With such a deep roster and Rick Carlisle leading from the sidelines, the Dallas Mavericks could throw out plenty of different lineups.
Each staff member will attempt to create the perfect lineup and rotation, as we’ll be releasing each lineup throughout the weekend.
Death From Above
Jameer Nelson – Monta Ellis – Chandler Parsons – Dirk Nowitzki – Tyson Chandler
Look, I know the Mavs aren’t going to be looking for a 6th man from a big man. The one guy on the starting lineup who’s likely to play less than 35 is Nelson, which means Devin Harris or, god forbid, Ray Felton. But the Mavs have a player in Brandan Wright who just…
Look, I think he’s the only guy on the roster you can say is succeeding despite Rick Carlisle. Love Carlisle, but Carlisle doesn’t have much use for a big man, other than Dirk, who doesn’t really defend or rebound. You can see it, cause if Wright ever has a couple bad games in a row, he disappears for a while. Rick knows it doesn’t make sense.
But then he also knows that Wright scores basically every time he shoots. And I mean that literally. Last season his shooting percentage was 67.7%, which would have edged out DeAndre Jordan for first in the league if Wright had gotten enough shots. People don’t love PER as much as they used to, but Wright has had one north of 21 for the last three years. Last year his 23.6 was just behind Dirk Nowitzki and Blake Griffin for 13th. Two years ago his 21.03 was 20th, just behind Steph Curry, and just ahead of AL Jeff and John Wall. Three years ago it was 22nd, behind Dirk and Demarcus Cousins and ahead of Kyrie Irving, Nik Pekovic and Steph Curry.
They gotta find a way to get him those minutes, and they just might. Chandler covers both his and Dirk’s weaknesses about equally well, so I could see him playing alongside Chandler when Dirk’s out, and then getting minutes in that Dirk-Wright-Destroyer-of-Worlds frontline they like.
Key Rotation Players
Devin Harris & Jae Crowder or Al-Farouq Aminu
Devin Harris is obviously a big deal here, as the only person of PG size on the roster who can play defense. It would be great if Dev recovered from what was, by far, the worst shooting year of his career. They didn’t need it last year, but it could make a big difference.
My guess is you’ll see either a lot of Jae Crowder or a lot of Al-Farouq Aminu but not both. Either might be considered for backup PF, but there’s a lot of reduplication of skills here. I think the Mavs have finally come to the same conclusion about Jae that everyone else has which is, sure he’s a smart player who does a lot of good things defensively, but it’s not clear he does even one other thing well. Aminu’s a much better rebounder and a better scorer. At this point, it may be a race to see if one of them can become a halfway decent 3-pt shooter. Since they’re both horrible at that, the race may be awhile in being decided.
Since both Devin and Jameer have had some injuries in their careers, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him end up with a fair amount of minutes. And for all the jokes, this wouldn’t necessarily be a disaster—this is a guy with career averages of 13-6, 41% from the floor, 33% from three, all of which but the shooting percentage are better than Devin Harris’ career numbers (44%). But it would PROBABLY be a disaster.