The best Mavs blocks of 2015-16

When you think of the Mavs’ defense, blocks might not be the first thing to come to mind. Only Detroit blocked fewer shots than Dallas this season, as the Mavericks instead turned their attention to overloading the paint in an effort to limit opponents’ shots at the rim, encouraging 3-balls instead. The Mavs allowed only 35.0 field goal attempts per game from less than 10 feet this season, per, which ties for second-fewest in the NBA. So there weren’t very many opportunities to block shots, anyway.

But the blocks they did have were pretty vicious. Whether it was Justin Anderson, Salah Mejri, or someone else, the Dallas blocks highlight reel is just nasty. We’ve already seen the best Mavs dunks of the season, but today is all about swats. Check out the video below and let us know if we missed any of your favorite blocks.

Top 10 Mavs Blocks of 2015-16

Check out the Mavs' biggest blocks of the 2015-16 season.

10. Anderson introduces himself

This was one of the first of many significant highlight plays Justin Anderson would make in his rookie season. Late in a Feb. 3 game against Miami, Heat rookie Justise Winslow came away with the ball and went up for a reverse layup. Anderson was having none of that. Consider it justice served after the two players had a bit of an altercation last season in a Virginia-Duke showdown almost exactly one year earlier, when Winslow received a flagrant foul for grabbing Anderson’s leg and very nearly unleashing the beast. The best part of Anderson’s block (and ensuing roar) against the Heat was he compounded that good play into two of them, draining a corner three at the other end and sending the AAC crowd into a frenzy. That was when the rookie won this city over.

9. The rookie does it again

In a play very similar to his rejection of Winslow, Anderson did virtually the same thing to center Gorgui Dieng two months later, on April 3 in Minnesota. Dieng has a significant height and wingspan advantage over the 6-foot-6 Anderson, but the Mavs rookie has more hangtime than a 60-yard punt. If he has time to gather himself and jump as high as he can, he’ll be waiting for you at the rim, and in this instance he swatted it with authority.

8. Felton blocks the KAT

Poor Karl-Anthony Towns. The unanimous Rookie of the Year and star-in-the-making also found himself on the wrong end of the season’s dunk highlights list, but that obviously isn’t any indictment of him as a player. In this case, though, Raymond Felton got the better of him, as the 6-foot-1 combo guard swiped the ball right out of the center’s hands as he went up for what looked like an easy dunk. But not much comes easy when Felton is protecting the rim: He blocked 15 shots this season, the most of any of the Mavs’ four small guards.

7. Mejri chases down Roberson

Salah Mejri proved time and time again this season that he doesn’t give up on a play, no matter how far away from the ball he is. In this case, after a Mavs turnover, the 7-foot-2 center sprinted to the other end of the floor to chase down OKC’s Andre Roberson and erase his dunk attempt from this universe. He then held court for a quick second with his home fans before running to the offensive end. Mejri might lead the team in swag exhibited per 100 possessions, and that’s OK. Dallas could use more players like him.

6. Mejri adds a name to the list

We all know about Mejri’s infamous list, and he added another name to it with this impressive chase-down block of Houston’s superstar James Harden. Mejri begins the play off-screen; you can’t see him because he sprinted literally the entire length of the floor on this play to reject Harden. This Jan. 24 play came at an important time for Mejri, who hadn’t even truly cracked the Mavs’ rotation at this point. He’d scored his first career points less than two weeks earlier, but it wouldn’t take another two weeks for him to prove to everyone why he deserved more minutes.

5. Dirk doin’ work

Dirk Nowitzki has scored more than 29,000 points and has made a billion All-Star and All-NBA teams. You know that. But what you probably didn’t know is the German led his team in total blocks this season for the first time since 2009-10, and for the fifth time in his career. This one, bar none, was his best. It came in the second half of the Mavs’ playoff-clinching win in Utah on April 11. After sending Jeff Withey’s layup attempt into the next dimension, Nowitzki capped off the highlight by staring down his own bench as all of his teammates leaped to their feet in a combination of excitement and perhaps even a bit of disbelief. What a play.

