Historically, guys like Mario Elle, Avery Johnson, Hassan Whiteside, and more recently Langston Galloway, have used 10-day contracts as a chance to showcase their abilities and extend their stay with longer term contracts on the game’s biggest stage. Players who get the opportunity and are successful, like the Dallas Mavericks’ Yogi Ferrell has been, understand that there is a balance between showing enough good things to an organization and doing so within the context of that team’s culture. Ferrell did a superb job of producing for the Mavericks while also fitting in.
Former NBA journeyman, Elliot Perry, who had four 10-day contracts, told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated: “They don’t want somebody who will be out late and mess up the locker room. This is your one chance. You need to get your rest and eat right and be at the gym early. You can’t relax. Your career is riding on it.”
For Ferrell, he brought a workmanlike mentality that clearly aligned with the Mavericks’ organization, enabling him to consistently produce throughout the course of his 10 day contract. It also didn’t hurt that Ferrell exploded for 32 points on a 9-for-11 three point shooting explosion during his fourth game with the Mavs versus the Portland Trailblazers. After the game, he told Ananth Pandian of CBS: “I’m just trying to play with no fear right now, go out and give it my all for my teammates,” Ferrell said. “You know, I’m not trying to worry if I miss or make, or if I get a turnover. I’m just letting all the chips fall.” Ferrell’s contribution to the team has been a key reason as to why the Mavs have gone 6-4 over Yogi’s first 10 games with the ball club. Ferrell has passed the eye test for the organization and the Mavs’ faithful in regards to this contribution to the team. Now let’s take a statistical look at how he has managed to produce at such a high level.
(All statistics are courtesy of Synergy Sports and Basketball-Reference.com and are current as of February 17, 2017.)
Statistics: 14.2 ppg, 1.036 points per possession, 4.7 apg, 45% FG, 95% FT, 47% 3PT (10 Games)
Pick and Roll Scoring – Yogi has been dynamite in pick and roll situations when his defender goes under the screen. When his man goes under the screen, Ferrell is averaging 2 points per possession and is the 2nd most lethal player in the league in this situation, shooting 70% from the field. Obviously, Ferrell’s volume is lower than other players in the league. However, during his first 10 games, it’s clear that he has been performing at an extremely high level in this situation. Take a look at how Ferrell quickly changes direction on C.J. McCollum. As McCollum goes under the ball screen, Ferrell is able to get to his spot and stick the shot from the top of the key.
End of clock catch and shoot efficiency – Ferrell has been a killer in catch and shoot situations, ranking as the 6th most efficient shooter, averaging 1.5 points per possession and shooting 50 percent from the field. His quick release and elite level shot preparation allow him to be ready at all times to knock one down. In the clip below, take a look at how, after retrieving a tap out, Ferrell hop-steps into his shot and quickly gets it off over the out-stretched hands of the oncoming Nuggets’ Jameer Nelson. His shot making ability has played a huge part in his explosion onto the scene in Dallas.
High Level Finishing – His finishing around the rim has also been stellar, as Ferrell ranks in the 65th percentile in the league. Despite size, Ferrell knows how to use his body to effectively finish among the trees down low. He ranks in the 65th percentile in the league, shooting 54 percent from the field on finishes around the rim. One reason for this is, out of pick and roll situations, Ferrell has a great feel for how to freeze or keep the opposition’s big defender off balance. He has leveraged his shiftiness and high basketball IQ in order to finish at a high level around the rim for the Mavs. After beautifully attacking the shoulder of the Spurs’ LeMarcus Aldridge, Ferrell finishes craftily using the rim as protection from the help side defender, David Lee.
One on One Defense – Ferrell has been superb when facing off in individual defensive situations thus far with the Mavs. His tenacity and fire to succeed by any means necessary manifests itself in his ability to heat up the ball handler, while making it hard for his man to score the ball. On 15 possessions this season, he has only allowed 8 points, holding opponents to 13 percent shooting, and yes, you read that correctly. Of course, the sample size is on the low side as he has only played 10 games. However, if he can keep this defensive performance up, this part of Ferrell’s game will go a long way in helping the Mavs for the rest of the season. Ferrell is a pest on defense and can heat up the opposing ball handlers fairly quickly. Check out how he picks up Damian Lillard in ¾ court ball pressure and hounds him into taking a rushed and contested shot in the lane.
Guarding the Three-Point Line – When running a player off the line and contesting three point opportunities, Ferrell is superb. He ranks in the 97th percentile in the league, allowing just 24 percent from the three-point line and giving up .73 points per possession. Ferrell’s closeouts on three point shooters are great. He flies at them with hands held high, while usually not leaving his feet until the shooter does. He also looks to contest the shooter’s face versus the ball on his shot contests, which has the affect of further pestering his opponent. Take a look at how he, with poise, contests the Magic’s DJ Augustin’s three-point attempt.
Ferrell ranks as the 3rd best player in the league when guarding jump shooters, allowing just .4 points per possession on 13 percent shooting. What Yogi lacks in size, he makes up for with this locked-in underdog mentality and his ferocious pursuit of his opponent on the defensive end.
Hand Off Coverage – Ferrell uses his speed and high basketball IQ to effectively guard opposing guards in hand off situations. This season, Ferrell ranks in the 88th percentile in the league when defending hand off situations, giving up just .68 points per possession on 31 percent shooting from the field. Ferrell is relentless in these situations. In the below clip, after initially losing Mills, Ferrell does an exceptional job closing out, contesting, and bothering Mills’ three-point attempt.
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