Dallas Mavericks' Peja Stojakovic Quiets Critics

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IFebruary 24, 2011

DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 23:  Forward Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against the Utah Jazz at American Airlines Center on February 23, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When the Dallas Mavericks acquired Peja Stojakovic, most people around the league had one of two responses: a yawn or a criticism.

Those that yawned assumed that Peja was washed up and wouldn't help the Mavs (or anyone else, for that matter).

Those that criticized stated that the Mavs had bigger issues to address than bringing in an aging shooter who could no longer score or play defense.

In the last four games, Stojakovic is getting people to take notice.

He has been "in the zone" and is looking like the sharpshooter that he has been throughout his career.

Here are five ways that Stojakovic has come in and is getting it done for the Mavericks.



In the last four games, Peja is averaging 15.5 points per contest—pretty solid production for a guy who many had given up on. 

You have to go back to the 2007-08 season to find Stojakovic consistently scoring at that kind of clip.

In this short stretch, he has put up double figures every night, with his game-high with the Mavs being 22 points against Houston on February 12.


Field Goal Shooting

Over the last four games, Peja has shot 23-of-39...that's 59 percent!

And let's just say that he's not exactly taking a lot of shots close in to the basket. 

"Peja's one of the top five or six shooters all time," Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. "If we can get him looks, there's going to be a great chance he'll knock them down."


Three-Point Shooting

Peja has found his range from beyond the arc.

In the last four games, he is shooting 12-of-22 (54.5 percent).

I'm fully aware that he has not taken enough three-pointers to qualify as one of the league leaders.

But, his percentage would currently be four percent better than the NBA three-point percentage leader, Matt Bonner of the Spurs (50.4).


Free-Throw Shooting

Stojakovic has never been, and is not going to become, a big “take-it-in-the-lane” kind of player.

But when Stojakovic goes inside and gets fouled, he makes the other team pay.

In these four games, Peja has hit all four of his attempted free throws.

For his career, he is 89.4 percent from the line.



Mavs coach Rick Carlisle knows that he is not going to get major minutes from Stojakovic.

But, so far, so good.

In the last four games, Peja is averaging 25 minutes per game.

If he can keep this kind of production up only playing a minute more than half of the entire game...wow!  



The Mavs have as much depth as anyone in the West, and maybe anyone in the league (Boston Celtics fans may disagree).

Peja was a great "get" well before the trade deadline, and he is already helping the Mavs prepare for a postseason run.


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