The best Mavs social media moments of the season

Dirk Nowitzki has a well-deserved reputation as one of the funniest players in the NBA, but as it turns out he’s had some pretty stiff competition this year in his own locker room. Following the Mavs players this season on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat has been a trip.

Whether Dirk and Zaza Pachulia are going at it, Justin Anderson is retweeting pictures of lions, or JaVale McGee is posting selfies with the latest Snapchat filters, the Mavs haven’t let their off-the-floor talents go to waste. Although the playoffs are right around the corner, we still have some time to look back on the funny moments before things truly start to heat up. Let’s take a look at some of the best posts and exchanges they’ve had this season.

Let’s start with today…

The Mavs won seven of their final nine games of the season, which means Dirk is already in postseason form. And when the playoffs come around, he takes no prisoners… not even yours truly.

2016-04-14 10_39_27-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

Of course, that wasn’t his only zinger of the season, and he doesn’t just pick on lowly scribes, either. When the Dallas Cowboys jokingly submitted a #MavsNewCourt design prominently featuring the famous star logo, Nowitzki didn’t pull any punches when voicing his disapproval.

2016-04-14 10_41_39-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

And there was the time when he hit front rim on a dunk — and although it happened after a whistle and therefore didn’t count, that didn’t keep the world from chirping about it. Dirk’s response:

2016-04-14 10_44_18-Dirk Nowitzki (@swish41) _ Twitter

Or when C.J. McCollum crossed him up, spun him around, and hit a jumper. (The Mavs won in overtime, though!)

Not even Pau Gasol, a fellow European legend, can avoid a little Nowitzki shade.

Then, of course, there’s this, perhaps the best tweet by any player of the entire season.

Backyard Tennis

Chandler Parsons and Nowitzki are good buddies. Parsons says Nowitzki was one of his favorite athletes growing up, and he proudly wore No. 41 jerseys when playing ball on Florida playgrounds. Now that they’re teammates, Parsons can hang out with his idol. Sometimes that means playing tennis…

#tbt tennis with @swish41 #itwasin #hebeatmebarefoot

A video posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…while others it might mean lifting weights together…

#tbt struggling with the 30s!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…while others yet it might mean exploring Southern culture.

@swish41 is ready to hoop!!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

You’re never too old to be a cowboy.

Parsons and his buddy, Coach Carlisle

These two might have a weird, quirky relationship at times, but that doesn’t stop them from posing for pictures together in front of a Rolls Royce…

Congrats Coach Carlisle on the new deal! #5moreyears #iseeyourwalletisalreadyout

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

…or from hanging out at the most infamous Halloween party in Dallas history.

Happy Halloween!!

A photo posted by ChandlerParsons (@chandlerparsons) on

JaVale McGee, Snapchat superstar

While Nowitzki steals the show on Twitter and Parsons holds the Instagram belt, there’s no question JaVale McGee has the greatest Snapchat of any Maverick, potentially in team history. He’s been a panda rapping along to “Panda” (very meta)…

…he’s relaxed with Buzz Lightyear…

…and he’s worn tropical headgear.

Following along to the adventures of McGee and Raja “The Sphynx” is always a trip, too.

And finally there was the time that he was Charlie Villanueva and Villanueva was he.

Little Mavericks

Villanueva and J.J. Barea both welcomed daughters into the world this season.

Mi vida mi todo Paulina Barea Ortiz 03/31/16 😀😇😜👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🇵🇷

A photo posted by jose barea (@jjbarea11) on

Priceless…….Game Day vs OKC…….#dallasmavs #aliyah #mffl #mavsnation #believeincharlie #proudfather

A photo posted by Charlie Villanueva (@cvbelieve) on

Congratulations to them both!

Dirk and Zaza: An unparalleled rivalry

Dirk and Pachulia don’t back down on the floor, so you’d better believe they’re not going to be shy away from the game. These two go at each other online harder than most guys do their opponents in the postseason.

Dirk doesn’t believe Pachulia can snag a Leonel Messi jersey.

https://twitter.com/zaza27/status/700465922352553988

(Click to see the whole exchange on that one…)

There’s the Great Shoulder Debate of 2015-16.

https://twitter.com/zaza27/status/684965616189595648

And then there’s Zaza taking credit for Dirk’s rise up the all-time scoring list.

