FanPost

Game #36 Preview: New Jersey Nets at Dallas Mavericks

Welcome back to the NBA season! Entering the second half of the season, the Nets have a difficult challenge on their hands in the form of the defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. Oddly enough, the Nets and Mavs will be waging another battle soon, except that one will have much higher stakes than this regular season game. It's widely believed that the Nets and Mavericks are the leading contenders to acquire Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, or both. As such, Dallas is a team that will be on New Jersey's radar in the near future.

Moving on from that, let's take a look at how these teams matchup:

Team

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

FT rate

Turnover rate

Offensive Reb%

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

New Jersey

100.5

108.9*

27.4*

14.83*

29.18^

47.82*

52.31*

Dallas

99.5*

96.0^

25.9*

13.84*

24.86*

48.18^

45.83^

*indicates a stat below league average

^indicates a stat above league average

A few things to note here: Dallas's offense is down, but they have suffered injuries at the PG position (jason Kidd for 10 games and now Delonte West out indefinitely), so that should explain some of the decline in offensive efficiency from last season. There might be some other reasons, but I'll save that for later. Moving on from the Mavs offense, we see that their defense is still excellent, as evidenced by their Top 5 rankings in both defensive efficiency and opponent's effective field goal percentage.

Looking at New Jersey, we see that their defense is really, really bad. Like worst in the NBA bad (which they are).To their credit, they do a great job on the offensive glass, but they're terrible when shooting at the rim so that benefit is lessened a bit.

And before we jump, since we're coming off of All Star Weekend and practically everyone is griping about the Dunk Contest (again), let's take a quick look back at one of ex-Net Vince Carter's most famous (or infamous, depending on who you are) dunks:




Tip-off is Tuesday night at 8:30. And now, let's jump!

Point Guard: Deron Williams vs. Jason Kidd

Williams is coming off of a great showing in the All Star game, but all things considered, it hasn't been a great season for him. From having his motives questioned at every turn and even having his mom being asked about what he'll be doing this summer, it's been a battle for Williams. On the court, because the Nets have been lacking other solid contributors on offense, Williams has been looking for his shot more than he ever has. The usage rate is at a career high and he's been taking more 3 pointers than he has in the past. His passing is still solid (4th in Assist%) and now that Brook Lopez is back, one would assume that Williams won't have to carry the offense as much.

I still love Jason Kidd. I was a fan of his when he was a Sun, and was a bigger fan of his as a Net. Yeah, he had a migraine so bad being traded to Dallas was the only way for it to go away. Despite that, he was an incredible Net and rejuvenated a down franchise. These days, he's slowed down from where he was in his prime seasons, but he's still a rebounding machine at the point guard position. His shooting is way down, but at this stage in his career, it's understandable.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Marshon Brooks vs. Vince Carter

It's been a decent, if unspectacular, rookie year for Brooks. He's been around league average offensively, though he does need to attack the basket more (80% of his shots have been jumpers).

Half-man, half-amazing, or to his detractors, half-a-season. Regardless of what he once was, Vince is doing well for himself in Dallas. No longer a high-usage dunking machine, VC has become more of a jump shooter in his twilight years, and has been successful at it (eFG of .509%). One thing I hope Vince does is talk to Brooks because this

Faild_medium_medium

via assets.sbnation.com

is bad form. Marshon needs to watch some Vince tapes.

Advantage: Mavericks

Small forward: DeShawn Stevenson vs. Shawn Marion

Luckily for Stevenson, defense pays his bills and he's been good at it (opponent PER OF 11.1). That .398 TS% is still disgusting to look at though.

Shawn Marion is still a solid all around contributor. He's competent enough on offense (eFG% of .471), is an above average rebounder at the 3 (rebound rate of 12) and can defend multiple positions. He's also 11th among active players in Win Shares, which is a great accomplishment.

Advantage: Mavericks

Power forward: Kris Humphries vs. Dirk Nowitzki

Humphries is never gonna be mistaken for Charles Barkley, but he's been pretty damn good for Jersey. He's decent enough offensively (.556 TS%) so you just can't leave him alone as he can knock down the occasional mid range jumper, and he's a rebounding machine (Top 10 in rebound rate). And he's a little chippy, which is a positive if he's on your team.

I could go on for days about how awesome Dirk is, but in the interest of time, I won't. I mentioned earlier that the Mavs offense has declined from last season, and a part of that can be traced to Dirk. He ended up missing 4 games with a sore right knee and that probably had a negative effect on his performance. Funnily enough, a TS% of .545 and a WS/48 of .188 is a down year for Dirk, but that's still above average and you'd kill for your high usage players to be that good. From editor andytobo's article about Dirk on Mavs Moneyball:

Dirk’s peculiar genius is choosing shots. He almost never gets it wrong. And as he climbs the NBA leaderboard, the rest of the league will get another chance to see where that can get you.

Advantage: Mavericks

Center: Brook Lopez vs. Brendan Haywood

This is only his 3rd game so looking at any numbers for Lopez wouldn't tell you much of anything. I do hope that between now and whenever Lopez is no longer a Net, he becomes a competent rebounder.

Brendan Haywood is a perfectly average NBA center. He does good work on the glass (rebound rate of 17), is a useful post defender, and makes the few shots he does take (.541 FG%). You'd be a fool to ever run your offense through him, but luckily Rick Carlisle and the mavericks aren't fools.

Advantage: Even (I should note that if they're both at the top of their games, I'd favor Lopez.)

Bench:

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Shelden Williams, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Sundiata Gaines

Dallas: Jason Terry, Lamar Odom, Rodrigue Beaubois, Ian Mahimi, Brandan Wright

Advantage: Dallas

Miscellaneous:

I fully expect Cuban and Prokhorov to engage in a war of words this offseason in the chase for Howard/Williams. And I fully expect some lousy media types to play up some sort of "USA vs Russia" angle.

For all the years he was knocked for his inability to shoot, it still amazes me that Kidd is 3rd all time in threes made. The more you know...

What the hell happened to Odom? He went from 6th Man of the year to a waste of a roster spot virtually overnight.

I mentioned the Mavericks offense being down, but offense has been down across the league this season. I think that was to be expected with the short season and all.

Everything is so jam packed in the Western Conference. Only 3.5 games separate the 3 seed from the 8 seed. The Nets will be back competing for a playoff spot one day, I hope.

Dude what the hell

Journey through the dark side: Mavs Moneyball

The mothership: Nets vs Mavericks coverage

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