Mavericks Roundtable: Who Starts in the Middle?


Many Mavericks fans would like to see them take a gamble on JaVale McGee. But assuming the center position remains as is, who starts?

Andrew Tobolowsky: I think Zaza will get the bulk of starts, but it’ll depend on matchups some. We’ve seen this a lot. When Rick has guys like Tyson Chandler, it’s obvious who starts. When he doesn’t, it’s very matchup oriented–just ask Darren Collison. Even in Dalembert’s last run in Dallas, when his major competition was Brandan Wright, Sarge James, and Dejuan Blair, he was still the backup in 12 games.

Charles Herbert: If the roster remains as is, it’s very likely the team will take a platoon approach to the center position, so who starts isn’t that important. My preference would be for Dalembert to start just to give the team some semblance of rim protection to pair with Dirk.

Pachulia can then help space the floor with his midrange pick and pop game alongside a quicker, bouncier backup PF in Powell or Ndour or whoever it ultimately ends up being. Whichever of the two pairs better with Dirk defensively should get the majority of the minutes.

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Aaron Clements: Zaza Pachulia has to be the starter, unless Sam Dalembert made some kind of miraculous improvements this offseason (he didn’t).

Pachulia is younger, better, and can play more minutes than Dalembert, a guy who was cut last season . . . by the KNICKS. I think it really just comes down to whose alarm clock works better.

Kohl Rast: I really feel that Zaza has to be our day one starter. He is the most well rounded center on the roster both offensive and defensively and with solid minutes has the opportunity to be a real impact player with double-double potential on any given night.

As far as JaVale McGee goes, I was a big believer that the Mavericks should take a chance on him for awhile but the more I think about it, the less convinced I am that he would do well in the Mavs organization.

I would rather the Mavs give Famous a real chance of cracking the rotation to see what he is made of. With a solid work ethic and great numbers in the summer and D-leagues, he has a chance of doing just as much as McGee could with presumably fewer appearances on SportsCenter Not Top 10 and Shaqtin’ A Fool.

Isaac Harris: Salah Mejri. I’m kidding. Although I really like what I’ve seen and read about that guy. I would say Sammy D gets the start opening night. As long as Dirk is starting we need someone to protect the rim. Two years ago that front court duo took the future champion Spurs to 7 games so we know it can work to a degree.

I like what ZaZa brings but he isn’t the rim protector to put with Dirk. Our center position all revolves around how they can make up for Dirk’s lack of defense.

Now I think we can very well see some small ball lineups when Dirk is resting or on the bench. ZaZa at center and CP at the four. Especially with Harris recently mentioning how he thinks he will play more off the ball this year, I think we can see small ball come in play more than we think.

Daniel Devine: I could envision JaVale in a Brandan Wright type role if he is willing and able, but Zaza starts.

Jason Lee: Not a fan of Zaza starting right beside Dirk. Opposing teams will see those two as a delicious lunch menu ready to get eaten inside, as they both allowed opponents to shoot over 50% at the rim. Older Sam Dalembert doesn’t help, either.

Remember what Michael Jordan said? Don’t do things half-heartedly. So yeah, why not go all in for JaVale McGee? Starting a washed up point guard and signing a player fresh off a torn achilles for big money was a start and McGee would seal the deal for the Mavericks.

What do you think?

Next: Mavericks Roundtable: Best/Worst Moves of the Offseason

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