Finally, here’s our entry for tweet of the year…

What a season it’s been for the Mavs, both on the floor and off of it. There certainly is something charming about these guys being so funny away from the game, especially in how they interact with one another. The players really enjoy each other’s company, and that’s a pretty important thing given the amount of time they spend together. The group has talked up the importance of chemistry and togetherness all season long, and down the stretch of the playoff race we learned just why that’s so important.

JaVale McGee showed against the Thunder what he brings to the offense

It didn’t take JaVale McGee very long to make an impact Sunday in his first appearance with the Mavericks. He scored baskets on his first four trips down the floor and had a fifth called off on an offensive interference call. Oklahoma City couldn’t stop him, especially in his first series of minutes on the floor.

The smaller picture is that McGee had a very positive debut with the club, which is obviously a good thing. Considering head coach Rick Carlisle had earlier predicted the center wouldn’t play until at least December and sparingly gave good news regarding his injury progress, the fact that he even took the floor was a good sign. But that he performed like that? Even better.

But the larger picture is much more exciting. On each of his four scores, McGee showed what he can bring to the table offensively for the Mavericks, particularly as a roll threat. His explosiveness and athleticism has never been in question at any point in his career, and if Dallas can keep deploying him in situations which highlight his greatest attributes, McGee is set to contribute on a nightly basis.

First, let’s look at a standard pick-and-roll play with McGee as the roller. (These plays will be shown out of sequence as they happened in the game.) He easily beats Enes Kanter baseline and lays in a nifty reverse.

JaVale reverse

The Mavs spaced the floor so that McGee and Raymond Felton were all by themselves on one side of the floor. It was essentially a two-man game, and the big man won his matchup. But it’s when you play a center off of Dirk Nowitzki that you really see what type of impact a player can make.

In this sequence, Nick Collison should theoretically slide over to help against the rolling McGee, but there’s no way he’s going to leave Nowitzki open. The German has beaten his cheating defenders time and time again over the years and by now they know better. So what happens?

JaVale dunk

McGee dunks it, so someone has to help against the roller, but who’s it gonna be? (Notice how, after the play, Kanter looks at Westbrook and Waiters looks at Collison. When you have all four defenders directly involved in the play blaming each other, you know you did something right.) On another trip down, Collison does help out against McGee, leaving Nowitzki alone in the corner. Notice how the OKC big man inches closer and closer to the rim as a help defender.

JaVale roll threat

Devin Harris then makes a pass to the corner to Nowitzki, and while Collison closes out well, McGee beats a double-team and turns a Dirk pass into an assist with ease.

Post up score

McGee isn’t just quicker and more explosive than most big men. He’s also simply bigger than most of them, and he has the physical tools to win battles in the post.

Finally, even if you play the pick-and-roll well, the big man has the touch to finish from a few feet out.

JaVale float

That’s a play we saw Brandan Wright make time and time again when he was with the Mavericks, and McGee was used in a similar role in his first appearance in a Dallas uniform. Wright was shooting nearly 75 percent from the field when he was traded to Boston last season, and while that’s a pretty unfair expectation to set for McGee as he works into game shape and gets used to the flow of the offense, that’s definitely the type of player he can be.

He’s a big man who can create instant offense for himself, and his mere presence on the floor is enough to dominate what the defense is doing. Defensive units are never going to freely give up uncontested dunks and layups to centers, so eventually those perimeter players are going to be sucked into the lane. That’s when players like Nowitzki and other shooters will burn opponents from deep. There aren’t many people in the world as big and athletic as McGee, and if he can continue operating within the offense with that level of fluidity and force, this Dallas second unit is going to be awfully fun to watch — and awfully good, too.

Rick Carlisle says Wesley Matthews could play in the preseason

Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle comments on the spirited 3-on-3 game during Wednesday's shootaround, matching up against the Suns, Tyson Chandler's contributions to the franchise and more.

The Mavs’ prized offseason acquisition, shooting guard Wesley Matthews, could be back in action as soon as this preseason, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said.

“I don’t know that he’s been completely ruled out,” Carlisle said, “so it could be possible. But I don’t know that for sure.”

