
It makes sense that a player like Andre Drummond would look appealing. He’s averaging a double-double with a whopping 13.5 rebounds per game. What’s not to love?
Unfortunately, a lot.
Can Kristaps Porzingis and Andre Drummond Play Together?
There aren’t many two-big lineups in the NBA anymore, for obvious reasons. In a pick-and-roll-heavy league where 3-point shooting is more deadly than ever, two-big lineups don’t stand a chance.
Look at the teams that start two bigs. With the exception of one, which we’ll get to, none of them are winning and none of them have a good defensive rating.
Offensive Rating (Rank)
Defensive Rating (Rank)
New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers
Is there a possibility that these teams are not good for a variety of reasons and that the two-big lineup isn’t the main culprit? Sure. But at what point does correlation become causation?
Some might point to the Lakers, who start Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol, as a model of why a Kristaps-Drummond lineup would work. But the Lakers are the exception, not the rule. Here’s why:
Anthony Davis is an extremely versatile defender that does things that most players his size (read “Kristaps Porzingis”) can’t do. And although Marc Gasol and Anthony Davis start together, Gasol only plays 20 minutes per game. For the majority of their minutes, the Lakers don’t play a two-big lineup.
Kristaps Porzingis simply cannot guard the majority of Power Forwards in the NBA, which is what he would be doing with Andre Drummond starting at Center. There’s no other big for Kristaps to guard or position to hide him on. His lack of mobility, whether due to his injury history or not, is a problem on defense.
Look at the top eight teams from each conference and their starting Power Forward. How many of them do you think Kristaps can guard?
Starting Power Forward
New York Knicks
Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers
San Antonio Spurs
Golden State Warriors
Remember, you can’t hide Kristaps on the other big because Andre Drummond will be guarding him.
I don’t see a Kristaps-Drummond front court having much success. Their size might seduce you into imagining a stout paint presence and a powerful brand of basketball, but that fantasy would be shattered after one pick-and-roll.
Is Andre Drummond the Answer to the Mavericks’ Defensive Problems?
The Dallas Mavericks (really, Kristaps Porzingis) struggle to guard the pick-and-roll. Kristaps doesn’t have the mobility to pressure the ball-handler and keep up with a rolling big. Would Andre Drummond solve that problem?
The numbers don’t paint a pretty picture. When guarding the roll man in pick-and-rolls, Drummond mirrors Kristaps’ effectiveness, or lack thereof. They both allow 1 point per possession on 50% shooting.
This is because Drummond has to play pick-and-roll defense the same way Kristaps does – with drop coverage that allows plenty of space between him, the ball-handler, and the roller. If the player attacks him, he struggles to move his feet fast enough to provide enough resistance.
Just take a look at these clips of Andre Drummond covering a pick-and-roll. Make sure you’re in an area where sound is appropriate. Some of these clips will make you laugh out loud.
Drummond’s overall defense is no better than Kristaps’ either. In the last 15 games, Andre Drummond has a defensive rating of 122.2. That’s 8th worst in the NBA among players who play at least 15 minutes per game. It’s basically identical to Kristaps Porzingis who has a defensive rating of 122.7 during that span.
(By the way, all of this is being said without even mentioning reports of Drummond being a disengaged stat-padder.)
If defense is the problem the Mavericks are trying to solve, Andre Drummond is not the answer.
Does Andre Drummond Fit the Mavericks’ Offense?
It’s hard to not be enamored by Andre Drummond. He’s averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. But how he gets those points is important. The Kristaps Porzingis Experience has shown that not every player has plug-and-play capabilities. Style matters.
We know that Drummond will be used as the roll-man in a pick-and-roll heavy offense. How does he perform in that role?
Let’s look at the Mavericks’ current roll men and compare them to Andre Drummond.
PPP Roll Man in PnR
Andre Drummond’s average of 0.84 points per possession as the roll man in pick-and-rolls puts him in the 14th percentile. That means he’s better than only 14% of the league. He also has a high turnover rate compared to the Mavericks’ current options.
Could Rick Carlisle work his magic and make Drummond a wizard in the pick-and-roll? Maybe. But the numbers make that a high-risk scenario. Why take that risk when the guy they currently have – Kristaps Porzingis – is already so much better? Kristaps’ efficiency is where you would hope Drummond gets to anyway, right? Well, you already have that.
So how does Andre Drummond get his points? Well, anyone who’s jumping from the Kristaps Porzingis train to the Andre Drummond one is going to find that they’re both on the same track.
Drummond’s average of 5.4 post-up possessions per game is third in the NBA. He averages .82 points per possession on those plays, which puts him in the 30th percentile. He makes less than 44% of those shots. That’s third-worst among players in the top 20 in post-up possessions per game.
His last season with Detroit, he was slightly better at .91 points per possession – good for the 49th percentile. But for consistently being in the top 15 in post shots per game, he’s been just a high volume, low efficiency post player.
How well do you think Drummond will fit in the Mavericks’ system as a high volume post player?
For all his strength and size, Drummond isn’t an efficient scorer even when he gets to the rim. This season, the largest percentage of his shots have been at the rim. He’s only made 54% of those shots. (For context, Kristaps Porzingis has made 74% of his shots at the rim.) Widen the distance to 3-10 feet, and Drummond is shooting below 40%.
Andre Drummond’s game does not fit what the Mavericks need right now. He’s a high-volume post player and an inefficient rim roller. And as frustrating as Kristaps can be when he demands post-up opportunities, he’s actually better than Drummond in those situations.
Andre Drummond doesn’t bring anything new to the Dallas Mavericks. He wouldn’t improve their pick-and-roll defense, he doesn’t fit in as a roll-man, and he would likely stall the Mavericks’ offense as a post player.
This is probably why they’re rumored to only be interested in him as a buyout candidate. It’s a low-risk play that could result in a pleasant surprise rather than a massive disappointment, which is what the Cavaliers currently have on their hands.
Dr. Raj from 3CB Performance joins the show to talk about Kristaps Porzingis’ knee injuries and how it’s affecting him on offense and defense. I know no one wants to hear about KP’s injuries anymore, but Dr. Raj explains some really important details about these injuries that reflect issues we’re seeing on the court. We also talk about when we can expect KP to actually be himself again.
In this episode, we talk about the Mavericks’ improved offense, some adjustments Rick Carlisle has made, and the first results for NBA All-Star voting.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
1:27 The Good – Better Offense, Coaching Adjustments, Better Effort
7:58 The Bad – Inconsistent Effort, Lack of Depth, Is Kristaps Happy?
21:47 Interview with Dr. Raj on how Kristaps’ injuries are affecting him on offense and defense
We had a pretty deep and lengthy conversation about Kristaps Porzingis and what’s going on with him. We talk about the issues, the defense, the offense, possible solutions, his long-term outlook, and whether or not the Dallas Mavericks should trade him. We cover pretty much everything with each of us taking opposite sides of the debate.
We also grade the Dallas Mavericks through their first 20 games of the season and play games of Buy or Sell, Real or Fake League Leaders, and Something, Nothing, or Everything. Timestamps below!
3:11 Buy or Sell Predictions
The losing streak
12:28 Real or Fake League Leaders
22:33 The Definitive Kristaps Porzingis Discussion