4. Evans sends Davis’s shot soaring

Jeremy Evans’s season was unfortunately cut short due to injury, but early in the campaign he made an incredible block on the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis. Credit to Wesley Matthews as well on this play for racing to the other end of the floor and slowing Davis’s progress. But, I mean, what else can you say about Evans’s block? It was masterful, a combination of completely rude and absolutely wonderful. The forward’s vertical leap has been measured at 43.5 inches in the past. He makes plays like this one look routine.

3. Anderson chases down Ariza

With the Mavericks clinging to a one-point lead with 1:35 left in the fourth quarter against the Rockets, Harden advanced the ball downcourt to Trevor Ariza, streaking for a layup. A loss would have put the Mavs in a difficult position as they battled for a playoff spot, while a win would have put Houston in great shape. Everyone knew what was at stake. That included Justin Anderson. The wing flew through the air to slap Ariza’s layup off the backboard and launch a Mavs break the other way, and Dallas would go on to win the game. That was perhaps the rookie’s biggest play of the season, and it’s one of many he’ll make as a Maverick.

2. Mejri blows the roof off the AAC

If his chase-down block of Harden was enough to earn Salah Mejri minutes moving forward, his performance against OKC on Jan. 22 earned him the right to chase down Harden. The Mavs were down 15 points in the fourth quarter when Rick Carlisle inserted Mejri into the game and, in just eight minutes, the Mavs found themselves in position to shoot for the tie at the buzzer. Mejri had a lot to do with that, rejecting both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the latter of which was one of the best blocks by any Maverick this season. The Tunisian met the superstar at the rim and won.

1. Anderson breaks the game

This is just an incredible athletic play, and it’s the best block of the season.


2016-02-15 11_19_08-Jeremy Evans sketches his way to victory in NBA Talent Challenge - Official Webs

德怀特·鲍威尔在新秀赛表现出彩的同时,小牛前锋杰罗米·埃文斯也献出了自己精彩的表演:他赢得了首次“NBA才艺大赛” 的冠军,这是一场旨在让球员展现赛场外天赋的比赛。





终于,这次埃文斯赢了他应得的全明星周末的胜利。此次,他的竞争者包括勇士的哈里森·巴恩斯,巴恩斯用萨克斯管演奏了约翰·传奇唱的《All of Me》,还有来自新奥尔良的科尔弹钢琴表演了爵士音乐。



Jeremy Evans sketches his way to victory in NBA Talent Challenge

2016-02-15 11_19_08-Jeremy Evans sketches his way to victory in NBA Talent Challenge - Official Webs

While Dwight Powell stood out in the Rising Stars Challenge, Mavs forward Jeremy Evans stole a show of his own: He won the first-ever “NBA Talent Challenge,” an event which highlighted several players’ non-basketball talents.

Evans has an art degree from Western Kentucky — his strengths include painting and sketching — so there’s no question he has real ability. Check out the video to see some of his personal favorite works as well as the sketch he drew for the competition.

NBA Talent Challenge: Jeremy Evans

Dallas' Jeremy Evans shows his drawing and artistic talent.

Those who follow Charles Barkley and the TNT crew know how difficult they can be to please, but clearly the judges thought highly enough of Evans’ work to award him the win. Justice has been served, if you ask me. In the 2013 dunk competition, Evans dunked over a self-portrait of Evans dunking. Not only was it extremely meta, but it’s also awesome, yet somehow it wasn’t enough for Evans to defend his title (he’d won the contest the year before) as the title went to Terrence Ross.

We’ve come full-circle now, however, and Evans has won a well-deserved All-Star Weekend victory. This time around, some of his competitors included Golden State’s Harrison Barnes, who played John Legend’s “All of Me” on the saxophone, and New Orleans’ Norris Cole, who played some blues on the piano.

The Mavs’ talented forward hasn’t kept his artistic ability a secret in the past. Earlier this season Evans gave his Twitter followers a glimpse of his ability, when he created a self-portrait on his iPad case — composed entirely of dots.

