It felt like it came out of nowhere, but in Friday night’s victory over the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Mavericks officially hit the halfway point of the 2015-16 NBA regular season. With 23 victories and 18 losses, the Mavs finish the first half of the season fifth in the Western Conference.
In honor of the midway point, we take a look back at the performance of each and every one of your Dallas Mavericks in this year’s midseason report card.
INC: Incomplete (insufficient playing time)
Note: All statistics through the first 41 games.
Zaza Pachulia | 10.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 0.4 blocks
Plan “Z” after DeAndre Jordan, in true classless form reneged on his verbal agreement to join the Mavs this offseason, Zaza has been an absolute stud for the Mavs. At a $5.2 million salary, Pachulia has more than outplayed his contract with 20 double-doubles. He’s 31 years-old and enjoying his first opportunity to be the starting center on a team as good as the Mavs, and Zaza is taking full advantage of it. He’s playing at an All-Star level, making Mavs fans forget the entire Jordan fiasco ever even happened. And, only a half-year into his career with the Mavs, Zaza may just be the second best center in franchise history.
Dirk Nowitzki | 17.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 46% shooting
At 37 years-old, the “Uberman” is once again shouldering the load of an entire franchise. As the third-best power forward in NBA history, his one-legged, high-arcing fadeaways remains one of the most unguardable shots in the NBA. In late December, Nowitzki passed Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, further supplanting his name as one of the best players in NBA history. While he’s no longer able put up 25 points per night, Nowitki continues to be one of the best power forwards in the game and only age can stop him.
Chandler Parsons | 9.7 points, 2.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds
It’s been an incredibly frustrating year for Parsons. Coming off offseason minor hybrid microsurgery (whatever the heck that is), Parsons has been inconsistent while playing much of the first half of the season with a team-imposed per game minute restriction, shooting just 32 percent from behind the arc. After a short and unsuccessful tenure as the team’s sixth man, Parsons returned to his regular role as the team’s starting forward when his minute restriction was lifted in early January. But just as Parsons told ESPNDallas.com, his “real season starts in January once I’m full strength and playing my normal minutes.” Expect a different and more effective Parsons in the second half of the season headed into the playoffs.
Wesley Matthews | 12.8 points, 1.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds
Matthews has had a rather perplexing first half of the season. Coming off a ruptured left Achilles in March 2015, he amazingly started the first game of the season, but has yet to consistently look like the player the Mavericks expected when they signed him to a 4-year, $70 million max contract this offseason. He’s shooting career low 38 percent from the field, including career low 36 from beyond the arc. On the plus side, he leads he team in fourth quarter scoring with 4.4 points per game on 45 percent shooting and continues to be a lock-down defender. Matthews’ 2.7 plus-minus rating is second on the team only to Nowitzki.
Deron Williams | 14.3 points, 7.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds
After to failing to land a top-flight point guard following the disaster that was Rajon Rondo’s 2014-15 campaign, Williams has been a godsend for the Mavs this season. As the team’s second leading scorer, Williams has quarterbacked the Mavs with confidence and leadership, with perhaps the biggest surprise being his health. After missing all of training camp with an ankle injury, Williams has avoided the injury bug that plagued him during his time with the Brooklyn Nets. He’s quietly putting together a solid season and has even become the team’s closer, highlighted by a buzzer beating game winner in double overtime over the Sacramento Kings on January 4.
Raymond Felton | 41 games, 9.3 points, 3.4 assists
It’s not always pretty with Ray Ray, but man is he effective. Playing in a contract year, Felton has taken on the role of the steady hand in the backcourt and is the only Maverick to play in every game this season. Filling in for the recovering Chandler Parsons in the Mavs’ starting lineup, Felton helped lead the Mavs to one of the best starting lineups in the NBA during the first half of the season.
Dwight Powell | 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.5 blocks
The guy known as the “throw in” as part of the Rondo trade last season, Dwight Powell has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings from the disastrous late-December trade that sent Brandan Wright, Jameer Nelson and Jae Crowder to Boston. A second-year forward/center out of Stanford, Powell has garnered the heavy praises of head coach Rick Carlisle since training camp. He’s one of the hardest working players off the court and it definitely shows on the court. Of the qualified players (on pace to play 58 games), Powell leads the team with a 97.7 defensive rating. His steady play should earn him a nice multi-year deal this summer.
Devin Harris | 7.4 points, 2.0 assists, 2.1 rebounds
Playing his lowest minutes per game since his rookie season, Harris has struggled offensively for much of the first half. He’s shooting just 31 percent from three-point territory and a career-low 63 percent from the free-throw line. Still his size and speed provide a valuable role for the Mavericks on the defensive end, especially against the Western Conference’s elite point guards.
