Freelance Friday is a project that lets us share our platform with the multitude of talented writers and basketball analysts who aren’t part of our regular staff of contributors. We’re not going all out this week, but had one post leftover that we couldn’t squeeze in last time. As part of that series we’re proud to present this guest post from John Daigle, a basketball writer for Hoop365. You can find Josh on Twitter, @NotJDaigle.
When the Dallas Mavericks fired the first shot of the offseason, acquiring Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon and other notables, the immediate reaction was directed towards their cap. After all, Dallas had just swapped approximately $18 millions dollars over the course of three seasons and in the meantime, turned it into $17 million up-front. Their books were cleared for the future (which eventually led to Parsons), but still, a single question lingered.
Simply put, how do you replace the production of Calderon, one of the more historically accurate shooters of our generation? His 2014 season alone need no elaboration, just awe.
Even if you chalk his spot-induced accuracy up to nothing more than a gimmick, his above average shooting from beyond the arc was one of the best; think the most prolific fire-breather, or the world’s greatest juggler, or only the finest Spanish Ham merchant.
Last season, 263 of his 447 three-point attempts came during off-ball opportunities (per mySynergySports). Calderon has always been an efficient mid-range shooter (career 45%), but — as shown from Austin Clemens’s shot chart— the Mavericks chose to utilize his long-range strengths even more.
Let’s be honest. There are only a handful of players that could fill the void left by Calderon, each of which are either untouchable or restricted by the cap. And when using their TeamSPACE chart, it’s easy to see just how vital that particular style of shooting is. Sprinkle in the absence of Vince Carter and suddenly, Dallas was responsible for replacing a whopping 42% of their three-point production.
With the surrounding circumstances, however, they were forced to look elsewhere and somehow, some way, found their answers.
As a throw-in, Felton initially garnered very little attention, and understandably given his 39% shooting in 2014. But being only one-year removed from a field goal percentage of 42%, his 55.2 eFG% from beyond the arc shows success when the opportunity presents itself.
Furthermore, Felton has shot 42% from the corner over the past three seasons, meaning, at the least, his services render to a specific need. But it doesn’t end there.
With a new role in place last season, Parsons decidedly took it upon himself to drive and create more, rather than standing around the key. This new method allowed the forward to produce 322 points on 462 drives to the basket, finishing in the top-30 among drives per game and total drives (per SportsVU). But that was his new role. Though he’ll be depended on to create mid-range magic via pick-and-roll and drive-and-kick scenarios, Parsons found success in simply “settling” only one season prior.
But once again, it doesn’t end there.
Having recently signed Jameer Nelson, the Mavs knowingly acquired a helpful facilitator. But, as shown below, his shot-selection catered towards a singular spot, specifically above the break where he’s a career 36.6% shooter.
And forgotten about in all NBA circles, Richard Jefferson and his miraculous slate of 82-games played last season bring in a specific specialty from Utah, where he led the rotation with a 57.3 TS%.
At the end of the day, the Mavericks were forced to address an impossible question. The 395 made three-pointers and 40% shooting from deep that departed with Calderon, Carter, and Marion forced the Mavericks to scrounge for answers. The group they brought in made 450 three-pointers last season.
And sure, there might even be more re-jiggering ahead. But for now, the revamped franchise has found their answers in bulk.