In the last week the Mavs have inked guard John Jenkins, forward Maurice Ndour and center Jarrid Famous. What do these players bring to the table? Let’s break down each signing and see how they help the team.
Jenkins, 24, had played for the Atlanta Hawks for three seasons. The 2-guard holds career averages of 5.6 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting from the field and 37.5 percent on three-pointers. In 2014-15, Jenkins shot a career-high 49.5 percent overall and 40.4 percent from deep. At 6′ 4″ and 215 pounds with a 6′ 8.5″ wingspan, Jenkins has good size for a shooting guard and the type of sweet stroke that teams crave.
The guard missed a chunk of the 2013-14 season after suffering a leg injury, but bounced back nicely last season. During his rookie season in 2012-13, he displayed the ability to shoot the ball both as a stand-still, spot-up guy but also coming off screens. According to Synergy Sports, Jenkins hit 50.8 percent of his field goal attempts coming off screens that season, and the 1.028 points per possession he averaged in those scenarios ranked 12th in the league among players with at least 70 possessions played. Similarly, he shot 52.4 percent coming off screens last season in 12.4 minutes per game.
That’s a quality NBA skill to possess. The Mavs haven’t had many players in recent seasons who excel at hitting shots coming off of curls or flares, but Jenkins and fellow new shooting guard Wes Matthews both stand out in that area. This gives Dallas the freedom to run some creative actions off the ball, bending defenses in ways they might not be used to when playing against the Mavericks. For example, a trademark of the rival Spurs’ offense is combining pick-and-rolls with off-ball action, forcing opponents to worry about multiple actions at the same time and requiring perfect defensive execution to stop it.
Jenkins is yet another talented shooter off the bench for Dallas, along with Devin Harris and rookie Justin Anderson. Throw in Matthews, Deron Williams, Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki, and all of a sudden the Mavericks look like one of the best, deepest three-point shooting teams in the NBA. You can never have enough shooting in this league.
Maurice Ndour Summer Leauge Highlight
Maurice Ndour led the Knicks with 23 points in an overtime thriller against the Philadelphia 76ers in Las Vegas! The Knicks defeated the Sixers 84-81.
The 23-year-old rookie Ndour, meanwhile, received plenty of interest after an impressive showing in the Las Vegas Summer League, but he’s agreed to join the Mavericks.
The 6′ 9″ forward averaged 9.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in five games with the New York Knicks in Vegas, including a 23-point performance against Philadelphia. He added two blocks and a steal per game, for good measure.
Ndour has a lengthy 7′ 4″ wingspan, and his sturdy frame gives him the ability to play power forward and potentially even center. In the video above, he showed the ability to hit mid-range jump shots and also attack the offensive glass, two necessary skills for big men. He also connected on 43.5 percent of his three-point attempts, giving Dallas yet another player capable of hitting from deep. In addition, his 9′ 1″ standing reach gives him a huge advantage when protecting the rim, making those 2.0 blocks per game no fluke. He swatted 2.3 shots per game last season, his sophomore campaign, at Ohio University, adding 16.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. He ranked top-10 in the MAC in practically every statistical category.
The NBA began experimenting with tracking “hustle” stats in Vegas, and that’s where Ndour really jumped off the page. He averaged 3.6 deflections per game, which tied for third-most among all players who appeared in the Summer League. A deflection is exactly that: getting a hand on the ball as a defensive player. So many things that you can’t really quantify go into a deflection, including instincts, anticipation, defensive rotations, and so on. But Ndour’s wingspan certainly helps out, and that’s something will certainly entice the Mavs.
Rick Carlisle’s staff has tracked in-game deflections for years now, one of many stats and trends the coaches keep their eyes on as the year progresses. It’s the Mavs’ goal to be one of the best teams in that regard in the league, and the Kaleb Canales-led Summer League Mavs were just that, leading all teams with 19.3 deflections forced per game.
Ndour originally hails from Senegal, but moved to Japan for high school before coming stateside for college ball, first at JUCO Monroe College and then finally with the Bobcats. According to the Ohio Athletic Department, he’s fluent in five languages: English, French, Japanese, Wolof, and Serer. Ndour also holds an associate’s degree in information technology.
While Dirk Nowitzki is a global icon, there’s only one Maverick who was putting up unheard-of numbers on the opposite side of the world just a few weeks ago.
That would be center Jarrid Famous, who was lighting up the Philippine Basketball Association to the tune of 31.3 points and 24.4 rebounds per game just last month. In his last game for GlobalPort Batang Pier, played on June 28, he put up 38 points and 21 boards before flying across the planet to meet up with the Washington Wizards for a Summer League camp. Then, it was off to Las Vegas, where he averaged 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting from the field.
His Vegas showing included a 16-point, nine-rebound outing in a win against the Mavs, of all teams, and a 10-point, 10-board performance in a loss to Phoenix. And now he has an NBA contract.
Some month, huh?
Before playing in the Philippines, the 27-year-old big man was in Frisco, where he played with the Texas Legends last season. There, he scored 18.1 points and grabbed 14.4 boards per game. According to a projection on the D-League’s stats page, that would have translated to 10.6 points and 13.0 rebounds per 36 minutes for the Mavericks last season. Obviously that’s just a forecast, but clearly Famous has talent and is capable of producing at a high level.
Dallas acquired via trade center Zaza Pachulia from Milwaukee earlier this month in response to the departures in free agency of Tyson Chandler to Phoenix and Amar’e Stoudemire to Miami. The need for a big man remained, however, as you can never have enough talent at the center position. And it makes sense for Dallas to add a player as productive as Famous to the roster, despite his relative lack of experience at the NBA level. He’s played with Indiana and Memphis during two preseason stints.
However, just because a player in his mid-20s hasn’t appeared in an NBA regular season doesn’t mean he won’t be capable of reaching that level. Former pro Jamario Moon didn’t debut until he was 27, and his former teammate Anthony Parker didn’t play more than 200 minutes in an NBA season until he was 31.
The nature of Famous’ contract does not guarantee that he’ll spend the entire season with the Mavs. Dallas inked forward Eric Griffin to a similar contract last summer before optioning him to the Legends for the entire season. Famous could still very well earn a roster spot in training camp, but his contract with the Mavericks ensures that the farthest he’ll be from the team this season is 20 miles up the tollway.
Famous played two years in college at South Florida, including one with former Maverick Dominique Jones, where he averaged 9.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. He finished in the top-five in the Big East in offensive rebound percentage both seasons, as well as in the top-10 in total rebound percentage. His 14.98 TRB% is 25th in the conference since 2009-10, meaning he can rebound in high volume, something Dallas is searching for in its big men.
His activity on the glass with the Legends and in the Philippines also put to rest any doubt. He led the D-League last season in rebounds per game and offensive, defensive, and total rebound percentage.