Both Evans and Powell made strong impressions this weekend. The best part about both players’ experiences — Evans with the pencil and Powell in his hometown and his ensuing stream of entertaining tweets — is that they both gave us a glimpse into their personalities off the floor. It’s obviously a ton of fun to watch these guys do great things on the basketball court, but there’s no better way for fans to develop deeper connections with players than by seeing what they’re like away from the game. Both clearly enjoyed themselves, and both represented themselves well. As fans, that’s all we can ask for.

For Anderson, Evans, D-League stint is as much mental exercise as it is physical

Justin Anderson throws down a vicious dunk

Justin Anderson rises for the jam for the Texas Legends.

Many might believe a D-League assignment is more about working out the legs and less about working out the mind. But the Mavs, for one, don’t think that to be true.

Justin Anderson, Jeremy Evans, and Salah Mejri appeared for the Texas Legends, the Mavs’ D-League affiliate, on assignment Saturday night and all performed very well, leading the team to an easy 124-111 win. Evans was superb in the first half, while Anderson turned things up in the second half and even played the closer role down the stretch. The rookie scored 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including hitting half of his 10 three-point attempts. There was little doubt when watching all three that they belong in the NBA.

After Anderson fought through a 6-of-18 shooting performance the night before — he and Mejri played with the Legends played both Friday and Saturday — the rookie got with Mavs assistant Mike Procopio and watched film Saturday morning. Always self-critical, Anderson wouldn’t accept another off night.

“I think the first night coming down was tough for me,” he said. “(Friday), I didn’t think I played particularly well. Outside of obviously not shooting well, just defensively I think I wasn’t there. I wasn’t tight enough. But tonight I think I did a good job. Really critiquing myself last night, it was almost hard for me to sleep because I’m a competitor. It doesn’t matter what level I’m playing at, if I don’t play good, it’s tough for me to sleep.”

He obviously rebounded well, scoring 24 on Saturday night. He’s now averaging 25.2 points per game on 47.0 percent shooting in four appearances for the Legends. Still, he graded his weekend performance a “C.” No matter what the box score tells you, Anderson said the true measure of success on these assignments is how you fare in the mental battle.

“Coming down, you first, ‘OK, I need to go down here to score,'” he said. “My first couple of games — I’ve played four games now — you get so anxious when you get told that you’re coming down to play, so you start thinking so much offense, and sometimes you can maybe take out-of-control shots or make out-of-control plays.”

Justin Anderson scores 24 points on a D-League assignment

Justin Anderson hit five 3s and scored 24 points for the Texas Legends.

Mejri scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots, dominating the paint. Evans, meanwhile, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a physically dominant performance. In the first half he was flying all over the floor, leaping for dunks and rebounds and even tipping in some of his own misses. He admitted after the game, however, that he got a bit tired in the second half.

The real reason Evans has been on two D-League assignments is to work on his outside shot. Primarily an interior player throughout his NBA career, the Mavericks are working to expand Evans’ range all the way to the three-point line, hoping to use him as a small forward or stretch-4 similar to Dallas deployed Al-Farouq Aminu last season. To his credit, Evans shot 3 of 6 from deep in the game, but like Anderson, the first-year Mav was very critical of his performance nonetheless.

“I look at everything,” he said. “I’m pretty hard on myself, which all NBA players are. Offensively, I’m still hesitating to shoot the ball. That’s why I’m here.”

Come to think of it, it’s no wonder Evans got a little winded in the second half: He took more 3s in one game (6) than he has all season in the NBA.

“I never really took 6 (threes) before this year,” he said, and added after a pause: “Probably only taken 2.”

Jeremy Evans puts up 25 and 11

Jeremy Evans put his perimeter game to the test for the Texas Legends this weekend.

Rick Carlisle joined Procopio and fellow Mavs assistant Mike Shedd in the arena Saturday night to watch all three play. Evans was originally the one who approached his head coach to ask for the opportunity to get some extra run in the D-League to work on his perimeter game, a request that earned the veteran big man some high praise from Carlisle, who wasn’t nearly as critical of Evans’ performance as the player himself was.

