I received an email from a Mavs fan who wanted to know a little more about the new offense that they will be running now that Rick Carlisle is the new head coach and a full season with Jason Kidd running the point. So I went ahead and got a copy of one of their preseason games, this one against the Bulls earlier in the week and took a look.

The new look Mavs will definitely look a lot different than the old Mavs under Avery Johnson. I think for the better. One of the things with the Jason Kidd trade was that it was mid-season and so the old Mavs offense really didn't fit Kidd's strengths. If you run a lot of isos in either the low or high post, you're really not using Kidd's strengths which is passing to cutters. What the Mavs are running now is a lot of sets out of the 2-3 high set. So they bring the entire frontcourt to the high-post and elbows and run a lot of stuff underneath. IMO, this is ideal for a player like Kidd, because Kidd is the kind of point guard that can find guys cutting to the basket and you bring the defense out of the painted area. Take a look,

2-3 high:

Personally, I love the 2-3 high. If I was a head coach today, I would definitely have my motion or set offenses out of it or the 1-4 high set. When you bring your forwards out of the low post area, it allows for a lot more basket cuts, and by spreading your players, you can exploit the gaps,

Backdoor Basket Cuts:

They run some very basic sets. The first is the backdoor basket cut. Actually, it starts out with a pass to the wing, a UCLA screen by Diop, and Jason Kidd cuts to the basket. The weakside guard shuffles to the wing-corner. Josh Howard passes to the Diop who pops out to receive the pass. Howard goes down to set a downscreen for Kidd who curls around,

Kidd comes to receive the handoff from Diop. Howard pops back out to the wing. The weakside wing now cuts backdoor to the basket. Because the defense is caught watching the ball, Kidd threads a bounce pass to the cutting wing,

Inside-Outside 3-point Shot:

Once you get the ball inside, because the Mavs are nicely spread around the perimeter, it allows for great inside-outside opportunities. After Kidd makes his first cut off the UCLA screen by O5, instead of ball side action, O5 and pass to Kidd in the post. This sucks in the defense because he's the one with the ball and the only one in the scoring area. He kicks it out for the 3-pointer,


Now the obvious question becomes what happens to Dirk Nowitzki in this new scheme. Well, Nowitzki is a great shooter, he likes playing on the perimeter. The Mavs did run a couple of post isos where he would shoot a turnaround or baby hook it, but Dirk shot a lot of jumpers (and made a lot). I think Dirk will probably score a little lower than his average this year, but overall their scoring will be up. The Mavs have a lot of athletic guards (as witnessed by Green in the clip I included) and so the basket cuts will be very effective in getting those guys easy baskets.

For more info on a 2-3 high motion offense, take a look at Ben Braun's 2 Guard High Post Offense. Coach Braun is the new head coach for Rice University and longtime coach for the Cal Bears. Don't forget to check out the X's and O's Basketball Forum to talk hoops with other coaches.