Dallas Mavericks: Rick Carlisle holds keys to playoffs

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Mavericks hold their own destiny when it comes to the NBA playoffs. Currently the team sits at the seventh spot, but that’s attributed to a terrible stretch in which over half the starting roster missed nearly a month. Give it some time and Dallas could easily be anywhere from the 5th to 9th seed before we know it.

The Dallas Mavericks are just 3.5 games from the 5th seed in the Western Conference and 3.5 games ahead of the 9th spot. Things could go either direction but which direction will likely come down to one man: Coach Rick Carlisle.

Rick Carisle is the key to the Dallas Mavericks future success

If Dallas wants to be a top four team in the West, it will be up to coach himself to make it happen. Since coming to Dallas in 2008, Carlisle has let his track record speak for himself. The New York native has led the Mavs to the playoffs eight out of twelves times.

Of their eight total appearances, Carlisle and company have made it past the first round twice. Besides the 2011 run, his only true playoff success came in 2008, where he made to the semi-finals against the Denver Nuggets.

What was different from the 2011 season? Maybe it was that the team was just hungry that year. Or maybe it was that they were equipped with sappy veterans who had been there before. Honestly it was probably the ability to play small ball at an efficient level.

Back then, not many NBA teams had effectively utilize the strategy. Carlisle however, was able to use guards like Jason Terry who was 6’2 and J.J. Barea who was 5,10 at the shooting guard spot. Imagine a small player like Barea being forced to guard the likes of players such as Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade? I mean it seemed crazy but it quite literally worked.

This was something hardly done and because of its efficiency, the Mavs were able to move the ball faster and get more open looks. Basically, it forced opposing opponents to move quicker and limit the teams number of assists. Besides that, the Mavericks were also to hit threes at a high rate.

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Fast forward to today’s NBA and  teams all over are utilizing their own playbook.  Teams are now moving their best player to the point guard position and supplying them with role-mates who can hit long-range shots. The problem is Dallas has not been hitting well from the arc. As it stands, the Mavs rank 18 in the league in terms of converted threes. To add onto the problem, Dallas is attempting the 5th most threes in the league.

So you are saying that a team who can’t make three pointers is still shooting them as a high rate? This is where Coach Carlisle comes in.

It will be up to the man himself to utilize his own playoff and stop trying to adapt to today’s league. Maybe the Mavericks aren’t a three-point team. This is where the ability to drive to the basket or hit mid-range shots comes in.

By all means no one is calling for Carlisle’s job, but rather for a sense of identity and improvement. The team needs to find out what component of ball is their specialty and run with it. Once this happens, everything else will fall into place.

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So Coach Carlisle what is your game plan this postseason? Because if three point shooting is on the agenda, then the Mavs have some serious work to do.

  • Published on 04/02/2021 at 12:48 PM
  • Last updated at 04/02/2021 at 12:48 PM