“It’s really helping his adaptation to the perimeter, as a perimeter player at the small forward position,” Carlisle said. “He’s shooting the ball extremely well, he’s getting accustomed to guarding the perimeter, and he made a lot of simple dribble plays to his teammates.

“I hope other NBA players see his example and understand that the Developmental League is a great tool to improve your game and improve your value in this league.”

Anderson sees the opportunity in a similar light as Evans, Carlisle, and past Mavericks as well. Chief among them is Jae Crowder, who played a few games with the Legends during the 2013-14 season, posting back-to-back triple-doubles in the D-League during a time when NBA minutes were hard to come by. Crowder admitted at the time that he was struggling to stay confident in his game as he couldn’t get consistent playing time on the floor, but said his D-League success gave him the boost he needed. He became a vital role player on that Mavs team and eventually landed a long-term contract with the Boston Celtics.

After hearing that story, Anderson agreed.

“It does help boost your confidence,” he said. “However, it only boosts your confidence when you’re playing the game the right way. If you come down and you’re jackin’, and you’re not there fully and you’re careless — I think I was like that the first game. I put everything into telling myself that I wouldn’t be like that tonight.”

Devin Harris and Jeremy Evans take part in Jr. NBA clinic

Dallas Mavericks Jr NBA

Throughout the preseason we’ve seen the youngest Mavericks get plenty of run on the floor at the American Airlines Center — guys like Jeremy Evans, Justin Anderson, and John Jenkins. On Tuesday, however, 42 players took the court and all but one was younger than the springy 6-foot-9 Evans.

That’s because he and Devin Harris teamed up with 40 middle school students from Dallas’ Uplift Peak Preparatory for a Jr. NBA clinic as part of the inaugural Jr. NBA Week, an effort by the program to expand its reach nationwide. The organization teaches the fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in an effort to help grow and improve the youth basketball experience for players, coaches, and parents. The program is for boy and girls ages 6-14, and the goal is to reach 5 million kids with clinics, skills challenges, and regional tournaments.

The clinic kicked off on the main court at the AAC with Director of Camps & Community Basketball Greg Nared and Camps and Community Basketball Manager Ben Hunt introducing the players and then running the kids through some stretching, ball-handling drills — some of which got pretty elaborate, including laying flat on the ground and trying to keep it bouncing — and shooting exercises.

All the while, Harris and Evans joined in. Harris, in particular, said that his experience working with NBA players when he was younger has made him want to pay it forward to students today.

“I’ve been to a bunch of camps and met a couple NBA players earlier in my career, and it did wonders for my confidence and excitement,” he said. “So I just couldn’t imagine what it’s like for little kids, so I try to give them that. I try to give them something they can hold onto and something they can remember.”

Evans added: “I just always think back when I was a kid, how I would want an NBA player to act with me if I was to come to one of these events. Just being like a big brother and make you feel like you’re somebody out there.”

Once each kid had a chance to get some jumpers up, it was time for knockout, a staple at every basketball camp. Harris and Evans made it a point to stand near each other in line, and once it got down to the final four players, Harris turned up the heat on his Mavs teammate. Evans missed his first shot from the three-point line and quickly chased the ball down, but Harris launched his shot quickly. As Evans went to dunk his put-back attempt, Harris’ ball swished. It was a photo finish and easily the biggest source of controversy on the day. Evans wisely deferred to his senior, though, and declared himself out.

“He’s dunking the ball,” Harris said, recollecting the play. “I feel like my ball hit the net first so technically I feel like I get the edge on that.”

“I let the vet big guy make the final decision,” Evans admitted, “so I feel like he made the shot first.

“First one together, so I let him slide on this one.”

Nared said after the event that having players in attendance who truly want to be there adds a little extra for the kids.

“Those guys are so good at teaching the fundamentals of the game, which is a huge part of what Jr. NBA is,” he said. “They interact with the kids, they’re high-fiving the kids. It’s a special thing for any kid to come to, and for the kids here to be able to go through that whole process with the players is pretty cool.”

