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Mavs Tim Hardaway Jr. Evaluates Dallas Offense: The Same - But 'Free'

Following a record-setting victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Tim Hardaway Jr. gives his opinion of the "new offense'' under head coach Jason Kidd.

DALLAS - This season's Dallas Mavericks are priming themselves for another playoff appearance, sitting with an 11-9 record, currently fourth in the Western Conference. 

Following the record-setting victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, asked Tim Hardaway Jr. about the most significant difference between the offensive systems of departed coach Rick Carlisle and new boss Jason Kidd.

"I don't think nothing, to be quite honest," Hardaway Jr. answered after letting out a subtle chuckle.

And indeed, at first glance, the Mavs don't appear all that dissimilar from last season. 

Luka Doncic is only one percent lower in usage rating than he was under Carlisle's last year. Despite the preseason focus on the mid-range game, Kidd's put up more 3-point attempts per game than he did the previous season. And the offensive pace is nearly identical, with Dallas playing 96.7 possessions per game compared to 97.3 in Carlisle's final year. 

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But ... when things are clicking, any way, there is something.

Sometimes, all it takes is a new voice. Said Hardaway, "We are out there playing free." 

To Kidd's credit, the team - at least during its successes - is definitely in a different headspace, judging by body language, comments and the overall mood.

"I don't think there is really much of a difference, except for the coaching staff," Hardaway Jr. said.

That's not a rip on anybody. And it might not be entirely true, as the focus on unlocking Kristaps Porzingis (who has also used the word "free'' to describe his usage post-Carlisle) is a noticeable difference in the offense.

But the stats align with Hardaway's comments. And the stats from the win over the Pels, in which Dallas set a shooting-accuracy record? Yes, "free'' is certainly the feeling when you shoot 68.7 percent.