Matthews, who spent the summer recovering from a ruptured Achilles he suffered in March, has maintained since signing with the team that he’ll be ready by opening night. Understandably, some might not have taken “Iron Man” for his word, as players who suffered similar injuries in the past took up to a year or longer to fully recover. But advances in medicine combined with Matthews’ incredible work ethic have led us to the potential end of his road to recovery, and the beginning of his career with the Mavericks.

The news surfaced following perhaps the most promising 3-on-3 game that’s ever been played in the American Airlines Center. Among those in participation: Matthews, Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams, and JaVale McGee, potentially four of the most important contributors to the team. Each has dealt with health issues this summer. Rumors have flown regarding the severity of each’s injuries and the timetable for the players’ return. But today, one by one, each player put to rest the notion that they’re “a ways away from being a ways away,” as the saying goes.

Parsons drove the lane and threw down a monstrous dunk, then laid in an alley-oop lob on the next possession. Matthews posted up anyone and everyone, scoring five straight points to win his team one game. Williams rained in threes and ran pick-and-rolls with ease. McGee soared through the air, swatting shots and gobbling up rebounds. They didn’t look any different from Charlie Villanueva and Jarrid Famous, the two healthiest of the bunch. This wasn’t a scrimmage between a bunch of injured players. This was a game between guys who are close.

How close?

“Our hope is to get some of these guys in some live action very soon,” Rick Carlisle said. “Possibly tomorrow, but I’m not very sure. We’re behind the curve in terms of where we want to be with everything, but Mother Nature has things where they are, so we’ve got to do the right things at the right pace.”

Regarding Williams, the coach said it would be a positive thing to see the point guard get into a preseason game, but at this point his status for the remainder of the exhibition season is still unknown.

Shootaround: Javale McGee

Mavs C Javale McGee talks about when he thinks he'll be ready, how he'll be able to help the team and more.

“It would be great,” he said. “I told you guys earlier in the week that he was gonna be held out. That’s still my belief. But the fact that he’s out there doing things and feeling a lot better is a very good sign.”

McGee, meanwhile, said the Mavs haven’t given him a clear timetable on his return from a left tibial stress fracture. The 3-on-3 game was his first real action in six months, and the big man said afterward he wasn’t as tired as he thought he might be, but credited bike and pool work for keeping him in shape this offseason.

“I’m just really excited to be getting healthier and healthier, so as soon as they clear me to play I’m going 100 percent,” he said.

Today gave us an exciting glimpse at what this Mavericks team could and will become once its brightest stars are back in action. But, more importantly, it was an awfully strong hint that this Mavs team will be healthy sooner than we all might have thought.

Javale McGee could be Mavs’ diamond in the rough

The Mavericks signed center JaVale McGee yesterday, rounding out the 20-man roster and an attempt to solidify the center position. Dallas will open the season against former Maverick Tyson Chandler and the Phoenix Suns on Oct. 28 and, if things with McGee work out as well as they potentially could, there’s a chance he could be the player primarily doing battle with the former Mavs big man on the inside. That’s how good he’s been in the past and how good he could be for the Mavs in 2015-16.

The 27-year-old McGee has played just 28 games total during the past two seasons, as a host of injuries have kept him on the sidelines for the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers. But during the 2012-13 season, in which he appeared in a career-high-tying 79 games, the seven-footer posted 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game off the bench for a Nuggets team en route to 57 wins. McGee’s contributions were paramount to the team’s success that season.

What’s most important for McGee, then, is that he’s healthy and ready to go by opening night. But a combination of time away from the game and some serious work with highly regarded Mavs head athletic trainer Casey Smith could give the center just the boost he needs heading into his eighth NBA season.

With a seven-foot six-inch wingspan and a vertical leap nearing 33 inches, his athleticism has never been in question. If he’s healthy, he can certainly contribute at the NBA level, as evidenced by his career averages of 8.4 points and 5.5 boards per game. The Mavericks have had plenty of success working with big men coming off injury-plagued seasons in the past, including former centers Brandan Wright and, of course, Chandler.

