Dallas: Not Using Its Best Backcourt

Tim McMahon of the Dallas Morning News Mavericks blog writes:

The Mavs are trying not to use their small backcourt (Devin Harris and Jason Terry) too much this season. So I was a bit surprised to see that Harris and Jet are most effective when they're on the floor together.

Stats geek site 82games.com has the proof in their pairs plus-minus stats. The pair of Harris and Jet is plus-14 per 48 minutes. Harris is Jet's best plus-minus partner; Jet is tied with Dirk for Harris' best.

"It doesn't surprise me," Avery said when I ran the stats by him. "That is a pretty lethal combination. I think what happens though is, if that combination is on the floor for long minutes every game, then that combination or that plus-minus starts to change around mid-March."

Is that because Avery thinks the guards will get worn down?

"I don't think they'll get worn down," Avery said. "I have some pretty reliable information -- some past history."

Very interesting for a few reasons:

  • A clear example of the schedule keeping a team from playing its best on any given night.

  • Plus/minus is apparently informing Avery Johnson's substitution patterns (click and read the whole thing).

  • More evidence that the Mavericks are not sweating the regular season too much, planning insread to peak in the playoffs. This may be one of the only specific examples, I'm sure there could be many others that no one has found out about yet.