Dallas Mavericks Betting: David Lee’s Impact

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Boston CelticsThe Dallas Mavericks have been a good team to bet on regarding covering the spread, going 31-26 ATS so far. They might perform even better ATS now that they’ve added free-agent power forward David Lee. But what exactly will Lee’s impact be on the Mavericks, especially since he hasn’t played many meaningful minutes in the last two years?

The answer is that Lee could go from being an afterthought on the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors to playing a huge role off Dallas’ bench. This is a team that’s really lacking for backup big men, playing a combination of PF Dwight Powell (6.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), PF Charlie Villanueva (5.7 PPG), C JaVale McGee (5.3 PPG, 0.83 BPG) and C Salah Mejri (3.6 PPG).

None of these guys are terrible rotation players, but none of them are the first guys you want coming off the bench to spell Dirk Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia either. So enter Lee, who can come in and play either the power forward or center positions. And as he told Mavs.com, he’ll especially be looked to for rebounding.

“As far as minutes and stuff, you know, we’ll let coach figure that out,” said Lee. “But more than anything, they’ve been emphasizing rebounding the basketball and being ready to come in off the bench and play with energy.”

Rebounding is certainly a forte of Lee’s since he’s averaged 9.2 RPG for his career. He twice averaged 11.7 RPB for the New York Knicks in 2009 and ’10 and has grabbed double-digit rebounds in four out of his 11 seasons.

david-lee-mavericks-1The past two seasons have seen Lee’s numbers take a dip, mainly due to him being a veteran who didn’t fit into the Celtics’ or Warriors’ long-term plans. In the 2014-15 season, he averaged 7.9 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 18.4 minutes, the latter of which continually declined as Golden State moved closer to a championship. This year with Boston, he was averaging 7.1 PPG and 4.3 RPG in just 15.7 minutes.

The likely scenario is that Lee will only play around 15 minutes per game with Dallas too. However, this isn’t a team that plays their backup big men much anyways. Powell plays the most out of the forwards/centers with just over 16 MPG. But the thing about Lee is that he can score better than the younger Powell and rebound just as good.

Plus, it’s important to remember that Lee is only two years removed from a season in which he put up 18.2 PPG and 9.3 RPG with Golden State. He’s also a very efficient player, hitting 53.1% from the field in his career.

If there’s one shortcoming of Lee, it’s the fact that his defense leaves something to be desired. Aside from being an aging veteran, this is another reason why Lee was passed by the likes of Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes in Golden State and Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk in Boston. But don’t expect defense to keep Lee on the bench for the Mavericks, who desperately need bigs.

He’ll mostly play power forward, however, he can also play center against smaller lineups. And with the league go smaller and smaller these days, this should definitely earn Lee some playing time.

NBA Power Rankings: Feb 22, 2016

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland CavaliersTeams are back on the court after the All-Star break and, already, a few of the top squads have lost. Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Toronto are all trying to shake off the rust after losses, and one of these teams fell in our power rankings as a result. That said, let’s see which team this is, and here’s a look at last week’s power rankings.

1. Golden State Warriors (49-5); same spot – Perhaps fueled by his All-Star snub, Damian Lillard dropped 51 points on the Warriors to lead Portland to a 137-105 victory. Golden State righted the ship, though, with a 115-112 road win over the Clippers.

2. San Antonio Spurs (47-9); same spot – The Spurs came out of the break with a 105-86 loss to the Clippers, but have since won two easy ones against the Lakers and Suns.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (40-14); up 1 spot – Blowout wins against the Bulls and Thunder recently have the Cavs looking like the cream of the East crop. It also doesn’t hurt that their lead on the Raptors is 4 games now.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (40-16); down 1 spot – The Thunder have stumbled out of the mid-season pause with home losses to Indiana and Cleveland. But Durant and Westbrook should get them back in the contender conversation soon.

doug-mcdermott-career-high5. Toronto Raptors (36-18); same spot – Losing to a short-handed Bulls team and allowing Doug McDermott to score 30 had to hurt. But Toronto did come back with a nice 13-point victory over the Grizzlies.

