Popular opinion is an NBA team must be good on the boards to be good in the standings. But when it comes to the 2014-15 Dallas Mavericks, that old basketball adage has proven to be unequivocally false.
Don't believe me … the numbers speak for themselves. But that would make for a really short column, so let me actually tell you the numbers I've compiled from this season.
The Mavs were 44-26 rolling into Sunday night's game against Phoenix. Focus on just the wins and Dallas has some fairly surprising rebounding statistics. Let's start with the fact that in those 44 wins, Dallas has only out-rebounded its opponents 16 times.
16! Out of 44 wins. That's only 36.4 percent of the time Dallas has out-boarded its opponents … in victory!
The Mavs have been even in three other triumphs and on the wrong end of the rebounding battle in 25 other wins. If that isn't enough to raise some eyebrows, let's look further into the numbers – specifically the fact Dallas is operating at a -143 overall rebounding rate in its triumphs this season, has been at a 20+ rebounding disadvantage in two wins and 10+ in another 12 victories.
Think about that, the numbers of times the Mavs have out-rebounded their opponents in wins (16) is almost equal to the times they've been 10+ behind on the boards (12) in victory.
Some fans would argue that's what has gotten the Mavs in the spot they are right now … I'd agree, but in a much less negative connotation as Dallas is seventh in the West and has the ninth-best record in the NBA.
But what can get Dallas moving up in the standings and, more importantly, making noise in the playoffs for the first time since the championship run in 2010-11?
Improve to an even rebounding ratio. Not even an advantage – just get to zero.
That will necessitate at least two Mavs to up their game on the glass. Whether that duo is Chandler Parsons and Al-Farouq Aminu, Dirk Nowitzki and Parsons, Amar'e Stoudemire and Charlie Villanueva or Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis (don't worry Tyson Chandler, we all know you've done your part), Dallas needs two players to make more happen on the glass.
And it needs to happen quickly!
And if it does, the Mavs instantly go from a good team to a great one. They may not have time to catch Golden State or Atlanta in the regular-season standings, but said improvements would definitely prop up a Dallas team has struggled in the playoffs the last three seasons (with just three total postseason wins).
Simply becoming average on the boards would propel the Mavs to greatness on the court.
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