The Numbers Behind the Dallas Mavericks’ Historic Offense
The Dallas Mavericks are currently scoring 116.7 points per 100 possessions, which is on pace to be, and pretty easily, the best offense in NBA history. Rounding out the top five is one of Magic’s Lakers squads, an early MJ Bulls team, a Larry Bird-led Celtics group, and Steve Nash run-and-gun Suns. So, yeah, the Mavericks are putting up some impressive offensive numbers.
Let’s take a look at how they’re accomplishing such a feat.
Starting with the offense four factors, the Mavericks are above league average in three of the four categories – effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, offensive rebound percentage, and free throw rate. In the first two, the Mavericks rank second and third in the NBA, respectively. In general, they’re shooting the lights out.
Look at how their top seven players are shooting so far this year.
Their worst shooter in the main rotation has been new addition Chandler Parsons, who is at 51.9%. For reference, the 76ers only have two guys period that have a better TS% than Chandler – Henry Sims and K.J. McDaniels – and he’s their worst shooter!
The Mavericks also never turn the ball over – their 10.5 turnover rate is only behind the New Orleans Pelicans and their turnover-less star Anthony Davis and the veteran Toronto Raptors. The Mavs only rank 15th in offensive rebounding percentage (barely above league average), but that’s fine when you aren’t missing any shots to rebound.
And while they aren’t playing Morey-ball and shooting three-pointers every possession, they do take a bunch of them. The Rockets lead the league in three-point attempt rate, or the percentage of their field goals that are three-pointers, at 43.1%. The Mavericks are currently sixth, taking 30.4% of their shots from behind the arc. And they’re making a ton of them.
Dirk Nowitzki is currently hitting an insane 46.9% of his three-pointers, which is a number that most players strive for in terms of just pure field goal percentage. He’s taking just over four of them per game, and the effect of having a 7-footer hit 3-pointers at that rate is just completely devastating to a defense.
The Mavericks are also getting open shots thanks to great passing. They rank fifth in the league so far in assists per game at 23.9 and third in points created by assists (per 48 minutes) at 57.0. Put simply, 52.8% of their points every game are from assists. And that doesn’t even include secondary assists, which the Mavericks are averaging 5.6 a game, good for 11th in the league.
Per NBASavant.com, the Mavs’ perimeter shooters are getting a ton of space on their jumpers because of their ball movement. On Jameer Nelson’s 89 shots, he’s getting on average 5.5 feet of space (distance from the closest defender). Somehow, Dirk - maybe the best shooting big man ever - is getting 4.7 feet of space on his shots. And his average touch time is 1.92 seconds. If you’re that far away and Dirk makes decisions on passing and shooting that quickly, defenses have literally no chance.
Their schedule does get harder and they’re in the Western Conference, but this team is currently firing on all cylinders. At what pace – be it historic or regresses – the Mavs' offense continues to run will be quite the storyline this year.