The Dallas Mavericks landed a big name free agent this summer in DeAndre Jordan. As a former member of the Los Angeles Clippers and one of the more entertaining members of “Lob City”, are the Mavs The new team to fear above the rim?
To determine if this Dallas Mavericks team looks like the new “Lob City”, or kings of the alley-oop, we have to look back at the roster breakdown during the glory years for the Clippers. The entirety of the roster was not that important, but rather, we need to look at the necessary tools that Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan brought to the table.
Let’s start with the one constant between the teams, DeAndre Jordan. DJ is known as a high-rising, sure-handed, big man that can rebound, block shots and finish above the rim. Not only is he really good at all those things, he may be the best player in the league at finishing alley-oops. That hasn’t changed yet with his age.
The most important player to the original lob city was unquestionably Chris Paul. Paul is considered one of the best passers the game has seen in awhile and was also a serious threat to score from just about anywhere on the floor. His ability to slash and then find the cutter in Griffin or DJ was a big staple to the offense in LAC during that time. His incredible court vision made the team an alley-oop threat no matter what.
What Dennis Smith Jr. lacks in overall court vision (which really isn’t much), he makes up for in his ability to attack the basket. Although Chris Paul was always a great threat in the pick-and-roll, he never had the downhill speed that DSJ does. That doesn’t mean that he is better off at running the system than CP3, but it does help make up for the tools that Chris Paul had that DSJ does not yet.
On the other hand, the Mavs now have a secondary ball-handler and playmaker that can pass the ball very well. Luka Doncic lacks the athleticism that Dennis Smith brings to the table, but balances it out with his playmaking ability.
Then there is always J.J. Barea who has been running the pick-and-roll incredibly well for the Mavs for years. He doesn’t have his same level of explosiveness, but he is great at finding the cutter above the rim.
The last part of LAC’s Lob City is Blake Griffin. Griffin was a great player in a number of ways and the Mavs don’t have anyone that could rise above the rim like he could. That’s just the facts.
That said, the Mavs have a bench player that can get above the rim that the Clippers never had. Dwight Powell may not be your favorite player, but he has gotten better and better each year he has been in the league. Just last season, he became a serious threat above the rim, at least on the offensive end. Giving the second unit that kind of opportunity makes the Mavs a different kind of threat as the new Lob City.
I’m not saying the Mavs should claim the nickname “Lob City” but if the basis of the name is simply on a crazy amount of alley-oops, the Dallas Mavericks should be considered the new team to watch out for.