6. Boston Celtics (33-24); same spot – No major trade for the Celtics this year, however, their current lineup is more than capable of a solid playoff run.

7. LA Clippers (36-19); same spot – Awkward handshakes aside, the Clippers are playing really well with a victory over the Spurs and a narrow 3-point loss to Golden State. It’ll be interesting to see how the Jeff Green trade impacts this team.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (32-23); same spot – It’s unclear if Lance Stephenson will help the Grizzlies win now. But they must be happy to part with Green and get a first-round pick.

9. Miami Heat (31-24); up 1 spot – Another health scare for Chris Bosh, but Miami is still playing pretty good in his absence right now. Hopefully Bosh can get his blood clot issue cleared up.

al-horford10. Atlanta Hawks (31-24); down 1 spot – Atlanta chose to keep their core together. They’re banking on doing well this year and re-signing Al Horford in the summer.

11. Indiana Pacers (30-25); up 1 spot – With George Best healthy and Myles Turner getting better all the time, Indiana could be a dark-horse contender in the East.

12. Charlotte Hornets (29-26); up 1 spot – The All-Star break didn’t cool off Charlotte since they’ve now won five straight and hold the East’s seventh seed.

13. Dallas Mavericks (30-27); down 2 spots – Dallas has been pretty mediocre lately. But they could get a little boost by signing David Lee in the near future.

14. Portland Trailblazers (28-27); up 2 spots – Portland has come out after the break and ripped off three straight wins, including the aforementioned Warriors victory. Pretty incredible for a team that lost several key players in the offseason.

15. Chicago Bulls (28-26); down 1 spot – Chicago needs to stay in the playoff hunt until Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic return, which will be at least a couple more weeks.

dwight-howard-rockets16. Houston Rockets (28-28); up spots –  The Rockets just couldn’t find a decent trade for Dwight Howard, so they decided to keep him. This certainly makes Houston better in the short term.

17. Utah Jazz (27-27); down 2 spots – Utah is 8-2 in their last 10 games, but they’re still on the outside looking in regarding the postseason.

18. Detroit Pistons (27-29); down 1 spot – Detroit keeps losing, but adding Tobias Harris should help this team turn things around and compete for a playoff spot.

19. Washington Wizards (25-29); same spot – The big question is how Markieff Morris affects this team’s chemistry. But it’s undeniable that he’ll add more talent to the Wizards.

20. Orlando Magic (24-30); same spot – Orlando picked up a quality player in Brandon Jennings, and they are poised to hunt for stars in the free agent market.

21. New York Knicks (24-33); up 1 spot – New York was surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline. They’ll definitely be looking to get better in free agency this summer.

randy-foye-thunder22. Denver Nuggets (22-34); down 1 spot – Nice trade by Denver to get rid of veteran Randy Foye for a couple of second-round picks.

23. Sacramento Kings (23-31); same spot – The Kings have won two out of the break, but they have a lot of ground to make up for the last playoff spot.

24. New Orleans Pelicans (22-33); up 1 spot – Anthony Davis is coming off a franchise-record 59 points and 20 rebounds against the Pistons.

25. Milwaukee Bucks (23-33); down 1 spot – Surprisingly, the Bucks were interested in trading for Dwight Howard before the trade deadline.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (17-39); same spot – The T-Wolves have really struggled to win at the Target Center, going just 9-20 on their home floor.

27. Brooklyn Nets (15-41); same spot – New GM Sean Marks quickly made an impact by cutting Andrea Bargnani.

28. Phoenix Suns (14-42); same spot – The losing continues for Phoenix as they’ve now dropped 11 in a row.

29. L.A. Lakers (11-45); same spot – Truly the only reason to pay attention to L.A. right now is to see Kobe play his last stretch of games.

30. Philadelphia 76ers (8-47); same spot – This team probably wants to fast-forward to next season and see just how “special” Joel Embiid can be.