Factoring McGee into the equation at the center spot, the Mavs have now rounded out the position quite nicely after the chaotic twist and turns of July’s free agency period. In Zaza Pachulia, Dallas has a tough center with a nice passing and shooting touch who can also body up and defend bigger players. Samuel Dalembert brings shot-blocking and offensive rebounding. Salah Mejri excels in the pick-and-roll. McGee, however, is a bit of a combination of each of those players, plus he brings his own unique abilities into the mix.

SHOT-BLOCKING

McGee’s nine-foot, 6.5-inch standing reach and his impressive vertical leap are both positive physical traits when it comes to blocking shots. And those have translated into swatting them in quantity. He led the NBA in block percentage during the 2010-11 season and finished second the next season. In 2012-13, his career-high 8.5 block percentage led all players with at least 60 appearances, according to Basketball-Reference.

The center has also averaged at least 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes every season since his rookie campaign. He has the tools and the anticipation to protect the rim. In Dalembert and McGee, the Mavs now have two newly signed big men who can erase easy field goal attempts, an upgrade in an area of need following last season.

To get a better idea of how pure athleticism can aid a shot-blocker, here he is doing something pretty rude to his new teammate Wes Matthews a few years ago in Portland.

You can bet that Matthews will have a few kind words to say to McGee about this.

TRANSITION

Perhaps McGee’s greatest strength is his athleticism for a player his size. A player who stands at seven feet tall and 252 pounds should not be able to move the way the new Maverick is capable of.

Not only was he effectively guarding Ricky Rubio, a point guard with both good size and speed for his position, but he was able to make the strip, corral the ball, dribble almost the entire length of the floor, and finish at the rim at full speed. We’re used to seeing shooting guards and small forwards make these plays, but not centers.

McGee’s speed will come in handy playing on a Mavericks team which is sure to want to run early and often. Dallas has depth and athleticism at multiple positions, the perfect ingredients for hoping to push the ball. Chandler Parsons in particular is excellent at leaking out in transition to begin a break, and if he can have a lob target like McGee to look for going 100 miles an hour toward the bucket, it’s going to be difficult for teams to slow the Mavs down in the open floor.

PICK-AND-ROLL

The same athleticism that will help McGee on defense and in the open floor will also come as a big boost to the Dallas offensive attack. The Mavs derived a higher volume of offense from the pick-and-roll last season than any other team in the NBA, per Synergy Sports, and much of that system depends on the center’s ability to act as a threat in the roll.

McGee is a fast-moving big man with great hands and good verticality, which makes him a good candidate to stretch defenses in ways which can positively impact floor spacing in favor of the Mavs, leading to better shots for others and potentially himself. You simply can’t leave him open going toward the rim, because if you don’t he’ll make you pay. During the 2012-13 season playing with Ty Lawson and company in Denver, McGee finished in the 96th percentile league-wide in points per possession as the pick-and-roll roll man.

That’s a laser pass from Danilo Gallinari, and McGee reeled it in like it was nothing.

One of the more intriguing elements of the play above is that Gallinari played small forward and even some power forward for those Nuggets. Parsons has done the same with Dallas, so a pick-and-roll with those two is capable of bending defenses in extremely uncomfortable ways. It led to so many easy points for the Mavericks last season, and it could very well do the same again this year.

Should McGee return to his pre-injury form, which is certainly a likely possibility given his youth, superior athleticism, and the strength of the Mavs’ athletic training team, he can be a very effective player for the Mavericks. He provides size, speed, and ability in a way no other player on the roster currently can match, which has to have Rick Carlisle and the coaching staff excited heading into camp.

Mavericks sign center Javale Mcgee

DALLAS — The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free-agent center JaVale McGee. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

McGee (7-0, 270) is a seven-year veteran with career averages of 8.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 19.9 minutes per game in 382 games (158 starts) with Washington, Denver and Philadelphia. He has shot 54 percent from the field for his career.

McGee appeared in 23 games for Denver and Philadelphia in 2014-15, averaging 4.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 11.1 minutes per contest.

A native of Flint, Mich., McGee spent two seasons at the University of Nevada. As a sophomore, he averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. McGee declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season and was the 18th overall selection by the Washington Wizards in 2008.

McGee’s father, George Montgomery, was a second-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985 and his mother, Pamela McGee, played in the WNBA for the Los Angeles Sparks and Sacramento Monarchs.