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Four Mavericks make Sports Illustrated’s Top 100

The Mavericks have four of the top 100 players in the NBA according to Sports Illustrated.

In the site’s annual pre-season player rankings of the top 100 in the league, four Mavs made the cut. And they didn’t just slip in, either. Here are the rankings, which are based on all types of factors, including standard per-game stats, advanced metrics, and past achievements.

Here’s part of what SI had to say about new Mav Chandler Parsons.

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Raymond Felton may have a season to remember

As excited as everyone seems to be about this summer’s trade for Tyson Chandler, the center isn’t the only player Dallas received in the trade. Don’t forget about Raymond Felton, because if the point guard has the season he’s hoping for, this could be a season to remember.

Felton admitted earlier this summer that last season wasn’t his best as a pro. He and his team, the New York Knicks, both struggled during the 2013-14 campaign — injuries and off-court issues limited the team after a solid, 54-win 2012-13 season. The change of scenery should definitely benefit Felton, as well as his buddy Chandler. While it’s impossible to account for the unpredictability of injuries, Dallas is a very stable franchise with a head coach known for bringing the best out of his players. If Felton is looking to bounce back, Rick Carlisle is the guy to turn to in order to do just that. And, better yet, his offensive system is designed for players like Felton.

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Tyson Chandler will benefit from Mavs’ flow offense

With all the good things we’ve been saying about the impact Tyson Chandler can make at the rim on both ends of the floor, the big man’s jump shot has almost gone not talked about.

Chandler attempted 32 field goals from 15-19 feet last season, per NBA.com. That’s his highest mark since the 39 he took during the 2010-11 season, which he spent with the Mavs. One of the team’s trademark plays that season — typically one of the first sets Dallas would run any given night — resulted in an open elbow jumper for the center.

Rick Carlisle has always tended to only run sets that work, and that play for Chandler worked almost every time. He hit 18 of his 39 mid-range attempts during his lone season in Dallas, good for 46.2 percent. He also hit four of his seven attempts from between 10-14 feet. Those are the types of percentages Carlisle will hope Chandler can replicate this upcoming season should that same play reappear within the Mavs’ offense.

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How the Mavs are making a living in the paint

Drive-and-kick. Drive-and-kick. Drive-and-kick.

That’s what the NBA is all about nowadays. A combination of the hand-check rule change 10 years ago and teams’ increased interest in analytics has completely shifted the way basketball is played. No longer is it about isolations, mid-range jumpers, and gritty, beat-down defense. The NBA is now a pick-and-roll league. It’s about driving to the rim, and it’s about sharing the ball once you get there.

As it turns out, no team in the NBA set more ball-screens last season than the Mavs. The biggest beneficiary of them all, then? Monta Ellis. The Mavs two-guard drove toward the rim 38 more times than any other player in basketball in 2013-14 and scored 85 more points on drives than the closest player, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The Dirk/Monta pick-and-pop was one of the most unstoppable plays in the league last season and was the driving force (no pun intended) behind the Mavs’ 111.2 team offensive rating, good for third-best in the NBA.

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The Mavs and the Corner Three

Dallas brought back the corner three-pointer last season — and although it might not exactly have been in a big way, it might have been a preview of what’s to come this year.

The Mavs improved from 24th (36.3%) to 4th (41.2%) in the NBA in three-point percentage from both corners combined last season. That’s a remarkable leap to achieve in a single season. Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon had a lot to do with the club’s resurgence, as the newcomers were the two best marksmen on the team from those areas on the floor. Aside from them, however, only one other steady rotation player shot above the team average from the corners: Jae Crowder.

What made the Mavs’ efficiency from the corners so interesting last season wasn’t that the team got so much better from that area, necessarily, but that the Dallas offense largely seemed to work more toward not shooting from the corner. Most offenses in the NBA now embrace the corner three, and many analytics-oriented fans would agree with that move: Aside from a layup, the corner three-pointer is considered the single spot on the floor most efficient to shoot from.

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Comprehending Brandan Wright’s statistical compendium

Barring injury, Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki will soon be seventh on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The German has done it perhaps more efficiently than any other player in the top-10 and undoubtedly is one of the best players in the league’s history.

But for all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Nowitzki’s steady climb up the all-time leaderboard, one of his teammates is also making waves around the league and is even more efficient. It’s not Monta Ellis or Chandler Parsons or even Tyson Chandler. It’s Brandan Wright.

Just how efficient is the Mavs’ backup center? After three seasons in Dallas, Wright is the franchise’s all-time leader in four major offensive categories and is second in two more significant areas. Just look at the numbers below. Not only is Wright in first place on these lists. He’s in first by a mile.

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Dirk Nowitzki primed to pass multiple people on all-time scoring list

This will be another historic season for Dirk Nowitzki.

Barring severe injury, the Big German is set to move up to at least seventh place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Think about that.

After passing Jerry West, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Alex English, John Havlicek, Dominique Wilkins, and finally Oscar Robertson last season, next in Nowitzki’s sights is two-time NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon. The center, currently ninth on the list, sits 160 points ahead of Nowitzki. Just ahead of him are fellow big men Elvin Hayes and Moses Malone, both of whom Dirk will almost certainly overtake this season.

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Dallas Mavericks 2014-15 Schedule Breakdown

The Mavs’ schedule has officially been released, and with it now come hope, promise, and expectations.

Dallas will open the 2014-15 season at San Antonio on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. CST. The Spurs will be receiving their championship rings that night, and in some ways it’s fitting that the ceremony will happen before a game against the Mavericks, the team that gave the Spurs their toughest challenge on the road to the title. If Dirk Nowitzki and Co.’s hunger for another Dallas championship wasn’t already great enough, it will only grow stronger seeing the Spurs celebrate their title.

The Mavs will then play the Utah Jazz at the AAC two days later, the team’s home opener, Oct. 30 at 7:30 CST.

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