To suggest that the Dallas Mavericks' new backcourt combo of point guard Darren Collison and shooting guard O.J. Mayo will attack the rim with greater frequency than the old guard of Jason Kidd and Jason Terry is like saying Dirk Nowitzki is tall. It's an obvious fact.
In fact, it's almost impossible to attack the rack with less frequency than the Mavs did last season. As a team, they ranked 29th in the league in shots attempted at the rim -- only 21.3 percent of their shot attempts came from point-blank range -- and 28th in shots made at the rim, according to the advanced stats website hoopdata.com.
Kidd, 39, and Terry, who turns 35 next month, were the extreme culprits, combining for 1.7 shots per game at the rim, a ridiculously low number. Kidd averaged an unfathomably low 0.2 shots at the rim for a player who averaged more than 28 minutes a game (only Mike Bibby, Earl Boykins and Blake Ahearn averaged fewer shots at the rim). Anyone who has watched Kidd the last few years knows how reluctant he's become to take it to the paint.
For a bit of reference, Tyreke Evans led all point guards last season with 7.0 attempts at the rim per game. Tony Parker ranked eighth with 4.6 and Deron Williams ranked 12th with 3.9. Among shooting guards, Dwyane Wade ranked first with 6.7, Manu Ginobili ranked 15th with 2.6 and Terry ranked 39th with 1.7.
The Mavs' newcomers aren't exactly Russell Westbrook (6.1) and Monta Ellis (4.8), but they will deliver a rim show seldom seen in Dallas since Devin Harris, known -- and not always affectionately -- as the one-man fast break, left town in 2008.
Collison, who turned 25 a week ago, last season averaged 2.6 of his 8.7 shot attempts at the rim, ranking 27th in the league. That low number for such a quick point guard is partly a byproduct of an Indiana Pacers offense that revolved around center Roy Hibbert. In each of Collison's two seasons with the Pacers, his attempts at the rim dipped from his 3.5 attempts as a rookie with the New Orleans Hornets in 2009-10. The Mavs believe their offense will enable Collison to increase his attack frequency.
Mayo, 24, ranked 18th last season at 2.4 attempts at the rim (11.2 overall shot attempts) while playing 26.8 minutes a game as Memphis' sixth man. His minutes will likely increase, and perhaps greatly, as a starter in Dallas. He, too, played in an offense geared around big men (Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph). The Mavs' are hopeful their scheme, plus playing with Dirk Nowitzki, will give Mayo significant chances to take his man off the dribble and get to the rim.
With Delonte West and Vince Carter coming off the bench and each having averaged 2.3 shot attempts at the rim last season, the Mavs now boast a backcourt that will at least force defenders to be wary of penetration and not just the jumper.