This wasn’t the only contribution the Mavs made to Jr. NBA Week. As part of a YouTube coaching clinic series, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle led a three-part clinic on shooting, especially focused on shooting form. As this is only the inaugural Jr. NBA Week, it will be interesting to see how much larger the program becomes in the coming years.

“It’s a huge initiative for the NBA, it’s a huge initiative for all the teams,” Nared said. “I think it’s special because we get an opportunity to get into the schools, get into the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCAs, and the different non-profits around the U.S. and touch lives. And that’s what it’s all about.”

Jeremy Evans’ activity stands out in preseason debut

Postgame: Jeremy Evans

Mavs F Jeremy Evans weighs in on his performance against the Nuggets, the challenge of learning multiple positions and more.

Much has been asked of Jeremy Evans throughout training camp, but the big man delivered last night in the preseason opener against the Denver Nuggets.

Evans’ final line in the box score — 2 points on 1-of-4 shooting, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks — doesn’t entirely do justice to the level at which he performed in his Mavs exhibition season debut. Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle has worked the 6-foot-9 big man at both forward positions as well as center so far. Evans is the only player on the team who’s been asked to learn three positions by heart to this point.

“He’s a hard worker and all that, but he has the skill set. He has the athletic ability,” Carlisle said before last night’s game. “He’s shooting the ball now to three-point range. I’m confident he can guard all those positions. He’s a guy we’re gonna need to play multiple spots.”

The talk was that Evans might be used as a hybrid between former game-changing Mavs athletes Brandan Wright and Al-Farouq Aminu. Wright, who matches Evans’ size and frame, for years was the roll man in the high-powered second unit offense. Meanwhile, Aminu defended all five positions at different times last season, guarding power forward LaMarcus Aldridge on the last night of the regular season before squaring off against shooting guard James Harden in the playoffs.

On top of filling the roll man responsibilities, however, Carlisle has also asked Evans to shoot threes, something he’s never done previously throughout his career. Those are two big pairs of shoes for one man to fill, requiring not only superb athleticism but also plenty of talent, but Evans appeared to be up to the challenge last night — even if was a little intellectually demanding.

“My main focus was coming in, trying to make sure I didn’t forget the plays,” he joked after the game. “So that was the biggest thing coming out at first. I think I did fairly well, so I just want to continue building on it.”

What got Evans to the NBA was his next-level athleticism and lengthy physical frame. But what could make him stand out in Dallas is augmenting that with a three-point shot and high motor on both ends of the floor, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. In the play below, Evans breaks up a lob to the rim and then blocks the follow-up attempt.

Evans Brings The Effort

Jeremy Evans breaks up the lob then on the second effort gets the block.

That’s a play that maybe only a handful of human beings can make. Evans displayed the anticipation to read the developing action — although he was at that time technically the small forward, he was still protecting the rim — and he was springy enough to jump a second time to block the shot.

Center Zaza Pachulia had stepped out to the defend the pick-and-roll, leaving Evans all alone to hold down the paint. But when you have a small forward who can make those kinds of athletic plays at the rim, you can afford the luxury of sending your big man out in an effort to halt a screen-roll.

Here’s another example of Evans’ athleticism on display. He single-handedly wiped out a transition opportunity by covering a lot of ground and blocking the shot, launching a Mavs fast break the other way.

Jeremy Evans Transition Block

Wilson Chandler goes for the transition layup but Jeremy Evans is there for the swat.

Those are the plays that shift momentum and win you games. Evans was on the opposite side of the lane but was still able to cover enough ground through the air to get into position to contest the shot. His length, verticality, and quickness in the open floor are some of his greatest assets defensively, so it only makes sense for Dallas to put him in position to highlight those strengths. On most nights, that could mean protecting the basket. And despite struggling from three-point range — he missed each of his three attempts, although two were in-and-out — he still made the effort on the other end.

“If you’re not hitting shots, you gotta contribute somehow,” he said. “So the best way is defense. I felt like, position-wise, I was there and just able to get there and help my teammates on the weakside, and block shots and get rebounds.”