Charlie Villanueva | 5.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.3 blocks
Despite shooting just 25 percent from three-point range, the second lowest of his career, Villanueva has played a pivotal role in the team’s second unit this season. Appearing in 35 games in the first half, he remains a favorite among fans and with head coach Rick Carlisle because of all the intangibles he brings to the table. The Queens native is one of the high character guys on this team who leads by example and that’s especially important for a young team in the Mavs looking to build a bright future.
J.J. Barea | 10.4 points, 4.1 assists, 39% three-point shooting
When Barea signed a four-year, $16 million deal this offseason after initially agreeing to a two-year, $2.8 million deal, Mavs fans were completely baffled. Somehow after Jordan decommited from the Mavs, Barea was able to parlay the extra cap space into a major raise. At 31 years-old, he’ll never quite live up to his contract in terms of numbers, but Barea embodies the true definition of a Maverick. He fits the mold, attitude and culture that the Mavericks desperately needed to get back to after Rondo nearly tore the franchise apart. His 39 percent field percentage from three-point range is second on the team behind only Nowitzki.
JaVale McGee | 5.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 0.9 blocks
Since being cleared to return to action in late November, McGee has yet to crack the team’s regular rotation, but it has little to do with his play and a lot to do with the play of Dwight Powell and Pachulia. At 7-feet, 270 pounds, McGee has all the physical tools that Carlisle likes his centers to possess in the Mavs pick and roll offense. But after missing the majority of the first half of the season, the opportunity to work McGee into the team’s offense has been limited. However, when he has played McGee has done well, averaging 16.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.
Justin Anderson | 22 games, 2.3 points, 1.2 rebounds
When the Mavericks selected Anderson with the 21st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, many expected him to instantly step in and contribute with Matthews and Parsons being limited. Unfortunately, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has never been a proponent of rookies. Anderson has appeared in just 22 games for the Mavs, scoring 51 total points. His best game of the season actually came with the Mavs D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends when he scored scoring 34 points on 13-of-24 shooting in December.
Jeremy Evans | 25 games, 2.1 points. 1.9 rebounds
While Evans, has appeared in 25 of the 41 games played in the first half of the season, the majority of his minutes have come in garbage time. He continues to be an Al Farqou-Aminui-type reclamation project as an end of the bench player who needs time and opportunity to develop.
Salah Mejri | 6 games, 2.8 points, 2.3 rebounds
Signed as more of insurance policy to JaVale McGee, Mejri has spent the majority of the first half of the season riding the pine along with a few stints with the Texas Legends. The highlight of his season came in Wednesday’s loss to the Thunder when he played 25 minutes, scoring 17 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
John Jenkins | 17 games, 3.6 points. 1.1 rebounds
After leading the Mavericks with 19 points per game in the preseason, Jenkins hasn’t been able to find his shooting stroke in the regular season. In just 17 regular season games, the sharp shooter is just 3-of-18 from downtown. In a crowded Mavs backcourt, Jenkins remains buried at the end of the bench.
Rick Carlisle | 23 wins, 18 losses (.561 percentage)
Coming into the season, few knew what to expect with a nearly-new cast of Mavericks and key players recovering from a major injuries. One thing we did know is that Carlisle has the ability to get the most out of any team in any situation. Despite the challenges, Carlisle has his team once again in the thick of things, competing at a high level and exceeding everyone’s expectations. In early November, he received a well-deserved five-year, $35 million contract extension from Mark Cuban and remains one of the top three coaches in the NBA.
Overall | 23 wins, 18 loss, fifth in Western Conference
Injuries, coupled with a new cast of players, many predicted Dallas to spend the majority of the season vying for the eight and final playoff spot in the West. Despite an up and down performance during the first half of the season, the Mavs sit at fifth in the West through the first 41 games. They are 15-9 vs the Western Conference, 18th in the NBA in scoring with 100.9 points per game and third in the NBA with just 13.4 turnovers per game.
From center to point guard there isn’t a glaring weakness at any position. This team is solid from top to bottom; however, there isn’t an area they completely excel at. While they continue to struggle shooting from three-point range, it’s unlikely the Mavs will be making any trade deadline moves. Their go-to shooters in Matthews and Parsons simply need to round into form by the time playoffs roll around. Rest assured, the Mavs are in driver’s seat to reach their 15th playoff appearance in 16 years. Then, it comes down to matchups and just theplain will to win.
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