I've been reading the Dallas Morning news everyday during training camp and it has been interesting to read the way Rick Carlisle is installing the offense. Sounds vastly different from what he did here or in Detroit. I think Rick tried to move more towards this style but he had JO and JT to contend with. JO needed the ball in the low post and Rick didn't trust Jamaal to be able to run a free wheeling style
Dallas Mavericks' offense shares few similarities
I could pretend to be a basketball savant and detail the elements of the Princeton offense that will be unveiled tonight when these new-look Mavericks open the preseason against Washington.
I could fake my understanding of the triangle offense and its place in this scheme before cleverly directing you to one of the books written by Tex Winters.
Or I could put this in more practical terms.
Rick Carlisle concluded his first training camp as the Mavericks coach Monday. The players ran and ran some more. He stressed defense. He experimented with different combinations.
And how many new half-court sets did he install?
This won't be the paint-by-the-numbers offense you have grown accustomed to watching over the last few seasons. It is more Monet than methodical. It relies on creativity over calculation.
Carlisle concedes even he is intrigued to see what form the offense takes beginning tonight.
"Well, we're not running the triangle," Carlisle said. "Maybe I'd call it a rectangle. I don't know what I'd call it.
"But we don't have many sets in. We're going to be playing mostly out of movement."
The offense under Avery Johnson was more structured. He would call the play, put his team in position to exploit a mismatch then attack. It was about discipline and imposing the Mavericks' will on the defense.
The idea under Carlisle will be for players to read the defense and react. There will be more motion in the form of backdoor cuts and pick-and-rolls. Fewer plays will be called.
"We have no half-court sets," guard Jason Terry said. "There is a base and a method to our madness, but it's all creative madness.
"It's a little bit of the Princeton offense. A little bit of run and gun. Can you call it the West Coast offense of basketball? I don't know."
Those who expect the Mavericks to adopt the breakneck pace of Phoenix, Denver or Golden State will be disappointed. You can't do that and adhere to the defensive principles Carlisle espouses.
The Mavericks hope to pick up a few more fast-break points. The point guard will push the ball, the wing players will fly down the court and the power forward and center will sprint down the middle.
But the true test of any motion offense is how efficient it is once the initial assault on the basket is stopped.
In this secondary break, the Mavericks won't pull the ball out and set up. They will probe the defense with players cutting to the basket. The defensive response dictates how they proceed.
Don't look for center Erick Dampier or DeSagana Diop on the low block at this stage of the offense. The Mavericks need the strong side open to create more room to drive to the basket. Dirk Nowitzki will be in motion on the theory that he is harder to cover on the move than he is standing still.
"The key is to be able to explore off the fast break and not have to waste time getting guys in spots," point guard Jason Kidd said. "You have spots on the floor, and anyone can fill them.
"You don't eat up the shot clock in that sense. You don't criss-cross. You don't have to wait to get one guy to run to the other side of the court for the play. You play once you get over half court."
Carlisle said the offense is a combination of what various teams have done through the years. Assistant coach Terry Stotts said some of the cuts Utah runs have found their way into this scheme.
"It's a fun way to play, a fun style to watch," Stotts said.
And it starts tonight.