One of the most promising plays of the night by any player came on the offensive side of the ball. Evans, facing a close-out, drove the baseline and found Devin Harris in the corner for three. Most guards at this level can make that play on almost a routine basis, but don’t take that ability for granted. Evans is a power forward by trade and he could assume some small-ball center duties for the Mavs this season. If he’s able to put the ball on the floor and make plays like that as a center, the Dallas offense is going to cause mismatches all over the place.

Mark down this one as a strong performance from Evans in his team debut. In addition to a vicious dunk and another block elsewhere in the contest, the big man was able to contribute on both sides of the ball. Despite his heavy workload, both physically and mentally, the forward has impressed so far during his time in Dallas.

High-flying Jeremy Evans brings back the vertical threat to Dallas

Jeremy Evans 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Champion Highlights

Jeremy Evans won the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk contest, defeating Houston's Chase Budinger in a tight race.

For as much attention being paid to floor spacing in today’s NBA, one element of stretching a defense has gone somewhat unnoticed: verticality.

That might not be so, at least, with Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and surely other coaches, who do not underestimate the effect big men with long arms and impressive verticals have on defense. “I think (Spoelstra) calls it vertical spacing, which was a great term,” Kerr said in Dallas last season. “There’s horizontal spacing with three-point shooting, there’s vertical spacing with lobs at the rim.”

Both morph the defense, and both lead to advantages for the offense. And the newest Maverick, Jeremy Evans, brings the vertical threat back to Dallas, an element the Mavs will need to succeed this season.

Evans, 27, stands at just 6-foot-9, but he’s said to have a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a 41-inch vertical, according to a scouting report from his college days. His standing reach stretches higher than nine feet, meaning when he leaps in the air as high as he can, he reaches nearly 13 feet. That’s vertical spacing: Just like a sharpshooting guard who always demands a defense’s attention, a rolling big man who can fly through the air demands at least one set of eyes on him at all times.

The only problem is there’s not much you can do to stop lobs to a player like Evans, especially in the right system with the proper spacing, because there aren’t many players who can leap as high as he can.

Evans’ athleticism and lanky build are sure to draw comparisons to current Memphis Grizzlies big man Brandan Wright, who spent four seasons in Dallas before being traded to Boston during the 2014-15 season. Wright was considered a power forward/center earlier in his career, but Dallas used him exclusively at the 5-spot for most of his tenure. Similarly, Evans has been considered as small as a power forward during his career, but his true strength lies in his ability to finish at the rim — he’s shot 74.7 percent from inside three feet in his career, according to Basketball-Reference, as opposed to Wright’s 74.6 percent career mark.

During his last two seasons with Utah, Evans has primarily played the power forward spot — Basketball-Reference estimates more than 90 percent of his minutes the last two seasons have come at the 4. However, with players like Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Powell already on the roster capable of spacing the floor “horizontally,” as Kerr would say, it would make sense that Evans be used at the center spot. The biggest question, of course, would be whether he has the strength to guard centers. That same question was asked of Wright during his days with the Mavericks, but he still performed excellently in his role, particularly in advantageous matchups.

That leads to the exploration of an interesting movement in the sport, which is the trend toward positionless basketball. Conventionally and classically speaking, Evans isn’t a center because he’s neither tall nor big enough to play the position as we know it. However, in the modern NBA, guys who can play and defend multiple positions are more valuable than ever. Theoretically, Evans could play center on offense while guarding small forwards on defense, or vice versa. That’s what we saw from Al-Farouq Aminu last season and it’s what we expect to see from rookie Justin Anderson and even Wes Matthews, two players who can defend two or three positions and play just as many on offense.

How Dallas plans to use Evans is going to be fun to follow. Rick Carlisle is considered maybe the best coach in the NBA at identifying and maximizing players’ strengths, particularly those of veterans who often end up appearing like diamonds in the rough. While it would be unfair to expect Evans to provide 25 wonderful minutes night after night this season, it’s certainly possible that he could prove to be one of the sneakier under-the-radar signings of the summer.